Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A brown beech tree in springtime

A few months ago I became member of IWS Holland. That is a nice group of watercolourists, both amateurs like me and professionals are in it. A few times each year a meeting is organised in a beautiful spot so that we can meet, talk and paint together.
Last time we met in the town of Vleuten (in The Netherlands) where a nice little church stands surrounded by large trees. On the side of the churchyard is a huge brown beech tree. As it was springtime, the foliage was brightly coloured and not as full and dark as it will be in summer. The sun was shining brightly so the light yellow and red shades of the young leaves were attracting my attention.
I made a sketch and some reference pictures, selected a piece of paper and started to paint. Somehow my tree was not what I wanted it to be and some of the other members of IWS Holland were giving me valuable advise. My painting of that day ended up as an autumn scene and not completely mine as I was given a demonstration of how to paint an interesting tree. 
Of course I am very grateful for the demonstration and with all that fresh in my memory I started another painting the next day. This time I worked from one of my reference pictures and really tried to make a tree in springtime.
Brown beech trees look like autumn in this time of the year: bright yellow and red colours instead of the more usual green leaves. The colours of the leaves will turn to a reddish brown very soon and stay like that all summer.

I have discovered that a tree in springtime is not an easy subject. The sun shone through the leaves, giving lots of colour but not much shadows, as the foliage is not very close yet. The trunk of the tree and the large lower branches are still very visible and that makes it hard work to suggest volume in the foliage.

This painting may be not one of my best, but I will continue painting trees in all seasons, untill I have mastered my subject.

More information about this watercolour painting (size, materials used, etc) can be found at my website www.jannekesatelier.webs.com 

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