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How do you paint a loose tree that has many sky holes?


(Ken Rice) #1

I like nothing better than paintings by Carl Marine and Colley Whisson (just two of my favourites). For me they paint so loose, like they have been painted with one brush stroke. The eye never has to labour to interpret their paintings. The looseness of their style creates great unity in their art which is so important for the over all success of a painting I think. This is the way that I’m trying to paint with limited good results.

I’ve always had a less is more approach to painting, but getting the looseness into certain things is proving to be difficult for me at the moment. I’m struggling a tad with a tree. It’s a single tree where the leaf mass only takes about 50% of the trees shape; so the background sky, along with many small branches, take up the other 50%. There is a lot of distracting contrast in the sky areas with the small branches crisscrossing through the light blue sky.

Have you ever had to paint a loose tree with this 50 50 leaf mass? How did you simplify it and still get a loose (labourless) looking tree with a large amount of sky and branches to read well?


(Andrea Jeris) #2

Squint your eyes way down to lose half of that detail. Look for the big shapes first. Viewers don’t need a lot of detail to know it’s a tree. Lose some edges into the sky. Hope that helps.


(Linda McCoy) #3

Hi Ken, there are a couple of DPW challenges that might give you some insight: The “Give a tree it’s gesture challenge.” February 7, 2015 and the “Skyhole challenge,” August 23, 2014.


(Ken Rice) #4

Thank you both for your suggestions…good advice.

Shortly after writing my post I discovered the following links - good examples of loose painting with sky holes.:


Linda, I saw the “Give a tree it’s gesture challenge” but not the “Sky hole challenge”…I’ll have a go at one or the other and see how my painting turns out - thanks.


(Mary Ellen Koser) #5

I have not mastered trees yet but I agree with you about Carol Marine’s loose style.