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How To Paint A Tree With Acrylic Paints

Updated on February 17, 2011

Steps To Painting A Tree

How To Paint A Tree With Acrylic Paints

Painting trees can be a delightful experience. It is soothing to see this wonderful creation of nature. There are many options available when painting. You can find a multitude of references and tutorials online on how to paint trees. You can find interactive tutorials on Youtube. Most of the tutorials follow similar instructions and techniques. Bob Ross offers very good instructions on how to paint pine trees. My favorite sites on painting trees are:

How To Paint A Tree

Fall Acrylic Painting Demo


1) Start by coming up with ideas on how you want your tree to appear. You can use a photo as a reference or use your imagination.

2) Sketch an outline of your painting. Add a horizon line if you plan to add a skyline. Paint the background, first. The background usually consists of the sky, sunset, mountains, valleys, grass etc. Allow the background to dry.

4) Start painting the base of the trunk with and move your way upwards to the branches. Use a dark color such as some assortments of dark browns, a medium sized brush (size 4 to 6) and you can even use a palette knife if you wish. Note that you have the option of choosing whatever trunk you would like. Some trees (such as those of coniferous trees) have trunks that rise upward in a straight line and have branches stemming out at nearly a 90 degree angle. Other trees (such as deciduous trees) have trunks that are curved, split off or branch off.

5) When you are painting the branches, use a narrower brush. However, use the same type of stroke used to create the trunk to create the branches. Make sure the widest stroke is against the trunk. The branches should taper the farther away from the trunk you get. It is not necessary to paint all the branches in a picture. It is enough to paint only the branches you see. .

6) Use a small brush to add texture to the trunk. Use lighter colors (such as lighter browns) and dab in some details. Make sure the paint blends into the trunk

7) Use a pointed medium sized brush to add in the leaves or pine needles. Use quick brush strokes. Also, make sure you are not using a flat color to paint leaves. Use a mixture of yellows and browns. These colors will act as a base, before you add the highlights.

8) Highlight the leaves with a lighter green or a yellowish green. The colors should be bright and stand out. Use a small pointed brush and paint only where the sun is shining. Apply quick brush strokes.

9) Add shadows with a darker green or a brown on the side where the sun is not shining. Use a small pointed brush.

10) Use a flat brush to add a shadow at the base of the trunk. The shadow should be on the other side of the sun. The shadow should be darker than the grass, mud or dirt around it.

11) Add in missing details, such as pine cones, animals and nests.

How To Paint A Tree With Acrylic Paints

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    • profile image

      jacksonjacob620 4 years ago

      @ carol7777 I used to face difficulty with mixing subtle colors for landscapes.

      A tutorial - helped me to add fine details to trees in my landscapes. I think this will help others as well.

    • profile image

      jared benjamin jones. 4 years ago


    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Hello LightRay16: Found this article to be excellent. I paint (struggingly) with acrylics. I love the dry fast part, however there are many challenges. I appreciate the tips and will continue to follow you. I am a new writer on HubPages.

    • profile image

      e-k 5 years ago

      Thanks for good information

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • profile image

      Bob 6 years ago


    • cangetthere profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from New Zealand

      High thanks for the tips. I always want to paint when I see a good tree.Love the bark.