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How to Paint a Realistic Tree

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Paint Colors for Trees
Colors for Tree Painting

Colors used in this tree painting demo: titanium white (PW6), raw umber (PBr7), red iron oxide (PR101), Prussian blue (PB27), yellow oxide (PY42). Brush: Raphael Mixacryl, short flat, size 8.

Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

To get realistic colors on a tree, you're going to need more than a tube of brown and green. Not only do leaves differ in color through age, but shadows within the tree and sunlight falling on it change the green too. At the very least, add a yellow and blue to your tube of brown and green, to create lighter and darker tones. Adding white will, obviously, also increase the range of colors and tones.

If your mixed colors are coming out too saturated and bright, try using earth colors such as yellow oxide or yellow ochre, rather than a bright yellow such as cadmium yellow. Experiment with mixing every blue you've got with every yellow you've got, to see which mixture(s) you like the best.

Once you've got your paints ready, it's time to paint the background...

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