Friday, September 30, 2011

Tree Portraits

Notes From My Tree Journal

Painting Tree Portraits
Most landscape painters paint trees en mass in a scene.  Doing a portrait of a tree means making the tree a star in the landscape. I love to paint portraits of special trees.

How do you give them the attention and respect that they deserve?  How do you place them in the composition to show them off to advantage?  What do you do with the other elements and trees in the scene?

I like to put them in a sweet spot of a composition. I will make sure that particular tree is featured.  I will push back other tree masses and make them less important in detail and color, graying down the color significantly so that my star tree stands out.  If it is a close up portrait of a single tree, I will place the tree slightly off center, so that it is slightly uneven in balance. I also like to pull tree trunks off the edge of the picture plane to create depth and drama.

I will intensify the contrast in the star, as well as the intensity of color detail, texture of the bark and so forth, in order to direct the viewer’s eye to my  "star" tree.

I will minimize the rest of the scene so as not to compete with my tree of interest.


  1. Linda,
    I researched painting spanish moss and found your site. Love your work. My family is from the panhandle. You capture it beautifully.

  2. Jan,
    You are so kind. I love the panhandle part of Floriuda, especially the Forgotten Coast between Carabelle and Mexico Beach. Wonderful!!