Detailed Watercolor Trees

and the Process Behind Them

Have you ever looked up at the sky and made shapes with the clouds? When I go out into nature, I look at the bark and shapes of trees and form images with my mind. I am fascinated by the lines and intricate details in trees. I look at the tree as a whole image and then take photographs so I can paint from them at a later time. I carry a small sketchbook with me on every hike in case I am inspired and want to remember a particular section. As I take the photograph, I make sure to get at least 10 close up photos of certain areas to remember the texture and color of the bark. When the hike is over, I head home, relax, and then start a painting later in the day or following day. 

Painting from a device like my phone is sometimes nice because I can zoom in on aspects of the trees that I admire. However, I prefer painting from a photograph that I can hold in my hand or prop upright to stare at for hours. The larger tree paintings take 80+ hours to complete so I can be staring at these photos for months. The lines in the tree do change as I paint them and some days I use macro details and other micro. The painting usually turns out somewhat like the photograph and sometimes a section of the photograph enlarged. The colors vary from the photograph, what I saw in nature, and what I have envisioned in my mind. I love how my paintings vary day to day and colors can change according to my mood of the day. Being an artist, I truly find it fascinating that my mood can affect my work of art dramatically.

I try to keep the painting as close as possible to the original image, photograph, or sketch but sometimes, it does take on a life of its own. The moment where the control goes from myself to the paintbrush is remarkable. I use a size zero paintbrush from Windsor and Newton along with their professional watercolor paints. I find that a size zero or 2/0 are the best to use for fine details in the tree bark as well as color variations and a pointillism technique. I find fallen trees the most fascinating because I can see part of their root system and weathering from the elements.

My favorite places to find these trees in Las Vegas are at Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston, Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead Recreation area. My husband and I have been frequently hiking around Lake Mead Recreation Area every morning. The rock formations on these hikes are beautiful and the trees on the hikes are smaller than other places in the desert, yet still amazing to see. Most people look upon my tree paintings and see images that I did not intentionally place in the painting. I love hearing about what everyone sees in my work. Please send me an email, or write a review under one of the paintings with what you see. Thank you for reading and appreciating my work with trees.