Show Light And Form On A Simple Tree

Simple Way To Paint Light and Form

This lesson shows how to quickly show light falling on a simple tree – drawn starting with simple cylinder shapes.  It is one of four lessons about drawing cylinders and using them to create more complex subjects. The other three lessons in the series are listed at the bottom of the page.


Light and Form On A Simple Tree In Watercolor

Trees are common subjects for landscape painting.  They are not difficult to draw,  but come to life when painted – especially when we reveal their curving fluid form.

This is best done by showing a bit of direct light and a great deal of the ‘shady side’ of the tree.

This lesson shows how to start with a wet wash and adding different color and value to quickly and easily show the form of a tree.

The tree itself was drawn in this lesson, using simple cylinder shapes connected together for the underlying form.  In fact, this is the forth in a series of lessons about the cylinder shape, how to paint it and then, how to use cylinders to create this tree.  The other three lessons are found at the bottom of this page.

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 – Large, Medium and Small Rounds
  • Colors – Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue
  • Watercolor paper – preferably Arches 140lb Cold Press

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Related Lessons

Cylinder To Tree Series


How To Paint Trees