I love to paint trees.
Tall trees... small trees... young trees... old trees... all varieties... all seasons... all times of day... in fog... mid-day light... sunset... sunrise... even night time.
The ability to paint trees in Transparent Watercolor has been a basic skill set in many Watercolor painter's repertoire for a couple hundred years or so.
In my own case I learned how to paint in Transparent Watercolor by working from Ted Kautzky's now famous "Ways with Watercolor" book that my mom got for me on my 16th birthday.
But I soon was so enamored by Kautzky's style that I eventually bought every book he ever did. And it was his this book - Trees & Landscapes - shown here with the green cover, that I used for a long time as I developed and refined my imaging skills.
Sketching is my first effort to process my artistic observations. During my travels in the Himalayas I'd take every opportunity to try out subjects in my Artist Journal using watercolor.
Watercolor painters traditionally spend time actually studying trees and learning how to paint them. I refer to this as a "Species Specific" skill... where an artist learns enough about trees to be able to paint various species effectively. Kautzky often made trees the focal point of his paintings, as you see here in this painting below of fall light illuminating Maple Trees in New England.
Trees often came into focus in the paintings of John Singer Sargent. It is instructive to see how he'd often focus his skills on such complex subjects as the now famous "Palm Studies", shown here at bottom. It's as though he simply worked the challenge of such a complex and difficult observation of light, shade, design, and values. There's no particular focal point... such very complex brushwork capturing the play of light & form on this challenging subject.
In my Workshops I try to have at least an initial subject or focus... in this case... Trees. But in fact, whatever focus I am working with, it's always about unique magical skills that a watercolor painter can achieve painting with Transparent Watercolor on Rough Papers. This class training project below was done in about 15 minutes. And although it is a rather simple landscape with trees and vegetation... the lesson here was focused upon developing a unique Watercolor Skill I call "Merged Brushwork". And if you are wanting to paint better... more believable trees... in transparent watercolor, you simply must learn how to work with Merged Brushwork.