There are all sorts of shapes, sizes and heights when it comes to trees. Although two trees of the same species
may look the same from afar, they are never identical.
When you get closer, you’ll start to notice the branches that grow in different lengths and directions, scars
and bumps in the bark.
When you add light and shadow, plus seasonal changes into the mix, you get a rousing element in a landscape.
However, if you make the following mistakes, then your trees will mess up your paintings.
1. Using one green for all tree leaves
It’s true that the leaves on the tree you wish to paint may be green but your painting will hardly look
realistic if you use only one type of green. And it’s not enough to simply add a bit of white to create a lighter
green and to create a darker green shade by adding some bit of black.
At the very least, add a bit of yellow and blue shades. Create variations in your green by mixing it with each
one of these colors. Mix the yellow with the green at areas where the sun is falling, and mix the blue with the
green where there are shadows.
2. Mix colors for the trunk too
Again, avoid using only one brown for the entire trunk. And likewise, adding a bit of white for lighter places
and a bit of black for darker places is not adequate. It is simply not the recipe for successfully painting a tree
Your ‘tube brown’ mixture should have a bit of your yellows, greens, blues, and even red to portray the color
and tone variations in the bark. Ascertain whether the bark on that particular species is brown or not. Do it in
various lights, from life, by personal observation.
3. Avoid chopping the trunk off right at ground level
The place where the tree trunk crops up to the surface from the soil is not a straight line. The line is very
uneven, and if the tree species is one with dramatic roots, the unevenness can be tremendous. Also, keep this in
mind for plants or grasses that are growing up against the trunk. Same goes for fallen leaves.
4. Branches shouldn’t be uniform
Of course, in humans, the arms and legs are perfectly arranged in pairs on either side of the trunk. However,
tree branches follow a more complicated arrangement. Take your time and sketch different species, taking note of
the characteristics of the branches. Alternatively, if you’re the lazy type, you could just randomly put in
branches, not like a row of soldiers.
5. Remember the shadows within the branches
You spend ages trying to perfect the shadow that your tree casts down on to the ground, but what about the
shadows with the tree itself that are cast by the branches and leaves? You have to include them as you paint the
leaves, not just as an afterthought fixed on top.
These are some of the tree painting mistakes you ought to keep in mind as you start your tree painting. When you
manage to avoid them, you’ll make your tree painting appear more real.
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