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Old 03-01-2009, 08:50 AM
edtree's Avatar
edtree edtree is offline
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MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Welcome to the
“Trees & Foliage”

MTM (Member-to-member) Classroom

You will find the classroom host list and guidelines here:
MTM Classroom Host List and Guidelines.

Trees, whether majestic and powerful, crooked and scrawny, towering, sheltering, weeping or mere saplings, are often times the most prominent or important element in a landscape painting.

Rendering trees is a very personal and individual endeavor for an artist, and I’ve seen some of the best here on this forum. I’m far from an expert, but I hope that something presented will be of interest and/or benefit to you. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting 5 demonstrations:

1. Painting tree bark
2. Foliage, bark, lighting
3. Painting Winter trees
4. Painting Spring/Summer trees
5. Painting Fall trees and foliage.


I will also providing links to past classrooms and examples from other artists along the way.

I believe that before putting brush to canvas (or paper), it is a good idea to spend some time observing trees and landscapes with trees in them, paying attention to some specific things:
  • The effects of light, weather and distance on trees and other landscape elements.
  • The way trees grow in relationship to other trees and their surroundings.
  • Tree structure, balance and proportion
To get the ball rolling, in the posts to follow, I will provide some tree references with commentary for you to observe and ponder.

ASSIGNMENT: If you wish, please take some photos of your own of trees, or choose tree pictures from the WC photo reference library and post them here for discussion and possible references later in the class.




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Old 03-01-2009, 08:55 AM
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noodle1 noodle1 is offline
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Good Morning Elizabeth, I love trees and I do have some photos and will post when I get back from Mass...so looking forward to this class, just had to be the first to grab a seat..LOL

Elaine
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:57 AM
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sveldstra sveldstra is offline
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Thank you Edtree for hosting this class. I'm really looking forward to it. I paint a lot of trees and am looking forward to learning new techniques which can help me improve. The timing couldn't be better, I'm actually working on a tree painting right now.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:39 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Observing Trees

Consider the three basic plains or layers of your reference/ potential painting:

1. Foreground
2. Mid-ground
3. Background


Notice how the values/colors and definition/clarity of shapes change as your eye moves further into the scene. The far trees and other elements will turn gray or blue, the values become closer to one another (the light becomes dark and the dark light).

This short video on Landscape Painting - Distance and Color demonstrates the concept well.

For a more in-depth study, please see this outstanding article: Lessons in Color Theory.

Photo Examples

This photo by thewingedshadow illustrates the effect of weather (fog) and distance has on color saturation. Notice three levels of color value and graduation from the darkest most intense in the foreground, medium dark in the mid-ground area, and light or misty in the background. And also, note the lessening of detail from front (more detail) to back (little detail).


Misty Forest.


**************************************

Below is another great example of the graduation and de-saturation of color as the elements fade into the background. Photo by Mrking.


Bridge.

**************************************

The example below shows very little background trees, as the forest is quite dense at the mid-ground level. What this picture also illustrates is the value differences between sky, land and trees. In general:

· The sky will represent the brightest/lightest value
· The land, the second lightest/brightest
· Trees, the darkest element

Trees are usually the darkest element because of their orientation. Vertical objects/things do not receive as much direct light as do those that are flat, such as the land, or diagonal or multi-directional elements, such as rooftops and the leaves on the trees.


Tree photo by Orph.

********************************************

The relationship between trees is one of the most fascinating occurrences to observe. Shown below in this photo by Deirdre, notice how the two trees grow respectfully and complementary to each other. The branches may intermingle, but they do not interfere.


Trees in my garden by Deirdre.

The above reference also illustrates well the way trees grow in balance. Notice that the amount of growth on the top ½ of the tree is in proportion to the size of the trunk. Also, even if a tree turns and bends, it will also seek to balance itself. An additional point to note is that the branch/leaf-bearing portion of the tree should always be in proportion relative to the size of the trunk.

****************************************

Another good example of balance is shown in the photo below by macdragon. Although it appears this tree may have had a rough life, it still seeks to find a very elegant balance.


River Gum Tree.

We will begin painting sometime over the next few days! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing your photos of trees.

Elizabeth
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:44 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Good Morning Elaine and Sharon! Great to have you both here!

Elaine, I'm looking forward to seeing your examples and will be also paying close attention to whatever input you have along the way!

Sharon, I'm glad this class is timely for you since you're working on a tree painting! I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Elizabeth
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:57 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Morning Elizabeth!! So very nice to see you back!!!!
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:13 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Hi Susan! It is nice to be back! Although is wasn't posted anywhere, I've been quite ill for several months. Much better though now and hope to be able to participate again regularly in the main forum once this classroom runs its course. I've really missed you and the gang!

Elizabeth
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:19 AM
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Charlie's Mum Charlie's Mum is offline
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Now glued Elizabeth!!
Thanks for doing this and providing such beautiful refs. ... I'll see what I can dig out!
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:30 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Glad that you are feeling better. Trees are one of my biggest inspirations and I'm looking forward to seeing your methods. I think I may have a good reference to take part with.
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:43 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Thank you for making the thread sticky, Maureen! Happy to have you add a tree example or two if time permits!

Hi Michelle! Great to "see" you and thank you for the well wish. The photos posted over the next few days can be just for observation. If there are those you'd rather not have others paint, that would be perfectly fine (just note it when posting).

My hope is that once we begin painting, it will be from a variety of references, using the general "rules" for trees and landscapes. You know how plans go though sometimes !

Elizabeth
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:23 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

This sounds like a great class. I will dig out some photos, I took some in England in December as I meant to do some studies of trees - an area where I need a lot of practice but never got any further than the photos.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:36 AM
~~Kathleen ~~Kathleen is offline
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

If you need photos of trees in Winter with snow, I have a great variety of them. Let me know, I don't want to force them on you!
Spruce/Larch and various bushes.
~~Kathleen
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:59 AM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Hi Marion and Kathleen! Nice to have you both with us! Your December England tree photos sound perfect for studies and possible paintings, Marion. And your winter photos as well, Kathleen!

Winter trees show so well the relationships between trees and their structure. I'm looking forward to see your examples!

Elizabeth
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:28 PM
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Ok - Here are a few of mine - hope they fit the bill. They are all taken at the Yorkshire Sculpture park - a wonderful place that is a large country park with several sculpture dotted through the landscape.









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Old 03-01-2009, 12:48 PM
~~Kathleen ~~Kathleen is offline
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Re: MTM Classroom - Trees & Foliage

Here are a few of mine, if you want a particular winter style pic let me know, as I probably have one.
Hope these help
~~Kathleen
Of the frozen North















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