View Full Version : Painting Foreground Trees (long, many images)

06-28-2007, 05:27 PM
I have always had difficulty representing the leaf masses of trees in the foreground to middle ground. Whether painting in my original medium, watercolour, or more recently in watersoluble oils or oil pastels, I have tended to avoid painting scenes involving trees close up. So, I decided it was time to figure out a way to paint them in oil pastels, which is now my main medium. My approach was to research and categorize the ways painters, mainly oil pastel and pastel painters, represent them.

The first issue I considered was the degree of detail I wanted to use. I grouped my examples into three degrees: least, middle and most. Here are examples of these. (Note, I have cropped most images to focus on the trees themselves, but they are all located in the foreground to middle ground of their respective paintings.)

1. least amount of detail:
Bill Creevy, pastel and acrylic

2. middle amount of detail :
Mark Hanson, oil

3. most amount of detail:
David Berridge, oil pastel

Then, I looked at ways in which artists had used their oil or dry pastels to paint the leaves and needles, and I came up with four categories. (This is my own interpretation, subject to error, and not necessarily complete).

A. using line, which I broke into 2 subcategories: A1, line not following form and A2, line following form.
B. using dots
C. massing, via blending, using the pastel on its side, or scumbling
D. massing, plus lines and/or dots

Here are my examples:

A1 Not following form:

Vertical lines
Cezanne, oil (although this is in oil, I think the technique would translate well)

Diagonal lines

Elizabeth Mowry, pastel

Stephanie Koslow, oil pastel

A2 Line Following form:

Katherine Simmons, oil pastel


John Elliot, oil pastel

See also David Berridge example under “most amount of detail” above


John Elliot, oil pastel (blended)

Richard McDaniel , Pastel

George Shipperley, oil pastel (scumbled)

See also Bill Creevy under “least amount of detail” above

D. MASSING plus DOT and/or LINE

Elizabeth Mowry, pastel

Albert Handell, pastel

Carly Clements, oil pastel

See also Marc Hanson under “middle amount of detail” above

That concludes my survey. I think, since I generally like to blend my oil pastels and I like some degree of detail, that a middle level of detail, using massing with the addition of dots and/or lines, is best suited to my foreground trees. Hope this may give some of you some ideas for your own landscapes. Jane

Pat Isaac
06-28-2007, 06:07 PM
Thanks, Jane for this very intuitive and helpful thread. What a lot of wonderful trees. Are we having examples of your progression with tress and other members along the way?


06-28-2007, 07:16 PM
I'd be happy if anyone who has examples using these techniques or other methods, painted by themselves or from other sources, would add them to this thread. I haven't tried any of these methods yet. If I have any success, I'll post them here. Jane

06-28-2007, 10:36 PM
Here's a technique for a tree I did awhile back:
I think it looks convincing for a midground tree, and it was easily rendered: I put OP on a watercolor sponge and dabbed it on, thicker in some places, thinner in others; it provides sky holes naturally. The branches were done with direct application of OP and with sgraffito. Think about how watercolorists apply things like saran wrap and aluminum to a wet painting to do texturing--OP's should be capable of something similar--probably all sorts of tree effects (and others, such as rocks) are possible.

06-28-2007, 10:42 PM
Bob, a great rendition and a great idea. How did you get the OP on the sponge and which brand of OPs did you use? Jane

06-28-2007, 11:12 PM
I held the OP stick in one hand, the sponge in the other, and drew all over the sponge. I used Senns but am not sure it matters that much. Liquifying the OP first with a solvent would surely work better still, but I kept it simple.

06-29-2007, 08:14 AM
Jane, this is WONDERFUL. Thanks so much for writing this article. It reallycomes at just the right time for all this summer foliage!

Bob, I love your suggestion too. I wonder if you use your idea of coloring the sponge, then dipping the sponge lightly in terps...mayte this would work too!

GREAT THREAD I'll keep my eyes open for others.

Pat Isaac
06-29-2007, 08:15 AM
That's a great technique, Bob. I am amazed that the OP came off the sponge so well. What a good idea, never would have thought of it.


Pat Isaac
06-29-2007, 08:43 AM
This is a tree I did which falls into the massing category, I think.


06-29-2007, 10:50 AM
Pat, amazing tree!!! Wonderful detail

06-29-2007, 10:52 AM
Pat, great example. Although it's a little hard to tell at this size, I think it's "massing with the addition of dots." I used the term "massing" to mean a situation where a complete layer of OPs or pastel was created using the methods of blending, applying with the stick on the side, or scumbling. The layer could contain more than one colour, but the areas of colour would be massed with no discreet marks. Then, if additional identifiable marks in the form of dots or lines were added on top, I categorized it as massing plus dot and/or line. I also called it that if the main leaf area is massed and dots or lines are used only at the edges to indicate individual leaves or needles. On the other hand, if the leaf mass is built up of numerous layers of unblended dots, then I call it "dots". Thanks for contributing this example. Jane

06-29-2007, 12:54 PM
This is a wonderful thread Jane! Very helpful and educational. Pat and Bob... these trees are wonderful and I would have never thought of using a sponge. I myself have not had much experience at all painting landscapes but really love them and would like to learn how to paint like the artists here that I admire. I think this thread will prove very useful in practicing trees. Thank you for posting!

06-29-2007, 02:18 PM
Good ideas and examples, Jane! I always have such difficulties with trees, so your thoughtful and thorough analysis is especially useful. And great examples Bob and Pat. Thanks!

You're sure earning your keep as a guide, Jane! An excellent thread! :thumbsup:

Pat Isaac
06-29-2007, 05:01 PM
This really is an excellent thread, Jane and I'll have to look at the tree closer, as I don't think I used dots. I'll see if I can get more of a close up.
Looking at it closer, I'm not sure now if it fits in any of the categories. Maybe massing and dots.
Thanks again, Jane


06-29-2007, 05:58 PM
Pat, I think it fits into that category. Looking at the area around the larger sky hole, I see what looks like a darker underlayer applied in mass form, with brighter rose-coloured "dots" applied on top. Dots, in my terminology, don't have to be round, just small marks which are not elongated enough to be lines. So I would categorize this as "massing plus dots", although because of the number of dots, it comes close to being classified as "dots". For it to be called simply "massing", the rosy dots would have to be connected into larger undifferentiated areas. Compare your tree to that of Richard McDaniel and you'll see what I mean. But I realize this set of categories works for me, but may not for everyone. I hope it provides a framework for thinking about the techniques, even so. Jane

Pat Isaac
06-29-2007, 07:41 PM
It really does, Jane and what you say is perfectly right.
Thanks, Pat

06-29-2007, 09:59 PM
I guess by these criterion I usually do dots with the addition of lines. Here's an old one I did as a mass;

And here's a more recent one which I think is more like "dots";

06-29-2007, 11:46 PM
This is a wonderful thread! I have a lot of trouble with trees and this has given me a lot of info to think about. Thanks for starting the thread.

06-29-2007, 11:57 PM
Kent, thanks very much for including your tree examples. I agree that your first tree painting is massed, whereas the separation of the marks and their size in the second one suggests that "dots" is the right category.

Ann, thanks. I glad you're finding it helpful. Jane

Pat Isaac
06-30-2007, 07:34 AM
Kent, I have always liked your trees and I can see how you have handled the foliage differently in these 2. I'm learning things here.


06-30-2007, 01:09 PM
I'm looking back over this thread because it's such a good one. I want to develop a looseness to my work and I find trees particularly difficult in this regard. Often, even the "middle amount of detail" approach doesn't seem to work for me in achieving what I have in mind. So I'm just musing a bit here...

When I look at the first example (Creevy's) you posted, Jane, I tend to see lots of detail - or maybe it would be more accurate to say I "feel" the detail, since it isn't tightly rendered, but gives the impression of detail. Compare the Creevy tree to the ones by Eliot and Shipperly. Although all three examples use what you've termed "massing," there really seems to be a marked difference between them, particularly between the blended example of Eliot's and Creevy's piece. So why is it that Creevy's approach gives the impression of detail that the other two don't? I think it has to do with the amount of texture of the support. Eliot seems to be working on something quite smooth, while Creevy's is highly textured. And, as I think about it, my most successful landscape works have been executed on a highly textured surface (Acrylic gesso with Utrecht pumice medium on board).

FWIW, here's a painting with trees as the subject that I did on that surface
(Soft Pastel)

I think this shows the impression of detail that I spoke of earlier (at least it does IRL; it's not a great photo, and having to reduce it significantly to post here means much of the texture is lost). And the impression is the result of the texture of the support, not an actual fine rendering of detail. I think the plein aires that Wendy does on CP watercolor paper use the same principle. It results in a soft look, as opposed to the more articulated leaves in the other methods (line, dots, or massing plus lines and/or dots).

I guess I'm just musing about the category, "C. Massing, via blending, using the pastel on its side, or scumbling," noticing that very different results can occur, depending on the support. I think in my mind, I'd divide that category in two, between blending and scumbling. Blending, in general, seems to provide the least detail.

Bob: Your method achieves a similar result as working on a textured support, but may be a more flexible approach, as when such a highly textured surface as I tried above is used, the whole painting becomes highly textured, and that doesn't always work for the rest of the subject. I'm going to have to try your method - thanks for posting it. Do you have other interesting paintings that you've been hiding from us??? (hint, hint :D)

06-30-2007, 01:48 PM
Annie, there is no question that the support will influence the degree of apparent detail. I feel that the relative amounts of actual or perceived detail puts Creevy in the general camp of massing, as compared to "dot" or "line". There will naturally be variations of degree within any of these groups. Perhaps thinking of massing as having two subcategories is a way to deal with that variation. Thanks for posting your landscape. The whole image appears to have texture, I guess from the pumice. Interesting effect. Jane

06-30-2007, 02:27 PM
Jane: It may be just a semantic difference in a way. I'm focusing on perceived detail (which I think Creevy's piece has), while it seems to me you may be focusing a bit more on the question of to what degree the application of detail has been deliberate, I think (which is a little different thing). Since your thread is about the different methods of painting trees, a focus on application makes more sense. That we see these things in a little different way isn't surprising in that we seem to gravitate toward slightly different styles of painting too. Cie la vie, eh?

It's very interesting to think about all these nuances, and how they might be used to achieve a desired effect. Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking thread, Jane. :)

And yes, my entire painting above has a great deal of texture. It's a very active surface: too much so in the sky, I think. I built up a high level of texture intentionally with several layers, but discovered that the Utrecht pumice medium has a grit that is just a bit too large for some subjects and/or for working at a small scale (this is about 6x9 - eventually I'll try again larger). So much to think about... :lol:

06-30-2007, 08:53 PM
I have discovered another issue with regard to materials. I had decided to start my painting experiments beginning with vertical lines. Using a relatively small size of paper, I tried to follow Cezanne's example, but applying it to a deciduous tree. Problem - Senneliers and Holbeins are too soft to retain closely spaced parallel lines - they just want to blend. So this method will have to wait until I get the harder Caran d'ache Neopastels and Cray Pas Specialists I ordered. Jane

07-01-2007, 02:35 PM
Pat, I love your painting. Jane what a great thread you have started.

Pat Isaac
07-01-2007, 04:27 PM
Thanks, Lisa.


Kathryn Wilson
07-01-2007, 08:11 PM
An impressive classroom thread Jane! Excellent information and good format - way to go!

07-04-2007, 02:36 PM
Thanks, Kat, for the encouragement.

Here's my first tree sketch. Although I had intended to try vertical lines with this example, my Senneliers and Holbeins are too soft for that technique in a small size. So I ended up with "massing", with the addition of a few largish "dots" to indicate leaves at the margin and in the interior. 5 1/2" x 9" on light blue/grey Colourfix (which forms the sky colour). Jane

Pat Isaac
07-04-2007, 04:02 PM
This is an excellent tree, Jane. You have done the masses very well and the darks and lights work well. I like the bark texture also. I wat to do these trees and will get to them eventually as I am so landscape challenged.
This is a very informative thread, Jane.

07-04-2007, 04:41 PM
:clap: Thanks, Jane, for a fine thread. This seems like a great subject to try when my new Specialists get here. Have the landscape Senneliers coming too. I found that the Specialists worked best with the papers I have.
Besides the sketchbooks I have, I found that the 2 sets I have coming work great on the Mi-Teintes smooth side. Have a pad of their Heritage colors coming too.

07-04-2007, 10:38 PM
Thanks, Pat and Donn. I'm glad you're finding it instructive. I hope both of you will try some trees. Pat, the tree you posted was excellent, so I don't think you're really landscape challenged at all. Jane

07-04-2007, 11:14 PM
It's a great example, Jane. The color is terrific too. I think the massing and dots or lines method(s) may be easier to use when working in SPs than in OPs, for just the reason you mention: the difficulty in establishing distinct lines or dots, especially over previous layers. It's what I often struggle with.

Pat's example of massing and dots seems to work very well, even with OP. It's beautiful, Pat! (Sorry, I didn't notice it before.) What size is it and which OPs did you use, Pat? Perhaps, for success, one needs to work larger. (I'm finding this to be the case with some subjects.)

Pat Isaac
07-05-2007, 04:47 PM
Annie, this piece was large, 22"x 28". I have always had trouble working small, but it is getting easier....:lol: Thanks, Annie.


07-06-2007, 10:31 AM
Jane, this tree is lovely. I'm really learning alot from this thread. Thanks for sharing your project with u s.

07-06-2007, 01:39 PM
Wonderful thread! I never did get the first page to open completely slow dialup), but saw most of it.I haven't been online much lately and am just getting to this.
I guess I would categorize my trees as "masses with scribbles". Here's one I did last year.

07-06-2007, 01:54 PM
Wendy: I think that's the first piece I ever saw of yours, and also probably my favorite. It's just so beautiful.

I suspect that the texture of the watercolor paper that you work on really enhances the sense of texture in your foliage. Do you think that's the case? Is there scumbling involved here too?

07-06-2007, 02:03 PM
Wendy: I think that's the first piece I ever saw of yours, and also probably my favorite. It's just so beautiful.

I suspect that the texture of the watercolor paper that you work on really enhances the sense of texture in your foliage. Do you think that's the case? Is there scumbling involved here too?
Thanks, Annie! Yes, sanded gesso, applied roughly on the wc paper, and lots of scumbling.

07-06-2007, 02:27 PM
Thanks for the positive comments everyone: I'm glad you are finding it useful. Wendy, thanks for contributing your tree example. "Massing with scribbles" works very well for you. I, too, remember this painting and it's one of my favourites of yours. Evocative of summers spent at my grandmother's cottage. Jane

Pat Isaac
07-06-2007, 03:32 PM
I remember the painting also, Wendy. One of my favorites.


07-08-2007, 11:03 AM
Here's my next tree. The source of the photo is the landscape challenge for July, where I cross-posted my painting. This is a tight crop from the original photo. I consider the method to be "massing plus the addition of lines" even though the lines are short and not too numerous. Oil pastel on 8" X 9" Wallis Belgium mist. (rubbed my finger raw blending the sky on this paper) Jane

07-08-2007, 11:18 AM
Beautiful! What great choices you are giving us.

Pat Isaac
07-08-2007, 12:08 PM
Wonderful tree, Jane and the massing is very clear. I like the bark in the tree, do you know what kind it is?


07-08-2007, 01:05 PM
Thanks, Lindsay and Pat. I'm don't know what kind of tree it is, but the original RIL poster is from Australia, so I'm guessing it's from there. Jane

07-10-2007, 09:11 PM
This is my latest tree (spring flowering shrub), using just dots. It's a bit obvious that this would be the best approach for this subject, but I tried one using dots for green leaves and I didn't like it at all. 8" X 9" dark blue Colourfix. Jane

07-10-2007, 09:53 PM
Very nice, Jane. Neat way of showing the flowering bush. I think I could even do the dots!<G>

Pat Isaac
07-11-2007, 06:49 AM
This is lovely, Jane and a perfect approach for spring flowering trees.


07-12-2007, 12:25 PM
Perfect dot-blossoms, Jane! I commented on you other tree in the other thread, and can't remember whether I mentioned the sky holes and how natural the masses and holes look.
Here's a plein air I did the other day. The weather has been horrible and gloomy, so my recent plein airs are also gloomy (but still fun to do). This was in a park in Charlottetown; the city's around the bend to the left, and the tide was going out. It's on a 7x7 piece of olive-green suede matboard.

07-12-2007, 07:41 PM
Thanks Donn, Pat and Wendy for liking my dot blossoms. Wendy, thanks for posting your plein air tree. It looks like massing with the addition of dots at the edges (or squiggles? perhaps). Jane

07-13-2007, 12:03 AM
Wendy, I like your sky and how you did your tree. Boy, have I got a lot to learn!

07-13-2007, 06:09 PM
Thanks Donn, Pat and Wendy for liking my dot blossoms. Wendy, thanks for posting your plein air tree. It looks like massing with the addition of dots at the edges (or squiggles? perhaps). Jane

uhhhh...., dark masses with scribbles on top, I guess!:lol: I do a lot of scribbling lol.

07-13-2007, 06:51 PM
Nice blossoms in your study, Jane. And Wendy, that's a gorgeous plein aire. The weather may be gloomy, and you capture that well, but the lovely mauves and pinky-tones draw us in. And you make those trees look so easy to do!

07-13-2007, 08:10 PM
Here's my attempt at lines following form. However, it isn't quite the same technique as those illustrated in the main posting. I still find the OPs too soft to make distinct untouched lines on the smaller size support, so I applied the OPs in vertical strokes and then used my colour shaper to smooth them out. This is adapted from a photo of Monet's garden posted for the June 22 WDE. Done on an 8" X 10" canvas board covered with white Colourfix primer tinted with blue acrylic paint. I thought the canvas texture would help with the lines - I'm not sure if it did. Jane

07-13-2007, 11:10 PM
Jane, you make it look so easy!

07-14-2007, 01:02 PM
Thanks, Donn. Actually, having examples of the various methods pastellists have used has made it much easier for me to figure out how to approach different tree forms. I'm already feeling much more comfortable with the idea of including foreground trees in future compositions. The only technique left to try is diagonal lines and I'm not sure that will succeed because of the softness of the OPs, even the Caran d'ache. The small CrayPas Specialist set doesn't have enough greens in it to be of much use in this particular case. Perhaps I should try putting my OPs in the freezer for a bit first. :lol: Jane

Pat Isaac
07-14-2007, 01:10 PM
Actually, that is not a bad idea, Jane.:lol: maybe the frig.
Theis is an awesome tree and reminds me a lot of the weeping willows around here. This techique worked perfectly for this kind of tree.


07-14-2007, 02:36 PM
Jane: I'm a little lost on the line technique, but that weeping willow is outstanding - just beautiful!

07-15-2007, 12:15 PM
Thanks, Pat and Annie. Annie, perhaps you can help here, as I think you have worked in dry pastel as well as OPs? My understanding with regard to lines used in dry pastels is that you could make parallel, fairly narrow lines with the pastel. If I try that with OPs, the lines are too wide and the edges too rough to leave as is. So I was using my colour shaper to smooth the lines and extend them (pull them down) to create narrower lower branches. The result is more like "massing with lines" than just "lines", but I couldn't manage otherwise. Jane

07-17-2007, 11:18 AM
Jane: OK, I see, what you're talking about is sort of like cross-hatching (using only the "hatch" and not the "cross" :p). It is hard to get clearly defined lines in OPs.

07-19-2007, 07:27 PM
I tried my new Caran d'Ache OPs on Bristol Vellum and they will make fairly distinct narrow lines on this surface. However, I wasn't happy with my attempt at a tree using only diagonal lines. I'm just too much of a blender for that technique. So I'm concluding my experiments and moving on to other subjects. Jane

Pat Isaac
07-19-2007, 07:34 PM
Thanks, Jane. Would have liked to have seen your experiments.


07-19-2007, 09:00 PM
Jane, this is beautiful. You have such strong values in both the trees and the reflections! The technique is perfectly suited for the tree! Any experiments you want to post, I'll be here!

I forgot to say in my post on a tree....I think it is a dieing weeping willow. there was so much dead stuff and too much growth hugging the trunk for it not to look like a distressed tree.

07-20-2007, 12:19 PM
I think you did a beautiful job on that weeping willow, Jane. O also wouldn't worry about being too strict with a technique. We do what works- and that tree certainly works! It's a lovely painting.

Here's another plein air tree. I'm not terribly happy with it. The trunk is rather clumsy and I got muddy pales and had to use a soft pastel for the gold highlights. But it was fun to do. Masses and scribbles and more scribbles wink2: on 8x10 red Canson with pumice gel. The view is from a cousin's property and I can roam around and do plein airs there as much as I want, which is great. Now if it would only stop raining....http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Jul-2007/6393-PA_Garys_yard_smallfile.jpg

07-20-2007, 02:28 PM
Wendy, Pat, and Lindsay, I really appreciate your support. Wendy, this is a beautiful scene and your tree is fantastic. :clap: I don't know how you manage such detail in the short time plein air painting involves. You're right, any technique that produces such lovely paintings as yours is worth using. You are very lucky to have access to this river area; I'm envious. We're getting a deluge at the moment and, after a nice start, the summer is turning out to be rainy just like last year. It sure cuts into plein air time, and isn't good for the tomatoes and peppers either. Please keep on adding your tree examples everyone; I'll probably try some more trees after a bit of a break. Jane

Pat Isaac
07-20-2007, 02:59 PM
Lovely painting, Wendy and I really like the reds showing through. Are those birch trees. What a great area for plein air.


07-28-2007, 08:45 PM
Since I wasn't able to manage diagonal lines by myself, I decided, as a learning experience, to try to copy one of Elizabeth Mowry's trees where she had used diagonal lines. This is only part of her painting and the colours are not the quite the same. I tried to emulate her technique, but again used my colour shaper to smooth most of the lines. 8" X 8" on dark blue Colourfix. Jane

Pat Isaac
07-29-2007, 11:09 AM
Great trees, Jane and the technique is defnitley linear. Did you do the sky first and then the tree forms?


07-29-2007, 11:32 AM
Thanks, Pat. I did lay in the sky first, but not under the tree leaf area, just in the sky hole areas. But I wasn't entirely happy with the blue I had chosen, so I worked back into it as well later. I also added some additional sky holes after painting the tree. Jane

07-31-2007, 04:14 PM
Hi All,
There are some very nice trees posted on this thread.
I had in mind to do a couple large paintings but realized that I need to practice on small studies first since I'm not at all familiar with OPs. This painting is on hp wc paper with 2 layers of a mixture of gesso, colbalt blue acrylic, Golden pumice gel and Golden Micaeous Iron Oxide which also adds a sandy texture. The OPs used are Holbein and 3 Senneliers, white, terra cotta, and coral (I own just 12 Senns).
I learned that I love to do skies in any medium (note the accidental face along the left edge of the top cloud). I learned that the best trees are those that are far, far away. I removed the foliage from these trees once and, even though I'm not happy with these either, I ain't gonna remove it again.
Note the specks of color on the sky and clouds. How does one prevent getting little bits of OP spread over the finished areas?
Also, my fingers got so dirty that I got colors all over the sides of my Holbein. As I wipe the colors off, I'm losing some of the stick. After a few times of wiping, I'll have very thin Op sticks. Any suggestions?
Please don't hesitate to critique this painting. I'm very eager to learn and you folks have much to offer.

Pat Isaac
07-31-2007, 04:23 PM
That is quite a surface that you are working on. Does it have a lot of texture or is it just lightly sanded? I like your trees...and I would say massing, but I'll let Jane deal with that. I think you could anchor them into the ground more, by adding some more darks. If I gets specks of OPs in other areas, I pick them off with an palette knife before they get smeared into the painting. I also clean my OPs with a paper towel and it soesn't seem to diminish the OP much.
You are doing a wonderful job with the OPs.


07-31-2007, 04:29 PM
Hi Again,
I'm still trying to figure out this system. I think the thumbnail will go this time. I forgot to mention that Autumn Aspens is 8"x5".

Pat Isaac
07-31-2007, 04:33 PM
Not to worry Sammy. The first image is fine. I thought they were birches, but Aspens are that family.


07-31-2007, 04:55 PM
Sammy, thanks for participating with your tree painting. I agree with Pat that it looks as if you have used the massing method, with perhaps a few dots here and there. I also agree with Pat that it would be good to anchor the trees - perhaps you could blend the grasses up onto the bottom of the tree trunks a bit more. Your sky is lovely; I can see that you enjoy doing them. I also don't like to get my fingers dirty, so I have wrapped mailing labels around my older Holbeins - the new individual ones come in plastic packets which I leave on when I paint. Jane

07-31-2007, 06:18 PM
Pat, After reading that you thought these trees were birch, I did a search of both and discovered that the aspen's leaves are solid yellow in the fall. The photo I had taken and used had green and gold leaves. They must have just started to turn. I took your and Janes's advice and darkened the shadow to anchor the trees and covered the foliage I had with golds and yellows. I like the foliage more. Trees are my worst nightmare.
Thanks for you advice.

Shirl Parker
08-07-2007, 12:19 PM
Does anyone else see the image of the sleeping baby on the left side of this picture?

John Elliot, oil pastel (blended)

08-07-2007, 02:41 PM
Not me. I do see something that looks like 2 eyes on a face.

Pat Isaac
08-07-2007, 05:15 PM
I didn't see it at first, but now I do.
I used to love those games of finding the hidden image...:lol:


08-07-2007, 11:23 PM
I studied that painting for a long time and didn't spot the sleeping baby. My husband walked into the room and spotted it right away. He was standing a little distance from the monitor and that may have made the difference.
Thanks for the challenge.

08-09-2007, 01:47 PM
This is my final posting to this thread. I'm fairly happy with this tree and I've gotten over my reluctance to paint foreground trees, so I'm declaring my experiment a success. Thanks for participating and I hope it's been useful. Jane

Pat Isaac
08-09-2007, 04:46 PM
Thanks, Jane for all your work on this thread. It has been very informative and your last piece is a winner.


Anne Hevener
08-10-2007, 09:49 AM
I agree. A very interesting exploration of this subject. Great thread! I'm left wondering how much the method is derived from the type of tree, the shape, the amount of foliage.

08-10-2007, 10:35 AM
Pat and Anne, thank you for your comments. With regard to your question, Anne, I think that in some instances a method immediately suggests itself. For example, a small flowering shrub seems to call for dots, or massing plus dots, depending on the density of the foliage. A sparse evergreen may suggest lines following form, while a full evergreen might be better using massing plus line at the periphery. In the case of deciduous trees in full leaf, massing with dots seems to be one choice, with diagonal lines being another. But the choice is not always clear and creativity in interpretation may call for using a method which is unexpected. I hope people will experiment with these methods for different trees to discover what works best for them. Jane

08-18-2007, 03:53 PM
Thanks, Jane. After checking out the oil pastels and the wonderful paintings you all achieve, I bought a set of 24 Sennelier's. Only tried a quickie flower pic, without knowing how to blend properly. Painted a sky and foreground and drew some red bee balm, but not worth sharing imo. Now, I can see the draw to buy more brands and colors, just like soft pastels and watercolors are addictive. I'm running out of space for all the papers and media I've accumulated.

I think it's the color that is the major hook. My grand daughter drew some lines on the back of my pic and I hung her's on the telephone line over her table. She touched it yesterday and said: nice painting, impressed by her own art at age 2. So am I. She has an economy of movement and color.

If I ever make something decent, I'll post it, now that I know better how to blend and the types of strokes most effective for a cohesive painting.

Appreciate the time and effort and sharing done on WC to teach your art.

08-18-2007, 05:59 PM
Thanks, Paulafv, and I hope to see one of your paintings before too long. I love art supplies too. Jane

03-05-2012, 08:13 AM
I have just cover this thread with happiness. I spent some time in the draw and I have not finished my collection. I'm going to have them in oil pastel I'm trying to conquer. I give you this link (http://masmoulin.blog.lemonde.fr/2010/01/11/les-arbres-les-grands-peintres-partie-33/) to a site on the beautiful trees on this page and include some great painters.
And here are the cypress Van Gogh I would make with OP:wink2:

Pat Isaac
03-05-2012, 08:33 AM
Welcome to the OP forums, Sylvie.....:wave: I look forward to seeing your trees in oil pastel. When you are ready it would be nice if you could post the in the studio forum for more to see.


03-09-2012, 08:28 AM
Thank you Pat :-) I will do as well

08-09-2014, 03:28 AM
Whatever happened to Sylvie? Funny how I got to this thread. Was looking at some Eliot oil pastel paintings on google, ended up on Robert Sloan's web page covering books on oil pastels and then ended up in this thread.

09-26-2016, 06:27 PM
Does anyone see the sleeping baby in Post #74 on page 5 of this thread? I have looked from close up, far away, different angles and I do not see a sleeping baby!

From far away I do see a strange cat sitting on a tree branch, a little fish with big eyes and a red man sitting under a tree with his leg up and his arm wrapped around his leg.

It's driving me crazy that I can't see the baby!😩 Help!