Paint A Spring Landscape And Sycamore Tree
The Sycamore tree is a large and beautiful tree. It has unusual bark and interesting branches. It’s a little tricky to draw and paint. We’ll make it easy in this lesson. For added practice, we’ll plant our Sycamore along a road in a country scene, painted to look like early spring.
The Sycamore Tree
Sycamore trees are large and lovely trees. Usually, they are massive in size with a single, large trunk that tapers quickly into the canopy. Its bark is unusual – uniformly dark at the base of the trunk and changing to a mottled light, creamy tan color. The branches of the Sycamore grow out of the trunk at sharp angles. They also taper quickly and change direction also at sharp angles as they grow away from the trunk. The branches of the sycamore can take crazy, angular twists as they grow. Getting these to look right means a careful drawing and careful painting as well.
It is not really an unusual tree – they can be found in many places – but it is an unusual looking tree. It is also dramatic and fun to paint.
Our Painting Scene
This lesson really focuses on painting the sycamore tree. But, we’ll plant it in an early spring landscape so that we can show off it’s shape and beautiful, unique structure.
Early spring is not a popular painting subject. It is a real transitional time – some bits of winter hang on while spring emerges. Painting the spring landscape requires balancing aspects of winter with the subtle signs of transition to a warmer season. Much of that means adding some color to what is essentially a winter palette.
This lesson steps through creating a spring landscape with the additional color notes and particular details that make it look like spring instead of winter.
Note On The Drawing Layout
The drawing for this painting is simple and can be traced or drawn free-hand. You’ll see that the lines on my drawing layout are fairly dark so that you can see them on the screen. But, I recommend drawing them lightly since we will be using mostly light colors and values in this painting. It isn’t a big problem if the pencil lines show through a watercolor painting, but sometimes they are distracting.
What you’ll need
- Brushes – 1 1/2″ Flat, 1/4″ Flat, Medium Round, Small Round, and Cotman #3 Rigger .
- Colors – Winsor Newton Perm. Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Winsor Newton French Ultramarine Blue , Cobalt Blue, Aureolin Mix or Lemon Yellow
- Watercolor paper – preferably Arches 140lb Cold Press cut to about 7″ x 11″ or so