View Full Version : Trouble painting trees

03-15-2001, 02:30 PM

In one of my recent paintings, I had real trouble painting the trees. Could anyone give general guidelines on how to paint trees well?



Phyllis Franklin
03-15-2001, 03:25 PM
There are many really great lessons and articles here at WetCanvas that will help you with your trees. Here are a few that you could start with ..... enjoy!

The message forums also have a wealth of information on trees with questions/answers.
To find these, why not go to the front page and do a search of the data base by submitting the word trees to the search box.

Good luck and let us see your progress.

Phy...llis Franklin
Create every day
Blackberry Ridge Studio & Art Gallery (http://prf.artistnation.com) <----my shameless plug.
Click here to sign up for 1 of the Community Projects! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/Projects/) Another shameless plug.

03-16-2001, 02:10 AM
Hi Phyllis,

Thank you very much for the links and the advise. I visited the links and sure it gives me lots of inputs with regard to painting trees. I appreciate your kindness in giving me this advice.

Thanks once again.


03-31-2001, 10:04 PM
I'm a relative beginner, and I find trees the most difficult part of painting landscapes...in particular the foliage. When painting in oils or acrylics, I always use a natural hog bristle brush to make tree foliage. No synthetic I've yet tried (even the ones that are supposedly like real hog bristles) even comes close to a real hog bristle brush's ability to create texture...which creates the illusion of leafs. I use thick paint, getting plenty of paint in the bristles.

* Beer is good. *

04-28-2001, 05:49 PM
The best advice I ever got about painting trees was this: You do not paint trees. You paint shapes. You paint areas of dark and light and color. Stop trying to think of what you are looking at by it's name. Instead, say to yourself, Here is one small patch of yellow-green. . . there is a bigger patch that looks kind of purple . . . etc. Just paint the shapes as if you had never heard of a tree. It will look right when you are done.

Barry Katz

[This message has been edited by bk7251 (edited April 28, 2001).]

05-05-2001, 03:23 PM
Barry is dead on about this. Renaissance painters were very scientific. I've got a pretty thick book where DaVinci starts at the trunk of a tree and mathematically works his way up to the tips of the buds at the top... figuring out a mathematically equation of thickness or diameters of the trunk, larger stems, branches, etc;

My competitive past in wildlife art forced artists to be botanists, biologists, etc., to come up with the accuracy in anatomy, character of species, and so forth. However, I really have worked hard to re-learn my approaches as an artist.

You can learn to trust your eyes. Develop and exercise your right brain capabilities. If you sense the space appropriately between branches as negative space...you get the proper sense of right branch dimension by default. Instead of the science of naturalism, you are developing a experiential use of the "science of viewer psychology!" That is learning to manipulate what the viewer will see, in essence making them "think" they see.

What I've learned, and is most valuable...is that by inviting viewer's to participate in an illusion of something real, ...by intentionally leaving some literal detail out and not asking the viewer to perceive passively, we engage their imagination to really see more detail than is really there. We push a button in their minds to do us a favor and make us appear better painters than our efforts warrant.

Does that make sense?

Believe me...much easier than thinking to paint every branch, is to suggest.

If you have a moment, check out my most recent oil how-to ...covering trees once again, "Armstrong Creek."


The Artsmentor

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!" Edgar Degas

[This message has been edited by lseiler (edited May 05, 2001).]

05-06-2001, 12:00 AM
Thanks Domer, Barry for your inputs.


05-09-2001, 11:13 PM
can you upload an image?....{M}

"it's alright to be judgmental,,,,,,,,if you have taste"...MILT