Painting Tips and Tricks – Painting a Palm Tree

Painting Tips and Tricks – Painting a Palm Tree

First and Foremost Tip for Painting a Palm Tree

Loosen up and Shake it Out!

Together, you and I will shake out the tension and make your painting space your NO FEAR ZONE! Keep in mind that it’s only paint. It doesn’t bite. It doesn’t talk back. It doesn’t charge you when you paint a stroke you don’t like. Keep in mind, you can always paint over it and try, try again!

Now, before you begin painting, close the door if you have too and do something to make yourself smile, feel comfortable and even feel silly. Your body will create endorphin’s that will honestly help your painting to come out better. Don’t skip this step!

I know what you’re thinking. It sounds stupid. But, honestly, you do this and you’re half way home.

Don’t know what to do to loosen up? Try doing the “Hokey Pokey” and “shake it all around!” This will definitely loosen you up and hopefully make you chuckle! Try putting on your favorite music and sing while you paint.

Are you smiling? Feeling loose and free yet? OK then, now we are ready to go on!

Let’s take a moment to get more specific about Painting a Palm Tree

Tips and Tricks when Painting a Palm Tree – Two Very Important Steps…

Observe! Observe! Observe!

And …

Practice! Practice! Practice!

You’ve heard the phrase “Location! Location! Location!” Well, when we paint its “Observe! Observe! Observe!” and “Practice! Practice! Practice!”

Ways to Observe for Painting a Palm Tree

If you have the opportunity to get out and observe the real thing, then do it. Take photos and really look at basic shapes, flow, texture, light, shadows and the multitude of colors that actually exist in nature. If you don’t have this opportunity, or if you just want to observe other types of palm trees, remember – Google Images is our friend! Here is a google image link of Palm Trees I used to study the shapes and observe palm trees.
When observing focus closely on the shape of a basic palm tree. Keep in mind, what you can visualize, you can paint. But, for this exercise, let’s keep it simple and look at the lines in clip art cartoons.

How to Paint a Palm Tree ,Chelmsford MA I Paint Today

Slight Bow (curve) in Trunk gives an illusion of less motion

painting a palm tree #ipainttoday

Wider Bow (curve) in trunk gives illusion of motion


Shape of a Palm Tree

The Trunk

Now I know that many palm trees have straight trunks. But, it’s usually more interesting to create the illusion of movement when Painting a Palm Tree. One step you can take toward accomplishing this is to bow or curve the trunk. It can be dramatic or slight. The more dramatic the bow or curve, the more illusion of movement in your painting. Let’s look at this in a very simplistic way.

Here are 2 clip art photos from Notice that the tree with a more dramatic curve gives the illusion of more motion. And, in both cases, the trunk is wider on the bottom than the top. So, to make life easier, we are going to press down harder with the fan brush at the bottom of the trunk. With any luck, and the ability to load the fan brush properly with paint, one swoop with the brush should create the shape of our entire trunk.

Oops! I’m getting ahead of myself. How to use the fan brush comes in a later blog…. Why didn’t you stop me?

Oh yeah, silly me. You’re not really sitting in front of me. Well, keep on the lookout. The blog on using a fan brush will be coming out in the next couple of weeks in another “Painting Tips and Tricks Blog.”

For now, let’s get back to looking at the shape of a palm tree for the purpose of painting. We looked at the trunk. Now, let’s look at the palm fronds.

The Palm Fronds

Look at the clip art again. Notice that none of the palm fronds are really growing out from the sky. There are no magical seeds in the air that grow palm fronds. We are not trying recreate a takeoff of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” All the fronds are growing from a central location coming from the trunk of the tree, usually near the top. All the palm fronds have a bow or curve in them. Notice this curve is gradual and curves toward the trunk whether or not the palm frond is at the top, side or bottom of the cluster.

I know in reality, we can find palm tree fronds that are straight but for the purpose of painting, use shapes that are most common in the minds of the viewers. When we bow or curve the palm fronds, we are adding to the illusion of movement in the palm tree.

Painting a Palm Tree – Proof is in the Practice!

Take a piece of paper and practice this. You don’t even need to use paint yet. Use crayons, markers, pencils, pastels or pens. It makes no difference. Create your own cartooned palm trees. Create one with very straight lines and another with curved lines. … See what I mean?

When you finally feel comfortable, have some photo references or maybe even a real tree in front of you, practice painting these shapes.

If you happen to be in my area, book a seat, register today for Saturday Night 8/29/15 at 7PM on I Paint Today’s calendar page and and join us in Merrimack Valley, Northwest of Boston in Chelmsford MA for this great paint party event Painting Palm Trees. You can reserve a seat today for only $22 and enjoy this featured painting of these “3 Nestled Palm Trees.” Download the step by step instruction Sheet and Instruction Sheet Image. Practice before you come and write down your questions so you don’t forget.
NESTLED PALM TREES- Instruction Sheet
NESTLED PALM TREES- Instruction Sheet image

Whether the palm tree fronds curve upward, downward or from the side, keep in mind, they all grow from the trunk. Therefore, when you paint in the major vein of the palm fronds, curve them slightly and make sure they all meet around a central location near the top of the trunk. Otherwise, you will have a beautifully designed star like blob at the top of your tree. It may or may not be pretty but in any event, probably not your desired outcome.

Just observe and practice a few times. Painting a Palm Tree is actually very easy once you’ve relaxed, observed and practiced.

Trust me, when I was first learning, I did it myself! So don’t be surprised or disappointed when and if it happens to you and you get that blob at the top of the trunk. My suggestion is that you laugh it off. Practice on paper first! And, Observe! Observe! Observe! Practice! Practice! Practice! And, if you get really fancy, you can even mix it up. Observe! Observe! Practice! Observe! Practice! Practice! Then, you’ll be ready to start Painting a Palm Tree

OK… Maybe I’m getting too silly now. But, I think you get the idea. Here are the pdf files you are more than welcome to download and use with step by step instructions and photos for creating this painting I call “3 Nestled Palm Trees.”

NESTLED PALM TREES- Instruction Sheet
NESTLED PALM TREES- Instruction Sheet image

Let me know how you like it and if you would like more of these instruction sheets. Take a look at my gallery page and let me know for which painting you would like instructions.

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