Oil painting how to paint trees

How to Paint Trees and Foliage — Samuel Earp Artist

Poplar Trees and The Remarkables Mountains, New Zealand, 40cm x 50cm, oil on canvas.

Inspiration for This Painting

This painting was inspired by an area called Dalefield which is located in the Wakatipu Basin, just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand. I frequently come to this area to paint as there are so many subjects to capture on canvas including trees, fields, mountains and animals. 

I came here to paint in March the day after we'd had a cold spell of weather that left snow on the mountains. Given that New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed and so February is a summer month. Anyway I thought it would make for an interesting painting with trees and fields juxtaposed against some snowy mountains.

This was the view I painted.

When I painted this scene outdoors I made the stand of trees the focal point and I kept the road in there to add some rhythm to the painting, I also removed the HV power lines from the scene as I felt these man made objects would have spoiled the painting.

I was very happy with my plein air painting and that's when I decided I would create a larger studio painting of this view, also I could use my plein air painting as a colour study to refer to for the studio painting.

The Design Process and Sketching

Now, whilst I was pretty happy with my plein air painting I felt I could improve the composition a little and so before I got into my studio painting I sat down with my sketch book and did some quick five minute thumbnail sketches. Then once I was sure of an idea for the composition I did a final sketch.

The sketch is purely for planning the composition and to give me an idea of the tonality of the scene, i.e. where my lights and darks will be when I come to paint this scene and I use a range of pencils from 4H to 4B.

Don't worry if your pencil sketches aren't perfect or amazing works of art, so long as they are good enough for you to transfer your composition onto the canvas thats all that matters.


The aim of a the composition is to create unity and a feature that should be the main interest in the paintings, it should dominate all the other forms and masses in the painting. In this case I have made the stand of trees the area of interest in the painting.

This composition in this painting is known as a pyramid or triangle composition and it suggests permanence and stability because of its structure, perfect for trees. I have placed the stand of trees to the left of the centre, remember that you should never have your focal area in the middle of the painting as it's predictable and forms a displeasing static.

I have added supporting elements to create some flow in the compositions, subtle props thats leads the eye towards the focal area, the stand of trees. In this case the dirt track clearly leads the towards the trees as well as the dead grass clumps in the foreground. The hills and mountains in the distance slope downwards in a manner that subtly redirects the eye back towards the trees.


I painted this art work in oils but you can also use acrylics if you prefer. Here is a list of colours you will need for this painting:


You won't need a whole range of fancy brushes and I always thing it's best to keep it simple. Now, given that my painting style is that of a plein air painter, my studio paintings aren't massively detailed either and for good reason. I feel that excessive detail tends to ruin the composition as the eyes and brain are having to decode too much information. Often the suggestion of detail is more effective as the brain fills in the gaps, it also makes the paintings look more alive.

With more gestural brush strokes in mind I have opted for using mostly flat brushes, filberts and daggers.

Here is a list of the brushes I used in this painting:

  • No. 6 flat

  • No.4 flat

  • No.2 flat

  • No.2 filbert

  • No.1 round

  • 1/2" dagger

  • 3/8" dagger

  • 1/4" dagger

Flat, filbert and round brushes.

Dagger brushes.

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LANDSCAPES #2 - PAINTING TUTORIALS - 6 Videos, Over 7 Hours of Content


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6 Painting Tutorial Videos

  1. Frosty Morning - Running Time: 71 minutes

  2. Summer Willows - Running Time: 76 minutes

  3. Mountain River - Running Time: 67 minutes

  4. Forest Stream - Running Time: 66 minutes

  5. Autumn Trees - Running Time: 79 minutes

  6. Winter Willows - Running Time: 66 minutes

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Tonal Values

Before starting the painting and even in the design process itself I establish where my light and dark values are and this will help to establish the overall tonality of the painting. The primary elements of the tonal scale is light, dark and half tones. Values refer to how light or how dark and object is.

In a landscape painting, objects in the distance such as the mountains will have a narrower tonal scale where darks are not quite dark and lights are not quite light. As we come forward in the painting the tonal scale increases so darks get darker and lights get lighter.

The concept of light and dark values is best illustrated when we switch our reference photos from colour to black and white. The shadows of the trees are the darkest values but as we look at the shadows in the distance such as the trees in the mid ground and the mountains in the distance, the shadows become lighter.

The lightest values in the photo is the track, grass, clouds and the snow on the mountains. Keeping in mind of where the lights and darks are in the photo will help with colour mixing as well as achieving a harmonious painting.


I'm painting on a 40cm x 50cm canvas. I have applied a thin layer of burnt sienna to the canvas and allowed it to dry, this helps to warm up the painting as it comes through the paint layers and gives it a more traditional look. It also helps with establishing colour and tone as there is less of a distorting effect which can occur from painting on a white surface.

I sketch out the composition with burnt umber mixed with liquin which is a medium that not only thins the paint and improves the flow but also speeds up the drying time.

Once I have sketched out the composition I determine where my darkest tones are in the painting, in this case it's the shadows in the poplar and sycamore trees in the foreground. Once I have figured out what my darkest values are I can use it to gauge the rest of my tones in the painting.

I'm using a No.6 flat brush as I start blocking in, I want to keep my brush strokes loose and gestural so I will be pretty much using No.6 flat brushes throughout the entire blocking in phase.

I mix the shadows of the trees using burnt umber, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and a very small amount of phthalo green. I use this same colour combination with the willow trees in the mid ground but adding a little titanium white to the mix.

I then start marking in the shadows in the mountains using a combination of burnt umber, ultramarine blue, quinacridone magenta and titanium white.

Having established my darks I move onto the sky. I mix the cloud highlights with titanium white and burnt umber knowing full well that it will mix in nicely with the cloud shadows I'm about to add. I mix the colours of the cloud shadows with the exact same colours as I used for the mountain shadows, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, quinacridone magenta and titanium white. Using this same colour combination for shadows throughout the painting will create more colour harmony. Even the shadows in the foreground trees contain burnt umber and ultramarine blue.

I mix the blue in the sky with ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cobalt teal a very tiny amount of quinacridone magenta and titanium white. I vary the amounts of the blues in order to add texture and interest to the sky.

I block-in the areas in light on the mountain, the colour results from lots of jagged rocks and tussock grass that grows on the mountain and I mix this again with the same colour combination I used in the sky with the emphasis on more burnt umber, I also add I small amount of yellow oxide into the mix. You can also use yellow ochre as well.

I paint the snow in the mountain with titanium white and burnt umber. The burnt umber helps the snow to recede in the painting.

Next I work on the greens in the grass and I'm sure you are wondering, how do you get green to recede in a painting, well the answer lies in desaturating colours. The more desaturated the colour the more it will recede in the painting.

I mix the colours of the distant fields with yellow oxide, ultramarine blue and titanium white as a base, then I add varying amounts cobalt teal, quinacridone magenta and burnt sienna to vary the texture. If the green is too saturated I can reduce the chroma by adding a colour containing its opposite on the colour wheel, red, which could include burnt sienna or quinacridone magenta.

I mix the grass in the foreground by starting with cadmium yellow deep, ultramarine blue and titanium white. I then add a little burnt sienna, yellow oxide and I kick up the saturation with phthalo green. Be careful when using phthalo green as it's a very strong colour and can quickly overpower your mixture. I add a little cobalt teal in places to vary the texture and colour of the grass.

Now to paint the main focal area of the painting and again using a No.6 flat brush I start blocking-in the foliage of the trees. Again, I am keeping my brush strokes loose and gestural.  

The tone of the foliage is darker than the grass so I must keep this in mind, but I am basically using the same colour combination for the foliage as I used in the grass, however I will vary the amounts of the colours in the mix. I darken the foliage from the get go by add more ultramarine blue. The foliage contains more earthy siennas in the green so I increase then amount of burnt sienna into the mix. You might need to play around with these colours a little until you get the right one.

I mix the colour of the path with ultramarine blue, burnt umber and titanium white.

I'm getting near to completion of the block in stage and I add some mud to the grass by mixing burnt umber, ultramarine blue and a small amount of quinacridone magenta with titanium white. I also add the clumps of dead yellow grass.

I paint the shadows in the dirt track by mixing the same colours I used in the mountain and clouds shadows, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, quinacridone magenta and titanium white. This is a useful colour combination and a good default colour mix to use in a painting.

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LANDSCAPES, PAINTING TUTORIALS - 4 Videos, Over 4 Hours of Content


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4 Painting Tutorial Videos

  1. Mountain Stream - Running Time: 65 minutes

  2. Rees Valley - Running Time: 53 minutes

  3. Rural Landscape - Running Time: 62 minutes

  4. Matukituki Valley - Running Time: 74 minutes

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I complete the blocking-in phase by tidying up the clouds in the sky and just refining the overall forms in the painting. Once the blocking-in stage is complete I allow the painting to dry so then I can start building up the detail.

Building Up The Detail

So now that the blocking in process is complete and I have allowed the painting to dry I can start building up the detail. I start by refining the clouds and I am using the same colours that I used in the blocking in phase which include ultramarine blue, burnt umber, quinacridone magenta and titanium white. 

I do want the clouds to be tonally too light as they will jump forward in the painting and distract the viewer from the main focal area so I darken the tone a little. I also refine the sky and using a No.6 flat I also refine the form of the clouds.

Next I start working on the mountains and again I am using the same colours as I used in the blocking in phase but I am adding lighter tone in places to refine the shape of the mountains. I don't want to add loads of fine detail to the mountains as this will be confusing to the eye and will zap some of the life out of the painting.

Now for the main part of the painting which is adding the detail of the foliage in the stand of trees. I start with the sycamore tree and I am using a filbert brush to paint the foliage. I am still using the same colours to mix the greens as I did with the blocking in phase which include cadmium yellow deep, ultramarine blue, phthalo green to increase the chroma and titanium white. I am also adding in places yellow oxide, burnt sienna and quinacridone magenta in order to make the greens look more organic.

For the poplar tree behind the sycamore and the other smaller trees I use a 3/8" dagger brush to give the illusion of different shape leaves. I also vary the colour of the foliage between the trees. I'm building up lighter tone each time to give the illusion of solid forms within the trees.

I refine the trees in the mid ground but I desaturate my greens so the recede in the painting, I'm still using the same green colour combinations but adding more yellow oxide and burnt sienna in order to reduce the saturation of these colours.

I work on the grass in the foreground using a No.6 flat brush. The grass is tonally lighter than the foliage in the trees even though I am still using the same colour combinations, but also adding a little cobalt teal to the mix here and there. I need to add more titanium white to my green mixes but not so much that the colour becomes chalky. If you find you greens becoming chalky, add more cadmium yellow deep, phthalo green and burnt sienna to the mix. You may have to play around with colour mixture until you get it right.

I add more detail to the foliage in the stand of trees and again applying lighter to than the previous layer.

Next I work on the detail of the dirt track and I am using mostly burnt umber, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, a tiny amount of quinacridone magenta and titanium white. I wanted to break the line of the path so I've add clumps of grass to the path edge and mud patches in grass.

Final Details

I complete the painting by adding some more spots of lighter green in the foliage of the stand of trees. I then add the branches in the poplar and sycamore trees which I mix using a combination of burnt umber, ultramarine blue, a tiny amount of quinacridone magenta and titanium white. For the highlights in the branches I mix titanium white with a little burnt umber and yellow oxide.

I paint some suggestions of branches in the willow trees in the mid ground.

Overall I refine the stand of trees and the grass in the foreground, it's always quite difficult to know when a painting is finished!


Check out the painting video that accompanies this blog.

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LANDSCAPES #2 - PAINTING TUTORIALS - 6 Videos, Over 7 Hours of Content


Price is displayed in US dollars

6 Painting Tutorial Videos

  1. Frosty Morning - Running Time: 71 minutes

  2. Summer Willows - Running Time: 76 minutes

  3. Mountain River - Running Time: 67 minutes

  4. Forest Stream - Running Time: 66 minutes

  5. Autumn Trees - Running Time: 79 minutes

  6. Winter Willows - Running Time: 66 minutes

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In this painting demonstration I show you how to paint a landscape that features willow trees and a river shimmering in the bright summer sun.

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In this article I will show you how to paint this seascape that features a breaking wave, a rocky shore and dramatic light.

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In this blog post I demonstrate how to paint a landscape that features a mountain river. This painting is inspired by the Fiordland area of New Zealand, a mountainous region that is an excellent subject for landscape paintings.

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How to Paint Epic Mountains

In this blog post I will show you how to paint this mountain landscape and I’ll give you tips on painting the mountains in a manner that they look like they are in the distance.

This mountain landscape painting is inspired by the Glenorchy area of southern New Zealand.

Samuel Earp24 Comments


Six Keys to Painting Trees with Character and Dimension

John MacDonald explains how to paint trees en plein air

How to Paint Trees in a Landscape Painting > To avoid trees that look generic or pasted on, follow these tips for painting compelling contours, varied sky holes, and details at a range of distances.

By John MacDonald
featured in the art video workshop “Creating Dynamic Landscapes”
and the newly released “Poetic Landscapes”

Unless you live in the desert or tundra, if you want to paint landscapes, you must be able to portray trees convincingly — which, despite their apparent simplicity, can be devilishly tricky to do. Here, we’ll explore ways to deal with the unique challenges of painting this ubiquitous landscape feature.

John MacDonald, “Study, May 14 #1,” 2018, oil, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist, Plein air


Let’s start with the most important visual component of a tree — its contour. Two simple “rules” can help ensure that your trees have dimension and character, without being overly complex.

Simplify but don’t stylize: The visual form of a tree, establishing both its species and its unique character, is defined by its contour, its outline. The “stuff” inside the edges isn’t nearly as important, especially for trees in the distance.

The outside edge of a tree is extraordinarily complex; various groupings of leaves and branches in different densities move in all directions in space — an endless profusion of details that attract and confuse the eye. Underneath the complexity, however, an overall shape unifies the details and reveals the tree’s unique character. This is the shape we need to see and then paint.

To see the overall shape of a tree, squint at it. Squinting simplifies the values, flattens form, eliminates details, and softens color contrasts. It reveals the major shapes, which we need in order to make intelligent choices about what to include and what to omit in our paintings.

[Related > MYSTERY SOLVED: Solutions To 2 Major Issues That Most Landscape Painters Struggle With …]

John MacDonald, “Study, May 21, #2,” 2018, oil, 12 x 9 in. Collection the artist, Plein air

When blocking in the value and shape of the tree, we need to simplify the contour. The key is to reduce the complexity, while keeping the sense of a living, unique tree. Carry the simplification too far, and the tree ends up looking stylized — it becomes an interpretation of an idealized tree rather than a portrayal of a specific one. If your trees begin to look like generic rather than real trees, you’ve moved from simplification to stylization.

To avoid this, simplify but don’t be too quick to eliminate the specific twists and turns of a trunk or an odd indentation in the contour of the tree. Capturing some of those quirks in the shape can ensure that the tree appears real, a natural occurrence in a real location, as the trees do in “Field Farm Sunset.” Once the outline is working satisfactorily, it often takes very little detail or subtle variation of value within the outline to complete it.

Soften but add variety: Study the trees of masters, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Claude Monet, and George Inness, and you’ll find that they all keep the contour edges soft. Whether seen against background hills or sky, the contour of a tree is almost always softer in appearance than we think. Bare trees have extremely soft edges, but even a tree in the height of summer, in full foliage, has a soft edge.

A tree painted with too sharp an outline appears as a flat, cutout shape pasted on the landscape. A soft edge is much more realistic, but the softness needs to be broken too. A tree that consists of nothing but soft edges can appear equally flat, the only difference being that it appears out of focus. Somewhere along the contour, it’s important to create a few sharp, hard edges.

John MacDonald, “Winter Evening Fading,” 2015, oil, 20 x 36 in. Private collection, Studio

A variety of edges creates the illusion that some areas of the tree’s contour are closer to the viewer and some are further away. It hints at the tree’s three-dimensionality. This isn’t just a gimmick; it imitates what we see in nature. In some areas along the contour, the foliage is dense, and in some areas it’s sparse. Some leaves pick up reflections from the sky, lightening the edge, while others create shadows that darken the edge. In “Twilight, Study,” I suggested this complexity by manipulating the hardness and softness of edges — without having to paint every leaf on every twig.

John MacDonald, “Twilight, Study,” 2016, oil, 12 x 16 in. Private collection, StudioJohn MacDonald, “Field Farm Sunset” (Detail), 2017, oil, 16 x 20 in., Private collection, Studio


Sky holes convey the unique character of a tree, hint at its three-dimensionality, and, depending on the size of the tree in our composition, offer us opportunities to create interesting value patterns.

Prioritize importance: Study how sky holes appear in nature. They are not random, but are related to the form of the tree (the masses of foliage and the growth of branches). It’s extremely difficult to invent sky holes that look natural. Instead, study trees in the landscape, and then choose the sky holes that are most essential to the composition. Some sky holes will be important (usually the larger ones), some secondary, and some can be omitted entirely.

Darken values: Sky holes are small, light-value shapes surrounded by darker values. If painted the same value as the sky, the darker values of the tree will make the sky holes appear much lighter than the larger sky. For this reason, it’s necessary to darken the value of the sky holes, especially the holes surrounded by dark shadows.

Create variety: Sky holes shouldn’t all be the same value, nor should they have identical edges. By varying the values and edges of the holes, you can create the illusion of light shining through different thicknesses and densities of foliage, thus enhancing the three-dimensional quality of the tree. For instance, a sky hole adjacent to a large branch or trunk will have a harder edge where it meets solid wood, but softer edges where it meets leaves.

John MacDonald, “Hillside in Provence,” 2017, oil, 16 x 20 in. Collection the artist, Studio

Vary the values, sizes, colors, and edges of the sky holes and, when painting multiple trees, vary the number of sky holes in different trees, as I did in “Hillside in Provence.” But don’t vary them randomly. Some trees have dense foliage, some sparse. Sky holes function as details that attract the eye and need to be taken into consideration when composing the painting. Use them to create an attractive design that leads the eye where you want it to go.

John MacDonald, “Winter Woods Thaw,” 2017, oil, 12 x 16 in., Collection the artist, Plein air and studio.
“This piece isn’t about contour, foliage, or sky holes,” MacDonald says. “It’s about pattern. I’m playing with verticals against horizontals, all the while trying to create a realistic sense of light and space.


A tree in the foreground should read as three-dimensional, but the farther a tree recedes in the distance, the more it appears as a flat, patterned shape. Calling too much attention to the three-dimensional quality of a distant tree can hurt the illusion of deep space in the painting.

Adjust levels of detail: Typically, the closer the trees, the more visible are the trunks, branches, and individual clusters of foliage or twigs. In this instance, the internal “stuff” becomes important to creating the illusion of reality in the painting. But as a tree moves into the distance, the outline of the entire tree becomes more important and its detailed, three-dimensional appearance less so.

In “Winter Evening Fading,” (shown at top) you can see that for distant trees, a simple, varied edge and a few sky holes may be all that are needed. As trees move to the horizon, they tend toward a single value with little to no detail — just an overall soft edge with a few hard-edged spots and a little variation in the contour.

John MacDonald lives in the Berkshires in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he has ample opportunity to put his tree-painting techniques into practice. (jmacdonald.com)

Learn more about how to paint landscapes with John MacDonald’s “Creating Dynamic Landscapes” art video workshop (preview it below!).

AND, in “Poetic Landscapes,” a new instructional video, you’ll see that master artist John MacDonald has solved both of these problems, and he’s going to help you do the same:

Visit EricRhoads.com to find out all the amazing opportunities for artists through Streamline Publishing, including:
– Online art conferences such as Plein Air Live
– New video workshops for artists
– Incredible art retreats
– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.

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How to draw a landscape in oil step by step for beginners

Drawing lesson - landscape in pencil

Do you like landscapes? Do you go to art galleries to admire the works of great artists? Have you tried to paint a beautiful landscape in oil on your own?

Our step-by-step drawing tutorial makes this easy. And having mastered the basic techniques at the first job, you can create your own works. Thus, you will certainly join the art and become part of it.

Anyone can paint a landscape in oils!

We suggest working on the landscape of the forest in late autumn. In the process of work, you will feel a slight frost on your cheeks coming from your work, and bare trees will plunge you into the endless silence of nature. We will paint a picture with oil. This paint gives a special texture.

Although working with it is not easy, as it might seem at first glance. First you need to apply a red blur to the working canvas, the color should not be saturated, but muted. This will make the subsequent colors of the picture more expressive and the landscape will come to life due to this.

Master class of oil painting "Drawing a landscape"

Today's lesson will be held in the technique of impressionism. This means that we must reflect in the work not just a natural phenomenon, but dream up and convey changes, sensations, feelings.

This is what characterized the Impressionist painters at the end of the nineteenth century. For a more accurate and lively transfer of ideas, a lively, textured brushstroke is needed.

Drawing materials

To get started, you need to prepare materials:

  • canvas stretched on a stretcher or on cardboard;
  • 2B soft pencil; decorative brush with a size of at least 25 mm;
  • set of brushes (flat) #3 and #1;
  • mixing palette;
  • white spirit with which you will clean the brushes;
  • turpentine, necessary for thinning greasy oil paints.

Paints for drawing

We need oil paints in the following colors: chrome yellow, ocher yellow, crimson, azure, grass green, white, cadmium red, grass green, mauve, ultramarine, blue grey, burnt umber, raw sienna.

Step 1 Draw the landscape

Let's start our work with a pencil sketch. To do this, imagine a real, majestic Russian forest (though not coniferous). Color, texture, shadows, not shape. When working in the famous and unique technique of impressionism, it is very important to capture the sensations and transfer them to the canvas. Mark the areas to be shaded on the canvas. Draw a sketch with a pencil of the indicated softness.

Step 2. Underpainting the background

The second step is to blur the canvas. This has already been discussed above. The wash is applied to the canvas, usually with a decorative wide brush.

To create the desired wash tone, mix thinly diluted crimson oil paint with burnt umber. The paint layer must be very, very thin. And after applying the layer must be thoroughly dry. Otherwise, the upper layers will flow, and the clarity of the stroke will disappear.

Step 3. Draw the outlines of the trees with dark paint

Next, draw a shadow on the drawing. To the areas marked at the time of sketching. To do this, we need blue-gray and azure, which must be mixed in equal proportions.

These colors will allow us to apply dark shadows. Let's apply light shadows by adding yellow ocher and, for example, whitewash to the already prepared color. It is better to use brush number three for this stage of our work.

Step 4: Add Drop Shadows

Now let's do the initial drawing of the ground (underpainting). To do this, add a little red cadmium to the raw sienna, make the mixture slightly reddish, and then lightly sketch the earth.

Do not forget to apply the resulting paint with light movements and a free stroke. Draw the outlines of all the trees.

Step 5. Paint the soil between the trees

Now we can move on to detailing our oil painting. It is better to start with the details of the soil. To do this, add a little more red cadmium to the previously prepared mix of flowers and apply it to the canvas, depicting withered, fallen leaves lying on the snowy ground.

Use more intense tones than nature provides. This will give a special expressiveness to the work. In the process of work, do not lose the picture in your head, the image that you transfer to the canvas. It is very important.

Step 6. Add greenery to the background

Let's start drawing the details of the trees from the background. Add a little white and grass green paint to the mixture with which you painted the soil. The color should be slightly muted, this is where the wash will have its effect.

Now you see that the first step was not in vain, oil painting is a very exciting activity. Next, depict distant trees.

Step 7. Detailing the middle shot

At the next stage of work, we'll work on the middle shot of the painting. This is a very important stage, it is he who will convey the main sensations.

Mix equal parts yellow ocher and white, then add strokes of paint to the central part of the picture. These highlights will revive her.

Step 8 Move to Foreground

Let's move on to the trees in the foreground. To the color with which the distant trees were painted, add as much white as possible and quite a bit of yellow ocher.

Then apply the resulting tone to the tree trunks in the central plane of the picture. Adding a little more white, paint lighter parts of tree trunks, upper branches of bare giants and do not disregard the forest soil.

Step 9. Add small details

Draw small branches by mixing blue paint and to enhance the shade, just a little bit of gray-blue.

Step 9. Painting the sky

Now we have reached the sky. The color of the pinkish cold November sky will help us convey a mixture of azure paint with a lot of white. At this stage, we work with brush number one.

The background wash should appear red through the blue paint, giving it a pink glow. We write clouds with white. Try to apply the paint as if with brush strokes. Such a seemingly simple technique makes the picture textured, and therefore alive.

Step 10. Make the shadows painterly

The next step is to try to add light to our landscape. To do this, mix some gray-blue paint, a little mauve paint and cadmium red.

Draw shadows between the trees shown.
Thin branches of our trees will be drawn with a color obtained by mixing ultramarine paint and mauve.

Step 11. Writing thin branches

The final stage of the oil painting of the landscape will be drawing the thinnest branches with a pencil. Do not press hard on the pencil. Lightly touch the canvas.

Take a look at your work as a whole. Add the missing touches.

Step 12. The landscape is ready!

So, let's sum up our work:
A - The play of light and shadow in our oil painting is skillfully conveyed by free and light strokes
B - Thin lines - An ornate pattern from a web of thin naked twigs clearly stands out against the sky .
B - Warm midtones - the atmosphere of the picture is softened by warm midtones, which were obtained due to the previously superimposed layer of red wash.

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How to draw a landscape with trees correctly?

Paintings with summer landscapes are a favorite but difficult topic for beginners. The catch here is in the bright green of the trees. Many people paint greenery in a landscape using just two or three solid colors. From this, the picture becomes simply childishly painted. How to draw a landscape with trees correctly?

In fact, the color of "green" trees in a landscape may not be green at all.

And in some areas very "gray-brown-raspberry".

Let's look at the principle of painting green trees using the example of a selection of paintings by Mark Hanson.

I specifically measured and rendered the color of different areas of greenery separately so that you can adequately assess their shade.

1) The first picture shows us bright pure shades of green, the color of which can even be equated to those available in the paint set.

This is how beginners usually write without mixing colors. However, such a situation with bright greenery is quite rare in nature.

This is cloudy even lighting, the beginning of summer, when the foliage is still young, and approximately equal distance to all landscape objects.

2) At other times of the year, the greenery will be (already) not so bright. And the color of the leaves of different trees varies.

In a landscape, you are likely to find more yellowish young greens, darker, like pines, and cooler, like willows or olives.

Be sure to find the difference in shade of a particular tree species.

3) Bright sunlight radically changes the picture. If on a cloudy day we see a more or less uniform shade in the color of the crown, then in the sun the color in the light and in the shade is strikingly different.

In the light, the color brightens and becomes warmer. In the shadows it becomes less saturated and dark.

In this picture you can also see the color change of the tree in the "near-far" category. The shadows on distant trees become lighter and cooler than those near them.

4) As the distance to the trees increases, their color generally changes significantly compared to the neighboring ones. It changes from green to gray.

This is due to the fact that the air mist separating the viewer and the tree becomes thicker, the color dissipates, and the color of the milky, blue or lilac atmosphere is mixed with the green color of the crown.

See what richness and complexity of shades the author displays in this work.

5) The situation changes even more if complex lighting conditions are involved: dusk, sunset, dawn, night.

In this case, there are no conditions for green development. We can see blue-green, gray or even red trees.

Note that there is no green in this picture, although we are well aware that these trees are green.

However, our mind thinks in the usual categories - tree and grass are green, the sun is yellow, the sky is blue. And even if the eye tells us otherwise, the hand will still reach for the green color to depict the tree as green.

How can we help our mind to "see" color?

A very simple tool will help you. Take a small strip of paper or cardboard and poke a hole in it the size of a hole punch.

Aim this hole at the green area you want to see the color of. The color piece, separated from the overall picture, will be clear to you.

It's especially useful to measure color this way when you're painting distant trees.

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