Foreground gum trees

Painting the Foreground GumTrees

I will now give a description of how to paint the main gum trees. Use weaker and slightly duller mixes for the more distant Eucalyptus trees.

When painting gum tree trunks I start by painting a very weak mix of French Ultramarine and Alizarin Crimson (about the strength of weak Chinese tea, and leaning towards the blue) over the main trunks and branches of each tree. I leave parts of the trunk unpainted on the side facing the sunlight.  You can see this in the image above – it acts as a highlight.

While this is still wet I drop in a slightly stronger (thicker) mixture of Cad Orange on the sunlit side and Burnt Sienna on the shadow sides of the trunks.  The Cad Orange mixture has to be quite weak so that it remains very transparent and watery.

Painting foreground gum trees with watercolors
Painting foreground gum trees with watercolors

Now add even thicker mixes of Burnt Sienna with some French Ultramarine to create the different splotches of color that can appear on these tree trunks. As you add these thicker mixes place those into smaller segments of already colored areas. You are trying to create a random and interesting spread of colors and textures on the trunk.

At the bottom of the gum tree trunk there should be a bead of paint that would have formed. With the tip of your brush drag this to either side of the trunk to give the impression of roots which anchor it to the ground.

The next step is to paint the foliage. If you have been quick enough some parts of the trunk will still be a little wet and will give you a range of soft textures when you paint over them with your foliage paint.

To paint the foliage of my gum trees I start by creating three mixes made up of Cobalt Turquoise, Raw Umber, Aureolin, and French Ultramarine. I make one my lightest tone, with very little or no French Ultramarine included. I then mix a stronger and darker tone utilising all four colors and finally a dark tone with just Raw Umber and French Ultramarine.

Using the side of my round brush (the point does not touch the paper) I start by painting the lighter tone to create the overall foliage pattern and then add more of the stronger tones in their turn keeping an eye on the tonal pattern I am trying to create and the direction of the light.

Before the foliage is dry I paint in the darker thin branches which you can see in the image above.

I have produced a more detailed demonstration on how to paint gum trees but the above should be enough for you to get by for now.

Continue to: Watercolor Landscape Painting Demonstration Step 5