Maryland Pastel Society events


May Challenge

"Paint a Tree"

So, I think we have arrived at the point where we can finally move outdoors and paint the beautiful flowers of May! These bursts of vibrant color won't hang around for long and before you know it we'll be searching our pastel boxes for the right shade of green! I still think we Mid-Atlantic painters know how to paint with our greens better than anyone!

Speaking of green…many people are becoming more environmentally conscious, something we artists have been promoting ever since we painted our very first landscape! Instead of planting a tree, for this challenge we'll be painting a tree.

The Challenge:

Locate a blossoming tree, shrub or grouping, or combination of  trees/shrubs and "PAINT THAT TREE."

The challenge is to show the roundness in the form of these plants and define how the light on the boughs of the tree or shrub helps to determine the three dimensional form. If you attended the last General Meeting, Lisa Sheppard and Mary Anne Warner discussed techniques to help you with this challenge.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you see through the tree to the flowers and leaves on the far side? If so, how does the value and color temperature compare to the areas that are closest to you?
  2. How do other plants that are not included in your center of interest compare to each other? Have you shown atmospheric perspective?
  3. Does the grouping seem interesting? Are the spaces between the trees varied? How about the overall shape of the trees…are they interesting, different heights from one another?
  4. Have you varied the size of the trunks of the trees? Is there a gestural feeling to the tree as if the wind were to blow the tree would bend and sway? (Trees each have their own character like people…like dancers).
  5. Have you shown a three-dimensional quality to the trunks and branches of the trees? Look for the reflected light from the ground on to the trunks and the shadows that are cast from the heavy boughs of the tree to help you describe the roundness.

Remember earlier this winter when we were painting bottles, bowls and balls? Well, now it's time to show how these basic forms exist in nature. Use the knowledge you have already demonstrated in prior still life subjects to interpret these subjects. Remember…paint from life…not from photos in these monthly challenges!

Have fun and remember to send me those beautiful tree paintings at the end of May,