Bee Morrison has followed her excellent little book on flowers with one on the much less extensively covered subject of trees. Very few people set out to paint a tree as a subject in its own right, but they’re an essential element of any landscape. Get them wrong, however small they appear, and everything else will follow and your finished result will always fail.
If you’ve ever watched an instructional DVD, the chances are the artist has their own trick way of painting trees: look, you just do this, this and this and it’s a convincing-looking arboricus genericus. Start including woodlands or copses, or just a prominent hedgerow tree, however, and you also need to be aware of the basic shapes of oaks, ashes and elms at least. And then, of course, they all change their outlines in the different seasons from bare branches to hints of green shoots to the fully-dressed appearance of summer and the dying fall of autumn.
All this sounds very scientific and botanical, but the thing is that your viewers all know what a tree looks like. They may not be able to tell you anything about it, but they’ll sure as hell know if you’ve got even the tiniest detail wrong! So, does this mean you’d better give up landscape painting until you’ve been on a course? Well no because, as I hinted at the beginning, the tree isn’t your main subject. All you really need to know is the basic shapes and a few ways to get them right and looking realistic. Thankfully, this is largely a matter of brushwork, hence the title of the book.
Bee packs an enormous amount into 40 pages and gives you nice, large and clear illustrations, with the words kept to a minimum, so you really won’t have trouble following her or, probably, think that you ever need to buy another book on trees.