I’ve always found painting trees quite difficult.  Or should I say I’ve never had the patience to sit down and deeply study them.  So when this commission came through the door I was both glad and terrified. I do like a challenge though!
This was done from the client’s photographs.  The male and the dog were taken from different photos but in the same settings.  I loved the dappled shadows on this very famous Northern Ireland road called ‘The Dark Hedges’.  Not very dark on a day like this though…

The finished painting 24″x16″ pastel on velour


As I want a warm undertone I’m using the sandy coloured
velour.  Sometimes when I want a cooler dark undertone
I’ll use the grey.  It’s worth considering which shade of
paper is the best choice even when you do cover it mostly.
I painstakingly drew this out first on normal paper
and transferred to velour.  I employed the use of a grid
over the photo to give me some sense of verticals and
horizontals but it did take ages to get it onto the velour!


Starting with what is furthest away which is the background
landscape.  It also lets me see the outline of the branches now.


I can’t tell you how I felt at this point of the
painting knowing how long these took
and how many more there were to go!  But
at some point it became easier.  The hardest
part I always find is at the start when you’re
figuring out the palette.  Once you’ve got
those in front of you it’s a case of repeating.


Continuing down that left side


Using some pastel pencils at this point to help with the smaller details


Most of the trees were done using Unison pastels.  Although
they’re big, they wear down into useful sizes and you can
break them to get sharp edges.


I’ve done everything apart from the client and their dog who
feature in the picture.  I may even tape a sheet of A4 paper
onto the edge of the drawing board and cover the painting
where I might need to lean.  But it’s a delicate operation!


Small close up showing the colours in the trees

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