Those Evergreen Trees Are A Mystery.

Hi Darrell, Just having problems trying to figure out how to do pine trees. Any help? Have you done them? How do I mix up the paints, what colors and how do you approach painting them? Linda, desperate in the USA.

Hi Linda,

You might say I’ve done a few pine trees. I like to call them evergreen trees. Here’s my advice….


I use a #3 Bristle Fan Brush to paint the evergreen tree and a #5 or #10 palette knife to highlight the tree trunk.

I begin the tree by first loading up my fan brush with a dark green mixture (Sap Green, and Van Dyke brown or Burnt Umber, and Prussian Blue, and Alizarin Crimson). I’ll load the brush by pulling the bristles straight through the mixture 3 or 4 times on each side and then I’ll wiggle pull the bristles through a couple of times each side just to sharpen up the edge of the brush. This is called a ‘chisel’ edge.

Then I will place the brush edge vertically onto the canvas where I want the tree and slightly press up. Do not slide the bristle edge. Simply BEND the brush bristles up ever so slightly. All you want is a thin, slim line for where the tree trunk is to be. I’ll repeat this line until I have the entire tree trunk line completed.

Than using just the side of the brush, I’ll tap in the tree branches from the trunk to the outside. At the top of the tree, there will only be one or two taps. As I go down the tree, I make the branches longer (wider for the tree). Do this gradually. Tap a branch in on one side of the tree and then the other.

To highlight the tree trunk, I’ll mix up the tree bark color and with a palette knife just touch here or there going down the tree trunk line. Typically I use only one or two highlight touches a tree. Do not highlight all the way from the top to the bottom of the pine tree trunk.

To highlight the pine tree branches, I’ll simply add some medium (JUST A DROP OR TWO) to the brush and mix the highlight color and re-tap quickly the branches. REMEMBER this is thinned paint, so use light, sparingly touches. For a shadowlight, I will add blue and a touch of white to the highlight mixture and aqain, re-tap quickly the branches.

It’s that easy.