As we are in the season of bare trees, allow me to moan on a bit about painting foliage on mature trees – those huge marshmallow shaped ones. The problem is, should you paint the tree as an enormous solid object or a mass of individual dots representing the leaves. My approach is somewhere in between. I just can’t paint a tree as an enormous green lump, nor do I have the inclination or patience to get out the tiny brush and start painting individual leaves. So I try and represent a clump of similar leaves with clumps of paint of the same colour. On the sunshine side of a tree, there will be more really bright green leaves than the darker shadow green. I find these brush strokes are better with a round brush, slightly horizontal in the centre of the tree, getting shorter as you approach the edge. The clumps This suggests ’roundness’. Its difficult to stay focussed on this task, its nearly as tedious as the individual leaf approach, but its a lot faster.
The trees in this painting are not the solid type mentioned above and are easier to paint. But notice the horizontal shape of the clumps of leaves of the same colour. These were painted with the tip of a ‘filbert’ brush and the flat shape of the brush gave the horizontal orientation.
I have a few ‘filbert’ brushes of various sizes, which if loaded with ‘sticky’ paint and applied with a flat dab, can produce a distant tree in a few touches. This, I think, is OK for distant trees where the uniformity produced by this ‘rubber stamp’ method can be disguised, to an extent. I used this approach in my latest painting (see next post).
I’m not a great fan of the ‘house painter’s brush’ dabbed onto the canvas to represent trees or clouds. Not only is the uniformity of the ‘rubber stamp’ effect noticeable across the surface of the painting, its also noticeable across different paintings. You do get a painting and this is great, but they will always look ‘cloned’ and you won’t progress to treating each tree with a fresh or different approach.
Here’s the video of the above. See you soon.