Tuesday, June 16, 2009

paint or sketch trees: challenge

Close up of tree bark, Marqueyssac, France. photo: Vivien Blackburn

Another challenge

Rather than another update on the seascapes I've decided to run another challenge in response to feedback from the trees post.

Feedback from people said they got a lot out of the skies challenge and I'm sure you will out of this one :>)


click the image on the left to link to the original post on trees

and you can check all posts with the tag 'trees' here


The challenge is to produce sketches of trees done from life.

  • These can be: close ups, extreme close ups, whole tree, part of tree, distant views - whatever you want.

  • Style: anything goes - photorealism to impressionism but with underlying observation

  • Medium: your choice, anything goes :>) oil paints, acrylics, watercolours, mixed media, charcoal, graphite, coloured pencils, pen, oil pastels, pastels, pastel pencils ....... etc etc etc

  • Timescale: we'll finish at the end of July and I'll post links to your blogs then - please leave your links in the comments as with the skies challenge
To think about
  • The character of trees - they are so individual, consider the way it grows, the dynamic way the branches reach for the sky, the way winds may have shaped it or it clings to rocks or hillside

  • Look at the texture of the bark, smooth, rough, flaking, damaged, patterned

  • The colours - which are rarely simply brown - look for the greys and greens and in some cases ambers, blue greys, off whites and more

  • Close ups as well as views of whole trees - look at the bark

  • Look at the pattern of branches and the negative spaces

  • Remember that branches come towards you as well as sideways

  • Look at where it joins the ground - roots showing ?? base buried in tall grasses?? look how it melts into its surroundings without a line beneath it

Anyone up for this? Let me know? I'd really like to get lots of people joining in with lots of different images and ways of looking at the subject.

54 comments:

Jeanette said...

Trees are a bit like flowers to me in that they intimidate. However, the best way to overcome that it to jump right in and draw or paint trees isn't it?

And I sure have no shortage of trees where I live. :) So yes, I'm in!

harrybell said...

Great idea, Vivien, and it's saved me from having nothing to post. Here's my link:

http://ieneja.notlong.com

laura said...

Trees! I struggle with them--the shapes (making them, as you say, reflect their individual character--and look, not real, but "believable") and the color of bark!! I could look at bark forever and never figure out what color it is.
A great challenge: I have a closeup of bark that I've been wanting to try for a couple of years ... Maybe now's the time.

laura said...

oops--just reread "from life"; so I'll save my photo for another time and get outside!

Lindsay said...

I was very sad to have missed the sky challenge and I'll def be in on the tree chalange!

Sydney Harper said...

I'm up for it. I'm always fascinated by trees. Besides I have my eye on this huge ancient cedar tree in the grocery store parking lot near my house.

vivien said...

oh a great response already :>)

Jeanette exactly!

Harry that's a quick start :>) with some really great work - it's on it's way to a draft post of all links

Laura great :>) close ups are fascinating

Lindsay great :>)

Sydney great :>) and an old cedar would be fascinating to draw

Jean Spitzer said...

trees from , life, hmmnn. Well I can try, but I'm not exactly certain I can do the leaving the link in the comments, thing (I'm really ignorant about this stuff), so it might just end up on my blog. (If so, I'll let you know.) But this sounds like a fun challenge.

Jean Spitzer said...

Never mind. I just read the comments and saw the already posted link by harrybell. I think I can manage that.

Julie Broom said...

Sounds like fun. I might have a bash at this, if it ever stops raining for long enough - we seem to be having our very own Monsoon season in Scotland at the moment! Flooded roads, thunder storms and even some hail stones! I'd mistakenly thought we were into June!

Sharon said...

I'm going to give it a try, since there is a nice, long timeline for completion.

vivien said...

Jean, Julie and Sharon - great :>)

All you need to do is leave the address from the top bar in your comment Jean and I'll simply copy it to the blog post I do and make it link to your blog. You simply double click on the title of the post you do, so that the address line at the top leads directly to the post, rather than simply to your blog (later people wouldn't find your trees then)


sorry about the Scottish monsoon! I lived for a while on the east coast and went to school at Forres - the mountains picked up the worst of the rain before it got to us :>)

Robyn said...

I'm very excited about this challenge, Vivien but have started with very quick sketches. I need to building up to a real drawing or painting. But I will!
Early Tree Sketches

Kelly Marszycki said...

Vivian -- Your pollarded trees are unnervingly beautiful -- very anthropomorphic! I'd like to join in?

Carolann said...

Yes, trees are always my favourites

vivien said...

Great start Robyn, I'm so glad you are joining in :>)

Kelly and Carolann you are very welcome :>)

Cathy Gatland said...

I'm keen to join in Vivien, but am up to my ears until next week, but there'll still be time after that - will check in later!

vivien said...

Cathy, that's fine - it runs until the end of July :>)

EH said...

Great topic. I look foward to all those trees. I probably will have some until end July too.

dinahmow said...

Well,well...trees are my current "do it again" task. So, yes, I'm in.It'll be like Palm Sunday!

vivien said...

Dinah and EH great :>)

I see you do monoprints EH - I like doing them too,

Jeanette said...

http://illustratedlife.blogspot.com/2009/06/trees-and-sketching.html

Robyn said...

Here's another, Vivien. Still not a lot of detail, I'm afraid.
Tree No3

Vivien, do you want us to link to this post every time we post a new tree or is that too much?:

vivien said...

Jeanette and Robyn - great start :>)


yes Robyn - I just keep adding the links to my draft post as we go so I don't miss anyone

At the end those who have done a series may find it better to sum them up into one post on their blog, if they want, and I can link to that. But I think it's nice to keep adding the links here in the meantime :>)

Jean Spitzer said...

Here's the page with the tree sketch (one so far):

http://jeanspaintings.blogspot.com/2009/06/tree-sketches.html

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

I'll do some trees too, vivien! I'm on my way to our moubtain house for the rest of the summer...will check in later with more trees, but for now, here are trees I did last year, don't know if it counts if it is done last year...you can decide. Will do more at coin Perdu. Great idea!

http://africantapestry.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/trees-in-ink/

(Now why can't I get this link direct?? It normally works?) sorry Vivien.

Ronell

Pat said...

OK, I did my trees and I am better for it.

Jo Reimer said...

I'm in. In my last post on my own blog I stated that trees would be my main interest for awhile so your challenge fits me to a T.

Charlene Brown said...

Great idea, Vivien! Here’s my entry for the tree challenge: http://sketchercise.ning.com/photo/arbutus-at-lime-bay?context=latest

Robyn said...

I've added an Apricot Tree, Vivien. I'm really enjoying this challenge :)

Tree No 4

Jeanette said...

Here's the second tree that I've drawn, an old larch in my garden and the view of trees around my pond. I think I'll try some in oils next.

http://illustratedlife.blogspot.com/2009/06/old-larch.html

http://illustratedlife.blogspot.com/2009/06/pond.html

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Vivian, please count me in. I will make one blog post in week or so that contains my tree works. Such a lovely way to celebrate these beautiful beings :)

vivien said...

GReat Pam :>)


and apricot tree - wow to me in the Uk that's nicely exotic Robyn :>)

Jeanette and Robyn I've listed them on the draft post and now I'm off to take a look :>)

Charlene Brown said...

Here's a better URL for my entry in your tree challenge: http://weeklypaintingworth1150words.blogspot.com/2009/06/westsong-walkway.html

vivien said...

changed :>)

EH said...

Hi Vivien, now I understand that links should be submitted here.

Group of trees

vivien said...

oh that's a beautiful studay :>)

It will be listed in the draft post, ready to publish at the end of July :>)

Jeanette said...

Here's another one. See what you've started? :) http://illustratedlife.blogspot.com/2009/06/trees-in-bulk.html

Donald Maier said...

I just answered your post on pleinairartists.ning.com about the tree challenge... I did not see your blog on the blog page where I expected to see it... so here I am. Can't see anywhere to post a photo here.
Don Maier

vivien said...

Hi Don :>) thanks for visiting


The idea is to post images on the Plein Air Thread - or your own blog or Flickr - and then post a link here in the comments.

At the end of the month I'm going to do a post with links to all the participants blogs/sites/wherever they posted :>)

I did this with skies previously and it was fun.

kingdomsense said...

Trees are one of my favorite subjects.

http://marissalminsgallery.com/marissalmins3_op_800x798_op_580x5781.jpg

Maris Salmins

kingdomsense said...

Trees are one of my favorite subjects.

http://marissalminsgallery.com/marissalmins3_op_800x798_op_580x5781.jpg

Maris Salmins

Maree said...

Hi Vivien, I would love to participate! Do we come back and post more links? Here's my link : http://artandcreativity-maree.blogspot.com/2009/06/daily-matters-everglade.html

vivien said...

Maris and Maree - great :>) - your links have been added to the draft post.

Charlene Brown said...

Hi Vivien, It's me again, with another address for my entry in the tree challenge -- same old tree, but I've changed the URL of my blog. Now it's at http://charlenebrownpainting.blogspot.com/2009/06/westsong-walkway.html

vivien said...

done :>)

Terry said...

I'm on it - and I'm going to get my girlfriend on it! Thanks, Terry

Kelly Marszycki said...

Vivian -- Here's my effort for the Tree Challenge --

http://aestheticwork.blogspot.com/2009/07/tree-as-symbol-of-tenacity.html

Thanks again for the push! Definitely need to do more trees --

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Hi Vivien,
Here is a link to my trees! Thanks again for offering a great challenge :)
http://www.creatingnaturejournals.com/2009/07/for-love-of-trees.html

Can you tell I love these beings? :)

vivien said...

duly added :>)

Jeanette said...

Here's another tree - a birch in my garden. http://illustratedlife.blogspot.com/2009/07/birch-pour.html

Sharon said...

I've posted my first studies here:

http://flatsoundofwoodenclogs.blogspot.com/

vivien said...

added :>)

Cathy Gatland said...

Vivien, I forgot about coming back to leave a link - thanks for the reminder - I've been sketching trees at every opportunity! They are over here... http://asketchintime.blogspot.com/search/label/trees