28 May 2016

Painting trees

I was sitting on my patio enjoying my breakfast this morning, and became inspired to paint my lemon tree. Now, I don't have the best track record with foliage--I never can figure out how to depict it. It comes out looking flat, or piebald, or completely funky, but never looks anything like the original. I haven't advanced much beyond a child's concept of trees...

either this:                                                 or this:


As I looked carefully at the tree, trying to figure out a process, I saw that some leaves were touched with light and therefore clearly discernible, while others were in shadow, and therefore bunched together. So I drew the ones that really stood out, floating in air, and then went around them with a vaguely accurate outline of the rest. Then I mixed light, middle, and dark colors of greens. I used the middle and dark almost like a negative painting around the light leaves, leaving them until last to paint.

I wish I had done an even lighter, brighter green for the lightest, and a little darker green for the midtone, just to get more sparkle, but I was pretty happy with this technique.

LEMON TREE -- Micron pen and watercolor.

More practice will undoubtedly improve this process!

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