COMPOSITION AND MATERIALS
I wanted to compose the scene to fit into an oval style frame, the tree being the center of interest. I started by sketching a rough outline of of frame opening and then sketched the tree on a sloped hill inside of it. In the distance would be a large plain and mountains would make up the horizon.
- Support: Pre-Stretched & Mounted Medium Textured Cotton Canvas (Acrylic Primed)
- Size: 8 x 10 inch
Winsor & Newton 'Artist Oils' Professional Grade Oil Paints
(Ivory Black, Titanium White, French Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, and Raw Umber)
- Finish: Winsor & Newton Dammar varnish
STEP-BY-STEP OIL PAINTING
Day 1 / Hour 1
Here is the initial sketch for the painting.
Day 1 / Hour 4
Sky and clouds added first. These clouds were referenced from a photograph taken by my wife Jennifer. I blocked in the land features: Sloped hill, large plain, and distant mountains.
Day 1 / Hour 5
While the foreground paint was still wet I began to add details to the land features. I laid in a rough outline of the tree shadow.
Day 1 / Hour 6
More details to the fields. I wanted a second area of interest on the plains and you can make out a group of trees on the middle right.
Day 2 / Hour 7
After a few days of drying I was ready to begin adding the tree. I usually wait for the paint to dry a little before adding my main features, in this case the cork tree. I started by adding the trunk and some branches. I used a very dark base at this point because I plan to add my highlights later. I also added some highlights to the foreground, bringing out some small plants and grasses. The group of trees on the plain are detailed and shadowed.
Day 2 / Hour 8
I painted the outline of the cork tree. (Note: I painted the entire sky beforehand because I wanted to try and make this tree without having to go back and add light holes later.
Day 2 / Hour 9
Carefully following the reference engraving of the cork tree I started blocking on the bulk of the tree leaves. I used a dark green for this because my intention is to build up the tree in layers from farthest to closest. I will add the highlights as a final layer.
Day 2 / Hour 10
Once I had the leaves blocked in I painted the branches. I was careful to taper them as they extended toward the outer part of the tree. Near the outermost area they literally disappear.
Day 3 / Hour 12
Now I added my first layer of highlights using a brighter green to capture the suns rays on the leaves. I also added some more highlights to the foreground improve the balance between the tree and grassy hill. The shadow under the tree also takes on better definition.
Day 3 / Hour 12
As a last layer on the tree I added some darker areas back in. I felt the tree top was too bright. I made a pass over the hill to further highlight the grasses and tree shadow.
Day 4 / Hour 15
Now for the final touches. I added more shadow back into the leaves of the tree to give a greater sense of light coming straight down from the top. The leaves on the underside or shadowed for better effect. Lastly I added highlight across the hill.