MacDonnell Island Trees Process.

Here is the process I went through for my MacDonnell Island Tree’s Painting. I did this Painting in Late September/ Early November 2018.  This was a large painting for me at 24″x18″. Overall I am very satisfied with how it turned out and really like the texture of the grass, and how I added reds, blues and purples for more interest. It took a total of 12 hours to complete which is quite fast for me, especially with a painting this size.

I started with a photo I took late last summer. I really liked the evening lighting in this photo, as well as the shadows cast along the gravel road.

Here are 2 rough drawings I did before I completed the painting.

I started the painting with a drawing which I then transferred to canvas by putting graphite on the back of the paper and pressing it into the canvas. I laid out a grid on the paper to help position the trees properly, and took great effort to not make the tree trunks too thick. When looking at my reference it was hard to see the tree trunks in a lot of places, so I had to estimate where they were.

This photo of the painting was taken 5 hours into it, you can see it is still quite bright, and not quite detailed enough. I spent a lot of time trying to define the trees and added subtle hints of reds and purples while being careful not to fill the sky holes up. On the far edge of the painting you can see a road on the edge of the water which submerges in the man made lake, but it kind of looks like a beach, and draws the eyes towards the tall poplar trees, so I thought I would leave it in.

Here is the finished painting at 12 hours in. I spent considerably more time working on the grass, and adding more dimension to the trees, I also worked on the road and the shadow cast over the road to create a gravel effect. I added some yellow and purple to the clouds to make them more interesting. I also added sun rays, and darkened my sky so it would not be too boring. One of the last things I did was to adjust the top left hand corner on the tall tree to the left, to make it look more natural and more organic looking.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please feel free to leave a comment.

8 thoughts on “MacDonnell Island Trees Process.

  1. Shawn, I always enjoy your step-by-step descriptions of your process. Thanks for the deails. Fascinating, and excellent results. Light becomes a medium of its own as you work.


  2. These are so wonderful!!! I even flipped over the rough sketch. What a fantastic showing it would be to frame/hang them all together. They all stand on their own to me….and the finished project is so beautiful. Cheers! 🙂


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