Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to paint a Tree - original Watercolor oak tree painting

Because of the technique that I'm using here, you can use this same process in Oil or Acrylic.
Today, I am going to continue the discussion on Light and Dark values. Particularly how that relates to painting a green tree. What we don't want is a tree that is just a, Whole Lotta Green. First, when you paint a tree, you have to know how you are going to highlight the tree. Is the light source, high in the sky? In this example, the light is behind the tree, which means that the tree is going to be back lit.
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Paint in 3D, Paint in Layers
When you look at a tree, you see leaves in the back, in the middle, and in the front.
Think about this when you paint the tree.
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Don't paint what you see.
When you look at a green tree, all of the leaves look green. The leaves in the back may be slightly bluer and darker. The leaves in the front may be lighter and more to the yellow side.
Don't paint the tree like this, or it will look flat, and way to green. That's how you end up with a, Whole Lotta Green. Yuk!
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Learn the art of exaggeration

Make the darks, way darker than they really appear, this will give the tree depth. This is true of any subject matter. Always make the darks, darker than they really appear. It adds drama, and it give the painting, or tree in this case, depth.
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The Painting is the easy part
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Paint the back first
In this stage, you are going to use a dark, it doesn't matter so much what the dark is, the important thing is that it is dark enough. Don' get persnickety, use a bigger brush or a Fan brush and dab it on, loose is better. You can fix anything by adding another tree branch. Paint the entire shape of the foliage of the tree. Remember to leave a lot of space were you can see the sky behind the painting. That's the back of the tree.
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Paint the middle of the tree
Mix up a green, don't use a green straight out of the tube. Geez! If you are using watercolor, use fresh paint, straight out of the tube, not worked up dry paint. Use a lot of paint and very little water. Again,dab it on, leave at least 40% of the darks. Don't cover up all the darks! Geez! Let some of this go over the sky areas that are peeking though. Stop! Don't cover them all up. Geez! We all have a tendency to want to over do everything.
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Paint the Front
With a tree that is back lit, there aren't going to be a lot of bright sunlit leaves. But at this stage you can add a few brightly lit leaves. These will be more to the yellow side, maybe almost pure yellow,you can make these with a large liner brush or dab them on. Just a quick, small, curvy line. Don't make me say Geez, just a few. That's it, piece of cake!

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To Illustrate the Point

"Cow Wading"
Original watercolor Cow Painting oak tree water

Questions?




1 comment:

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