Notes From My Tree Journal
Painting Bark Texture in Trees
For me, the secret to painting bark is to minimize it. Hitting the highlights and darkest values and texturizing is a better look than painstaking reproduction of the bark. There is a fake look to bark that is too carefully rendered.
Light becomes very important in painting tree bark. It tips the edges in places and is not always consistent, often jumping around the tree as shafts and filtered light strike the surface. There is often a halo effect on the dark side of the tree as well with faint light on the edges. Spend some time carefully observing the trunks of various trees on location before you begin to practice painting bark.
Here are some bark colors I use when painting tree limbs and trunks:
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Medium Yellow