Turn A Quick Winter Tree Sketch Into A Painting

It’s easy to develop and old, unfinished sketch or abandoned work into a gem of a painting. This lesson shows how.

Hidden Potential

We all have drawers, cabinets and portfolios full of odd sketches, abandoned paintings, and even pieces of paper with unrecognizable marks.  At least some have the potential to become beautiful gems if not masterpieces!

In this lesson, we take a quick, two-minute sketch of two trees on a winter day and turn it into one of those gems.  The process involves filling out the composition in pencil and finishing in paint.

The painting is based on and earlier quick sketch lesson – “Fast and Loose Tree Trunks In Snow“. If you haven’t done that one, click the link and do that fast and easy lesson first.

Note On The Drawing Layout

The drawing for this painting is pretty simple.  The layout includes lines placed on the pomegranate to mark the location of an area of highlight and to show the edge where light meets the shade on the surface.  This is helpful, especially when working fast. An alternative is to develop these edges by observing the subject – either directly or from a photo.

What you’ll need

  • Brushes – Large, Medium and Small Rounds plus a rigger
  • Colors – Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlett, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna
  • Watercolor paper – preferably Arches 140lb Cold Press cut to about 7″ x 11″ or so

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Fast Sketching Tree Trunk In Snow.

This quick sketch exercise is the starting point for the lesson above.

You won’t likely create a masterpiece, but working fast forces you to focus on the essence of a subject and to let the medium sing.

This simple exercise is based on a scene outside my studio window. Jump in and give it a try, even if it takes longer than two minutes!

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