The Artist’s Approach to Trees

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Duration: 23:34

We all know a tree when we see one, but if you’ve ever tried to draw or paint a realistic tree, you know—there’s a lot more to observe than you can catch at first glance! In this video, acrylic artist and author Peter John Reid explains why it’s important to constantly look at your subject instead of painting “brain trees,” i.e. the trees we tend to make when we make trees out of our heads rather than direct observation. Peter shares detailed examples that demonstrate the different characteristics of tree trunks, branches and canopies, and variation between species, as well as tips on capturing the unique character of each tree.

Once you’re familiar with the many types of trees, Peter demonstrates his technique for capturing the natural look of branches in acrylics, sharing a few methods for tapering the paint as the branch gets further from the trunk. Peter also shares tips on materials, like which brushes and colors he prefers for painting trees and which palette to use to keep your acrylic paints wet and workable through a painting session.