Search The Web

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Trees and Foliage in Watercolor

Painting trees and foliage are treated differently as you don't actually paint it in detail. Well, it depends though on how near you are on the subject. The nearer the subject is, the more detailed your subject should be. Not much details are needed for landscape painting. We show the depths through different mixture of paints from the lightest to the darkest hue. Painting these type of subjects are quite a challenge but with basic knowledge you'd overcome your struggles.

Though watercolor set comes in variety of colors, I advise you not to use the paint straight from its tube. Best results will be obtained if you experiment mixing the paints and creating your own mixture. It is therefore crucial that you study and scrutinize your subject well in terms of the color you see. At a distance, you cannot possibly see the leaves and branches. They are just different shades of green. You only see the details if you are standing close to them. Either you paint from a picture or what you see around you, same basic rules apply for painting trees and foliage. Please take note that the same goes for bushes whether trimmed or not.

To start off, let's work on the highlight first. Use lemon yellow or a vivid green. Mix a sufficient amount of this mixture as you will be using the same all through out; adding other related colors to it as you progress with your subject. Depending on the kind of tree you are working on, try to leave a speck of white areas for sky holes. Wet on wet technique is recommended on the initial stages of your work. Next, add a vivid green into your previous mixture and apply it on the wet area to create the foliage effect of the tree. Different brush strokes are needed for depicting appropriate textures on the paper or board. Before it completely dries, add more sap green into your mixture and apply the paint on the bottom part of your tree to create shadows.

Now, moving towards the darkest area, mix a cobalt blue (if you have it in your palette) or just plain blue/ aquamarine on the same mixture and create varying strokes on the dark areas, wet on wet, to show depth. For finishing, let your painting dry completely and wash your brush well. Dry technique will be used on the final stages and to complete your subject. Add indigo or violet and some browns into the mixture and dab on some areas of the bottom part to create shadows. Clean your brush , dip its tip in clean water and soften the edges of some of your last application  to avoid distinctive marks. Wait a few minutes to totally dry up the surface and you may start working on the bark of the tree. Make sure to use different shades of brown to show the texture and some shadows of the bark.


  1. You make it look so easy but I know from experience it isn't. Nice blog. I've not visited one like this before.

  2. Wow! This is really interesting! I haven't come across very many artists through the blog world.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lexie Lane

    I hope you'll be able to make it over to our site!

  3. I use to try to attempt the painting thing, to I realized I am not that talented in the painting aspect of my life ;) Very nice though!!! Wonderful work !!


  4. @Lexi -- Thanks for dropping by. I so appreciate the support.

  5. @ Kirsten -- y
    You don't need to be talented to learn painting.
    Patience will lead you there. Thanks for taking the time here, I'll return the favor and hop in to your pages.

  6. Hey there! Stopping by from I love your paintings! Hope your having a great weekend!

  7. @Christin -- Thanks for checking out. Have a great weekend too!