Foliage Demonstration - Part 2

Part 1: Background Washes
Part 2 Foliage



Before we start, remember, the secret to successful watercolor trees is variation. Vary the color, tone, edges, trunk and branch spacing, branch angles - use variation at every opportunity.

This is the part where you hold your breath! Mix up a rich, dark green using Phthalo Blue, Burnt Sienna and Indian Yellow. Use plenty of pigment and just enough water to make it flow. Don't be afraid to make it too dark, as you apply and feather out the foliage it will become lighter


Apply the paint in a random, fractured shape to the dry paper. Use your 1" flat brush (or even a large worn out old bristle brush) Keep the brush almost parallel to the paper and use a scrubbing action with the side of the brush to get those rough, jagged edges - don't be tidy and don"t be careful.

While the paint is still wet, thoroughly wash your brush and dry it slightly. Run your damp brush once around some of the hard edges to soften them slightly


Here you can see the variation in the treatment of the edges. The feathered edge on the bottom of the main clump was made by running a damp brush softly over the wet hard edge and letting it bleed out. Aim for variation in the edges - hard, soft, sharp, lost. Variation in tone and color also keeps the foliage interesting.



The final step to turn these dark clumps into trees is to add some trunks and branches. Use the edge of your 1" brush for the trunks and your #2 rigger or liner brush for the finer branches. Some cool grey shadow in the foreground holds the eye in the painting. A mixture of Burnt Sienna and Alizarin splashed into the base of the trees adds interest and helps tie the colors in the foliage to the rest of the painting.

Click here for a larger version of the finished demo


Back to part 1


splashingPAINT DVD has detailed, video, step by step instruction for easily mastering  a variety of watercolor trees.

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