Friday, September 16, 2011

Painting Tree Bark

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:
Ivory Black
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Medium Yellow
Ultramarine Blue
Camium Orange
Yellow Ochre
Titanium White


  1. Thank you for this advice Linda! As a beginner painter (who also loves trees and nature), this is fabulous information. Regards, Kate

  2. Thank you Kate. Beginning painters often paint trunks and limbs a flat brown color. They often have grays, warm and cool, as well as purples, oranges and reds,particularly in late afternoon, as well as blues in them. Do a lot of experiments. That will help you.