How to Paint Tree BranchesPainting trees is a lot like climbing them: Fun and games ‘til you’re stuck in the branches because you can’t figure out your next move. In either situation, the worst thing you can do is overthink it.
Painting trees is pretty easy, even for beginners. Where a lot of beginners go astray is in trying to make their branches too perfect. Focusing on getting the exact right thickness and placement of each branch will end up making the whole tree look unrealistic.
If you know how to paint tree branches, you can paint any other thin line with ease. You’ll encounter thin lines a LOT outside of tree branches (lamp posts, feather edges, fence slats, grass blades, background stripes). Once you’ve gotten the technique down, you’ll be able to paint all those lines with ease.
And frankly, this is where a glass of wine or a nice vodka tonic helps out. A drink makes it easier to release the death-grip on your tiny paintbrush and to go with the flow.
To recap the video tutorial:
• Water the paint down until it’s the consistency of ink. This makes smooth lines that don’t need retracing.
• Press lightly. Natural lines come from easygoing brushstrokes.
• If your hand needs some stability, you can rest you wrist on the edge of the canvas (watch out for wet paint!).
• Fast movements give you straighter lines. Slow movements give you “branchier” lines. Most trees need some of both!
This is an important painting technique for the three paintings in our fall DIY series:
• August’s painting features abstract tree branches that reach across two mini canvases.
• September’s feather painting has countless thin, wispy lines.
• October’s big, bold, floral painting involves a prominent striped background.
If your branches come too branchy or your thin lines come out on the chunky side, it’s okay! Ask your studio artist what you can do to keep the painting on track. They’re artists themselves and know the tricks for turning mistakes into miracles!