Painting and Drawing Trees: observation

Sketching Trees in the Park. Rotring fountain pen in A4 sketchbook. Vivien Blackburn

This is an old sketch done in a local park. I was trying to describe the different types of trees and their distinctive shapes, character and foliage with just pen lines. Looking back at it I like the positive/negative changes with light trunks against shadowed foliage and dark trunks against light, changing back and forth. That poor Rotring pen hasn't been used in a long time, maybe I should dig it out. I really prefer less scratchy media.

I like trees - not quite as much as water but nearly!

Trees can have very distinct character, rather like people and I really dislike the generic woolly trees in some 'how to' books.

I've dug out some of the trees I've done over time - some, like this (done in '93) done some time ago and some more recent. They are in pen, pencil, charcoal, watercolour, oils, digital imagery, coloured pencil, ink, mixed media, acrylic, pastel, done in sketchbooks, on canvas .... a real mixture.

Are trees a subject that interests you?


laura said…
I love your trees! For me they are probably the most difficult subject, but also one of the most compelling,
Jean Spitzer said…
I'm fascinated by trees, and enjoyed your slideshow. I think your pastel of willows in aylesone meadows is stunning.
Charlene Brown said…
This slide show is brilliant! -- a real eye-opener for someone guilty of producing generic, 'fill-in-the-space' trees.
vivien said…
Thanks Laura and Jean and Charlene :>)

I love the generic-fill-in-the-space ! but no more????
annie said…
I love the slide show of the trees, and find it so useful that I can stop the motion to study a particular slide. I too adore trees, but I have everything to learn about recreating them. So, of course, I appreciate all the blogs that showcase them.
A great tree...this is one of my prjects. I also enjoy trees, and they are really difficult, but indispensible for plein air painting(decent plein air painting) and of course the only way is going out and just drawing them again and again.
Alex said…
Great work. I've been thinking a lot about nature drawing lately, specifically trees. It's often hard to get the right balance between adding in details from the leaves and branches without going insane and losing the overall shape. Your work here does that nicely and has given me a few things to think about in my own drawing.
Robyn Sinclair said…
I almost missed seeing this wonderful collection of trees, Vivien. While I've enjoyed some of them before it's wonderful to see the breadth and depth of your approach to trees - 'Woods' blew me away - not sure if it is 42 inches or cms, but gorgeous.
vivien said…
Thanks Annie, Ronell, Robyn and Alex :>)

it was 42 inches Robyn - one of the canvasses I'd made for the tall thin seascapes that I decided to use in a landscape format for the trees :>)

Yes Ronelle - it's getting out there and practising +++ I agree

maybe I should do a tree challenge like the sky one?
Robyn Sinclair said…
I'd be in a tree challenge, Vivien. I really do need to tackle more trees.
vivien said…
great Robyn :>)

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