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Lesson > Bark - a close up

Copyright © Giselle Luske - 2001


A few easy steps for creating a "close up" painting of bark on a tree trunk,
Medium > Watercolour and Crayon

First wash - bark exercise



Draw some interesting movement of curled up bark -

If you like to use different colours later on, please do so,
be creative, make it your own tree,
it doesn't have to be a Blue Gum.


The first drawing can be done on any drawing paper.

Trace the completed drawing onto your watercolour paper.

The first wash > wet in wet is done for the tree.. see picture >>


I am using Turquoise Blue and Ultramarine

Art Demonstration - Bark


Dry your paper.


Continue by using a candle for bark effect and some crayons in different blue's and purples. see picture >>


Now start with the curled up bark.

I am using Raw Umber and Vandyke Brown.


Over the top of your previously applied candle wax, lay a light wash of mixed darker blues.


Place some shadows under the bark, add darker lines for cracks on the tree.

Art Demonstration - Bark



Tip: Take close up pictures tree trunks and bark.That will give you a better idea of how actually looks.


Have fun and think abstract..


Next, dry your paper again, and take some Olive Green, very diluted, and wash over the whole painting with uneven light brushstrokes. -

see picture >>


Dry painting again....


Art Demonstration - Bark



Now start concentrating on your dark bark, which at this moment still looks green.


Use dark mixtures of

Indian Red - Prussian Blue and Indian Red - Ultramarine.


Go for it, add some detail.

This is the step which may take you the longest.

see picture >>

Use mixtures of Vandyke Brown - Alizium Red or Vandyke Brown - Indian Red and bring in the dark tones for the bark.



inting tree barkPaint some parts wet on dry, and others wet on wet,
with lots of hard edges.


Have tissues on hand, to dip off some colour here and there. Use your own interpretation.


Always dry your painting in between, that way every glaze can be seen underneath.


Use your brown crayons to bring in a touch more texture onto your bark, and watercolour pencils are a great tool to add small details.


I used Sepia light and dark. A light final wash of Olive Green on your blue will make the individual parts of your painting look more combined... and complete.






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