Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to Paint an Olive Tree

Here is a question that was sent in recently:

"I am going to paint an olive tree in a salon and I need some advice on how to paint a twisted tree trunk, and what colors to use. Thanks Terri"

Hello Terri, I would be happy to help you.

Painting an olive tree is fairly easy. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow:

1. Gather Reference Pictures - This is key in preparing for any mural. A great place to find images is on the internet. Do a Google search. You will find every type of olive tree that you can think of from large to small, old to new.

2. Choose Colors - For this particular job, you will need to pick greens for the tree top and browns for the trunk. Pick 3 -4 different olive greens and 3-4 different browns - ranging from light to dark. The lighter will be for highlights and the darker will be for shading.

3. Draw an Outline - Draw an outline of the tree directly onto your wall with chalk or pencil. This will help you with placement and size, etc. The good thing is that you can erase and start over if need be. Don't start painting until you are completely satisfied.

4. Pick your Light Source - You will need to identify where your imaginary light source will be coming from, then you can paint highlights and shadows on the tree accordingly. For instance if the imaginary sun is shining on the top left of your tree then the top left of the tree will need to be painting with your lighter greens and maybe even a little yellow mixed in to emanate the sun.

5. Start Painting - Start with the tree trunk and branches first. The twisted tree trunk may be tricky, but if you have a reference pictures you can draw out the outline of the trunk first. Start painting the middle area of the twisted trunk with your medium brown. Then go in with your darker brown in between where the trunk twists. The shading will give it depth. Then finish off with your lighter brown to add the highlighting.

The top of the tree is where you can have fun and be creative with your brush strokes. Use all the different greens. Notice in the picture below how the leafy branches seem to be reaching out and up to the sky. Use a dry brush to fan out the edges. Don't overload your brush with paint. You almost want the leafy area to be transparent. Layer your colors and it will add dimension and depth.

I hope this has helped. The Artist, DAWN

Here are a few books that might help you further:


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Murals & Faux Finishing - Tips, Advice, and Ideas - Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008