Painting Trees in Watercolour

Today we are in the Holywood
hills high above Belfast Lots of nice tree
subjects around Still a little cold to paint outside
but I’ll take some photographs And bring them back to the studio Redburn Park was the family home
of the Dunville Whiskey family At the time they owned the biggest
whiskey distillery in the world They built a 70 room mansion here in 1866 But hardly any trace of it remains This is the photograph I
will use to paint from It has a good strong foreground tree with
a good group of background trees behind That will help with
creating a sense of depth For this method, you need a paper
that will allow you to lift paint I’m using Bockingford Other papers such as Arches
are harder to lift from I’m using Phthalo Blue with
Cobalt blue for the sky I use long strokes from left to right Make sure your brush holds enough
paint to make a full stroke This brush is too small so
I’ll change to a large mop Same mix, And simply continue down the paper When you come to the position
of the distant trees Add a little Alizarin Crimson to the mix I’m painting over the foreground tree.
This will be lifted out later For this first wash I simply want
and interesting array of colour Vary the colour. Add any colour you like I’ll add some Aureolin with Ultramarine. this
will give a good green for the foreground Continue to paint down the paper.
Don’t leave any gaps Because the wash is soft with no edges Essentially I’m not actually
painting anything specific Only when you have a hard edge do you
actually specify an object or shape Some burnt sienna helps to
suggest the dried bracken A little more of the green
mix finishes the first wash When you reach the bottom
of the paper, stop. Don’t be tempted to go back
up or to change things. The first wash has now dried Now I’ll add some extra strength
for the background trees Use the same Phthalo/Alizarin Crimson mix Use the side of the brush
to give a dragged edge This is a good way to suggest
the broken edge of the trees The brush should be parallel to the paper Make sure you vary the outline
of the trees up and down Change the mix slightly as
you work down the trees Varying the colour will
make it more interesting Strengthen the tone as you work
towards the bottom of the trees I’ll finish off with a dark mix
of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna Aim to get light, medium and dark
tone in all parts of your picture I am now going to use a swordliner brush This has a very fine point and is
excellent for twigs and branches Use the same dark mix of
Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna and paint into the damp background wash [music] Time now to add some
variation to the foreground The mix is Aureolin and Ultramarine Use rough simple strokes Use the side of the brush again
to get a “rough grass” look Don’t be tempted to get too complicated
– trees are the main subject, not grass Again, vary the colour for interest Burnt Sienna helps to suggest the bracken. Now the background has dried I can start on the main tree There are many ways to paint
trees and this method works well Start with a very dark mix
for the trunk and branches I will then lift out the light
side of the trunk and branches The light side is the right hand side [music] Where the paint has lifted off
the paper can be quite white It is good to stain this damp
white area with some warm colour Raw sienna or burnt sienna works well Back to the swordliner
for the side branches Allow the swordliner to
skip over the paper surface These are very dark marks but parts
can be lifted out for variety Don’t paint too many side branches.
Too many will look cluttered [music] Back to the lifting out brush Rinse it often and squeeze it dry As you lift paint you will dirty the brush Squeezing the brush avoids
depositing water as you lift. It also gives a good
edge for lifting [music] Continue to vary the colour and tone As we approach the end of the painting It is time to add little dark accents Adding darks will make the lights
appear lighter (and vice versa) Adding dark effectively adds light Mixing some stronger green now I’m using viridian which
is a hideous green colour But burnt sienna calms it
down to a lovely rich green I’m using this for some darker details Here I’m using my finger to
roughen the edge of the stroke This gives a similar but more
controllable effect to dry brush It works well It does however make
your fingers very dirty! I have gone for some purple
grey to suggest shadow Again I’m using my finger
to soften the edge Back to the background trees I’m lifting out a few suggestions
of trunks and branches Silver birch trees have
a very distinctive bark I can use a very strong mix of ultramarine
and burnt sienna to suggest the bark Using the side of the rigger gives just
a hint of the dark marks on the bark I hope you have enjoyed this demo If you visit my website
you will find information on workshops as well as a
gallery and more demos Come back soon. Thank you and goodbye. [music]


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