View Full Version : Trees

09-28-2007, 01:26 PM
I'm new to Acrylic painting and i've painted some stuff, but not an actual painting, i'll post one as soon as i make a full one but first i want to know if anyone has any tips on making Decideous Trees, the kind with leaves and foilage of other types. I can make evergreens, fields, water and water reflections but i'm not that good as regular trees. So can anyone offer any help?:confused:

09-28-2007, 03:16 PM
There is not a ''recipe'' for painting trees (or anything for that matter). You have to look at the shapes, squint, or turn your reference photo upside down to help see the basic lines. As for colors you have to expierment and find your favorite combinations ( Having a warm and cool of each of the primaries, white, and a few neutrals can get you a large amount of results). Hope that helps!


James C.

09-28-2007, 06:55 PM
Young, A few weeks ago I did a very basic tutorial on trees, (click my name above and go to profile then click recently threads I started) there are also a number of tutorials in search, just type in tree tutorial. Often even the ones that don't pertain to acyrlics can be adapted

Basically I use an adapted Bob Ross method. I lay down my basic tree shape, then use a brush with multipul colors to bring out the bark feel. The foliage can be applied with either a natural sponge thats been tapped almost dry on a seperate paper or a large brush (I like a 2") dab into the color of choice than smash it hard a few times on a seperate sheet of paper to spread the bristles some then lightlky tap onto your canvas. With either applicator you can use several colors at once to help add depth and light. Both techniques let you quickly add in foliage and still leaves lots of holes for the birds to fly thru and the sky to peek thru

09-29-2007, 08:13 AM
:wave: Hi Young Artist!

I love trees and love painting trees. No two are alike and each has personality and the potential to be turned into a magnificent work of art. My best advice would be to take your paints outside, find a tree you like, and start to paint. The more you do this, the better you'll become.

As for technique, why not check out some books at the library, or do some Wet Canvas or Internet searches for tutorials. Doc mentioned Bob Ross....there is some footage of his TV show on You Tube you might look at, and other painters' clips of trees and landscapes as well.

I hope this at least helps to get you started. I'm looking forward to seeing your paintings. :D


09-29-2007, 10:04 AM
Check out the Celeste and Elaine woods challenge just above your post. There should be some trees there of interest.

09-29-2007, 12:50 PM
My best advice would be to take your paints outside, find a tree you like, and start to paint. The more you do this, the better you'll become.That is probably the best advice given yet (not that the other advice was bad :) ). If that doesn't work, spend time looking a pictures of trees or pictures that have trees in them. Consider the light, shapes, tones, colors etc. I use a variety of techniques when painting trees, some good...some I learn from :o Most importantly in my mind is to avoid formula trees. Many of us have done it from time to time and it shows when we do. All the more reason to have a good reference photo(s) or actually looking at the scene.

Check out the Celeste and Elaine woods challenge just above your post. There should be some trees there of interest.Here is the link should you need it.
www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=446901 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=446901)

09-30-2007, 01:07 PM
Hi young artist

I put together a video on youtube. I hope it will help you



09-30-2007, 02:33 PM
Before you can paint a tree you have to know what the tree looks like. To know what it really looks like, you have to really "see" how its put together. To help "see" your tree, I suggest you take a sketch pad (or any plain paper) and any kind of pencil out to a similar tree and draw it. You will probably be amazed at what it actually looks like. I was. When you know how a tree is put together, you can more easily pick the painting technique that produces the kind of tree you want to paint, even impressionistic.

10-01-2007, 08:55 AM
Thanks everyone, i tried each of your ideas and it gave me a pretty good perspective on how to make trees, trees used to be my least favorite thing to draw and paint but now it's turned into my favorite, thanks every one.

10-01-2007, 09:14 AM
Go to the Artwork From Life forum...and in there is a subforum of mine. An Industry Partner forum of Larry Seiler's workshops...but really 95% of what is in that forum is past (from many years) step by steps, demos, how-to's, instructionals and so forth.

You'll see quite a bit of stuff on landscapes, trees, values, depth illusion and so forth.

A few acrylics...most are oils, but the concepts remain the same.

Basically squint your eyes, see the basic overall mass shape, judge a value with color as a base and block in.

Squinting the eyes again...note the sky or background color/values poking thru the mass, and how it affects the contours. We call these "sky holes" but, in short it is much easier to suggest a tree sculpting a mass with the negative space of that which is behind it, than determine to understand the anatomy and construct it that way.

Leonardo Da Vinci had a book on Anatomy of Trees, which I have...but, consider how many softwoods and hardwoods there are, how many types of decidiuous, how many types of coniferous. It is undaunting.

Artists are particularly trained and suited to see in a visual language, and thus if you trust your eyes...see shapes, value and color...you can learn very effectively to see the personality, the character of a tree...and suggest it well.