15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 14

Would you agree that I should change the title of these “Day” Challenges to “(Name of Subject) Project?”  I haven’t exactly followed the “15 Days”, perhaps we could consider them business working days, LOL!

For Day 14, I concentrated on Gum Trees painting two of them.  Trunks of this specimen have a smoother bark with fascinating colors (ranging from very light to very dark rust) – they are gorgeous, and since I’ve always wanted to paint them the challenge was a good opportunity.

Painting these trees was harder than what I thought – perhaps because they’re smaller paintings and in addition, the sky and background colors needed to be a bit darker in blue-gray so that the tree didn’t merge with the background.  Whether it was a sunny day or cloudy, the values played a prominent role in both these pieces.  I only realized this after I painted the first painting so I decided to try my hand on a second immediately afterward.

Gum Tree #2:  5×7 light gray tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  Instead of blending too much, I let the white specs show through in the paper, it seemed to help the scene w/distance.  I experimented first by masking in the tree trunk, this allowed me to work on the entire painting keeping the trunk area clean – once finished, the masking tape was peeled off and the tree was painted in.  In this painting the sky and background were layered with white first, then blues, cool-grays and warm-grays – this process was repeated several times to allow mid-range values so the tree trunk lights and darks stood out.  There is a straight-line fence painted in, barely there because of the white specs – so it’s giving the impression that helps with the distance.

Gum Tree #1:  9×6 painted on cream tinted Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  Here are the things I noticed and if I painted the scene again I’d do the following:  create more distinction between the sky and background than the tree trunk, emphasize more rust color in the pathway, too many lower branches – knocking a few off would give the tree more height, and finally the foreground green should be tamed – I couldn’t scrap off the green as it stained the paper.  Not my favorite painting, was completed yesterday.

I learned a lot from painting both these scenes that I’ll be able to apply to other landscapes.  Loosely used two photographs from my friend Ro Lovelock of pmp, who by the way is a fantastic artist.  Thanks for checking in .  .  .

Gum Tree 2, Day 14

Gum Tree 2, Day 14

Gum Tree 1, Day 14

Gum Tree 1, Day 14


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
This entry was posted in Challenges: Subject Matter Studies, Trees. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to 15 Day Challenge – Trees, Day 14

  1. violetski says:

    Fabulous paintings dear Mary! Love both of them and their soft colors❤️

  2. Wonderful gum trees! The first especially captures my imagination.

  3. restlessjo says:

    Love the fragility of these, Mary 🙂

  4. I love gum trees. These are both wonderful paintings and I love them as a pair.

  5. I do have to admit that I love Gum Tree 2 because of the close proximity of the tree where the bark treatment is beautifully done. The composition is just perfect, is very well balanced out, even do the trunk is quite substantial the branches leaning over to the opposite side is counter balancing your canvass. Love the colors of the landscape and the soft sky but my eyes are always back to the tree trunk, it is so beautiful is really the star of this “Gum Tree Project”!!!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Eva, thank you very much for your feedback and assessment. These Gum trees are really something else – it’s all about the bark, the lights and darks are fantastic. I’m hoping to paint a few more of these beautiful trees, now that I have a feel for them.

  6. They are both so well done, Mary. My favorite is the first one – that tree trunk is amazing! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Marina! Gum tree bark is really cool – I’ve never really examined them before, this was a great exercise. Happy Friday to you!

  7. I really like both of these. But I love the second one. That tree is so interesting. I am learning so much about pastels and landscapes from you. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Kerry, appreciate your comments – means a lot. I feel like I learn something new every time I paint with these oil pastels, perhaps I should be naming every painting “a challenge”, lol!

      • That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. I get part way through a painting and find that I’ve had some big breakthrough and end up going back to the first part of the painting to “fix” it. This has resulted in repainting way too much. I’ve decided to not do that anymore. Crazy.

  8. Painting for Joy says:

    The atmospheric perspective is great Mary! Both pieces are beautiful. Love your tree challenge. I wouldn’t change the name. ♥

  9. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve kept up to the challenge very well (it’s a challenge, after all, not a relay race!). It’s nice to see the process, and my-oh-my what you learned from #1 to #2! A gorgeous gum!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cynthia, thanks very much and appreciate your thoughts! I’ve not seen a gum tree in person, the bark is really fascinating because of it’s light and dark colors – makes how I treat working with light and background colors all the more important. I’d like to paint a few more of these gum trees.

  10. cindy knoke says:

    Tranquil and lovely~

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