Tree Canopy painting – Cascade of leaves
A colourful watercolour, entitled Tree Canopy, I struggled to know what to call this painting at first. There are a lot of colourful Autumn leaves on the ground from the surrounding trees, but it was also the flow and movement of the leaves creating the canopy that I wanted to paint. It feels as though the leaves of the Tree Canopy are swaying, sweeping and dancing across the paper.
When out walking and sketching I am always looking for something that captures my eye. Sometimes I’ll paint exactly what I see in front of me, but with the, Tree Canopy painting, I chose to adapt my original sketches. I’ve tried to highlight the overall shape and canopy feel of the central tree, while still making it feel at home in its environment.
Painting all the variations of colours in leaves
When I first drew this layout I hadn’t realised just how many leaves there are. Also the colours of the leaves vary quite a lot, so I needed to concentrate while painting. I was so keen to get painting I forgot to take a photo of the initial pencil sketch, which I use as my guide when painting.
There are various hues of green and lots of half hidden leaves too. I had to keep painting layer on top of layer to get a depth of vibrant colour to the leaves. Each layer had to dry before I could paint again. Each leaf was individually painted, no broad watercolour washes were used.
Painting fine detail
Starting to paint more definition in the leaves and painting the carpet of Autumn leaves too. You can see how small the brushes are I use to paint. I can achieve fine detail with small brushes. I do need a steady hand and also I have to understand how much paint to apply to each leaf. Too much paint and I’ll have a blob of paint. Then the fine detail will be lost.
Watercolour paints are technically challenging and you need patience for the layers to dry before adding more layers. You also need to know how much paint to apply in the next layers, too much and you could remove the lower layers of watercolour paint.
Painting foreground and background leaves
Yet more watercolour layers are being added to the leaves. The most prominent leaves are the turquoise broad leaves on the main tree. They are swaying forwards out of the painting, therefore they will have more detail and definition than the other leaves. You can see the definition building in the leaves on the left, in the above image of the Tree Canopy work in progress image.
The background leaves have less definition, but different coloured leaves next to each other adds definition and detail, though less obvious, than the foreground leaves. The leaves in the background are also smaller.
Three primary transparent colours to create the palette mixes
Only three primary colours a red, a yellow and a blue were used to create all the palette watercolour mixes for the Tree Canopy painting. I use transparent watercolours, which is a watercolour technique known as pure watercolour. You can see the palette mixes in the image below.
A cascade of leaves fanning out above and vibrant autumn colours below, the Tree Canopy painting complete.