Monday, January 31, 2011

A Tree Grows

It's wonderful to see all the projects and art class lessons this tutorial has inspired. Please keep sharing photos of your artworks with me (my email address is in my blogger profile) - I love seeing them!  If you share images online, please acknowledge me as the original artist and share a link to my blog.

Unfortunately, I do need to remind readers that the original "Tree and Stars" painting is protected by copyright (as are all my images), which means that the use of this tutorial to create artwork or craft projects for exhibition or sale, or to create art class lessons for profit, is not allowed without my consent.  


Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the appropriate use of my images.  If you are interested in discussing a licensing agreement to create a commercial product, send me an email or Facebook message and we can discuss it.  Thank you!



I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of dropping keys (even when we don't think we have any to drop - but that's another post) and about the lovely, generous souls who share the tutorials I appreciate so much. 

So... I thought it would be fun to post a step-by-step of my own.  There's nothing new or ground-breaking here, but I've had a few enquiries about how they are made and thought it would be fun to share.  I spent a couple of pleasant days painting on my verandah recently, creating this work for a group exhibition, and decided to document the process as I went.

1.  First I draw my image, and colour it in with oil pastels.  My favourites are Caran d'Ache neopastels, because they're beautifully soft and pigment rich, but there are many other great brands available.  The bits that will be painted in acrylics later I leave bare, because acrylic over oil pastel is against all the rules, and well... just doesn't work too well.

2.  Here's a close-up.  The initial colouring in isn't very neat, but that doesn't matter.


3.  I use an embossing tool (or the pointy end of a knitting needle when I can't find the embossing tool!) to scratch into the oil pastel.  I wipe the excess off the end of the tool as I go.

4.  Ahhh... lovely texture :)

5.  And again... just because.

6.  I make up a very watery watercolour mix.  My favourites are these Winsor & Newton ones, and as you can see I'm nearly out of the dark brown I like best.

7.  Sometimes I add a tiny bit of tube watercolour, because it seems to have more "stickability".

8.  I smother everything in a wash of watercolour.  Remember doing these kind of paintings at school?  Lots of fun!

9.  I pat away the excess paint.  Sometimes I do this step a few times to get the look I'm after.  Some of the watercolour soaks into the oil pastel, and even though the colours stay bright, they're also nicely grungy.

10.  I paint the background of the trunk and branches in acrylic.

11.  A second layer is added to create the "bark".  These concentric patterns are fiddly, but also strangely relaxing!

12.  Finished!  I now break that rule of no water based mediums over oil based ones, by adding the gold "lights" and the circles around them over the top of the oil pastel background.  It works fine in tiny areas, as I finish the piece off with several coats of spray matte picture varnish to protect it.  For works on canvas - heaps of coats are needed.


Tree and Stars  © Loretta Grayson  2011

Prints of this artwork and others in this style are available in my Etsy shop!

86 comments:

Petrina McDonald said...

oh i had been wondering about how you got the texture and grunginess factor on your trees!! thanks for the visual 'aha!' moment :)

Mim Smith Faro said...

Thanks for showing us your process! It's beautiful.

Stan Hughes said...

This has been very interesting. I did not know you could do that.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely stunning - thank you for sharing that with us; it's always lovely to see how someone got from nothing to something!

Sue said...

I love your paintings, so colourful, had spent ages trying to work out how you did them. thanks fro sharing your secret!
Can't wait to see those cranes fluttering about either. :o)

Trekky said...

Thanks for the tut. Going to have a try with putting watercolours over oil pastels now - thanks again!

Rett said...

Thank you everyone, and I'm happy the tutorial is interesting and useful for you :)

Crochet with Raymond said...

Wow Rett! that was so generous of you to share your beautiful secrets, I love your paintings so much and it is lovely to see how the evolve into the gorgeousness that they are!

Attic24 said...

oh my goodness, I just adore your art work so much, it makes me feel so FULL of happiness when i look at it!!! And seeing how you go about it just adds to the happiness somehow, that was a wonderfully inspired thing to do, thank you.

Now then, is there any chance you'll be making this latest tree into a print???? Its absolutely stunning, i'd love it to go alongside my backyard/stars print (hint hint, could it be a similar size??)

Waiting patiently for my print to arrive, it hasn't landed yet, I am mega excited ♥
love to you xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

mamaofpurl said...

Found your blog though ravelry - Your tree is absolutely stunning! LOVE the painting!

ashropshirelass said...

Hope you're okay after all the turmoil in Queensland- have been thinking about you and looking out for your next posting in your blog

nuria said...

wow!!
i love it!
it looks so great with all those colors!!

fantastic job!!

^___

DolceDreams said...

I am a big fan of your work and it is so interesting to read how you create these stunning pieces!
have a great weekend,
Nathalie

debra cooper said...

Absolutely fascinating!! Thank you so much for sharing your process. I love to learn about other artists processes and to see such beautiful step by step photos is a genuine thrill! And you are right. That texture is to die for. I am in even greater awe of your imagination and skill now!

Lisa L said...

Simply stunning!

Blue Llama said...

Very nice work!!

Renisa said...

Thank you very much for sharing! It is so inspiring, I want to start and paint at once...!

Gumnut said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I was one of those who asked and I am so happy to see this. I've learnt a lot.

And you have me drooling over your oil pastels. I think I need to upgrade mine :D

You have some wonderful wotk and I love it.

Liz
(toying with the idea of paper craning)

Dana Evans said...

I thought this was a quilt at first! Marvelous!

laurel said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process. The results are so beautiful.

Tricia said...

Wonderful tutorial - thanks for sharing - found you through a post on Book of Days Facebook. I am going to give this a try - at least some version of it! : )
Blessings,
Tricia

Ellen Wolters said...

I am totally in love with this wonderfull colorfull tree, want to give it a try, but have a few questions. At 11. you write about a second layer... A second layer of acrylic or waterbased. And: what do you mean with 'bark' (i am from the Netherlands :-S) And the last question: how do you get the lighter concentric circles? Scratched away with knitting needle? Hope you read this comment. And thanks for answering, love 'n greetz, Ellen Mail: eaj_wolters@hotmail.com

Connie said...

This is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

hello Rett,

First let me say thank you for the wonderful tutorial and that your work is BEAUTIFUL! I am a fledgling artist so have no idea what paper you used? I'm guessing that you used a ruler and pencil to make the grid yourself?

I can't wait to try to create a version of this!

Lorraine :)

Rett said...

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! Lorraine - to answer your question, yes I do use a ruler to create a grid. My squares usually measure 1 inch. I like 1 inch squares... they make it so easy to work out at a glance what the finished artwork measures ;)
I use a good quality, heavy (300gsm) watercolour paper for these artworks.
Hope that helps!

joséphine said...

C'est magnifique et j'admire beaucoup votre talent!
Merci pour ce pas à pas très intéressant.

Robin said...

When I first saw the tree on FB, I thought it was a fabric quilt. Instant love! Now I'm surprised, but not at all disappointed, to find it's a painting. Thanks so much for your tutorial. I too greatly appreciate when folks do that (and have done a few myself).

BTW, your blog header is gorgeous and compelling.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely amazing. As a fellow artist who teaches little artists, I am inspired in countless ways by your art. Love the quote, "You are the sky, everything else is just the weather." I think I am going to add that to my quote wall for my students!

Nadene said...

I have fallen in love with your art and crochet, your style and colors. My daughters & I really enjoyed doing your tutorial! I featured your blog, your amazing art and our tutorial experience on my blog Loretta Grayson Inspired Art. Thank you for being so generous with your art.

Sandra said...

I've just discovered your wonderful world of colour and your beautiful talent and have become a follower. Looking forward to seeing more of your art. I am so glad I came in today!

Abby said...

Hi there, just found this fab tutorial. Love the colours and the look and have been wanting to do a tree-based project for ages, plus love pastels too so this is great! Just a question - did you just use gold acrylic for the spots, and white for the circles around them? Thanks so much.

Mrs. Lindquist said...

How do you make the concentric circles for the bark after you've painted them with acrylics? Do you paint a lighter tint over the darker solid color? Or did you scratch it out?
Thanks!!!

Rett said...

Mrs Lindquist - the concentric circles are painted with a tiny brush... light acrylic over dark, or dark over light. Hope that helps! Loretta

pinke.paints said...

This is awesome. I'm always interested in new techniques. Glad I got curious on flickr and found this. Thanks. Pinke

Leanne said...

Your work is very beautiful. I am a quilter and your images totally appeal to me. Thank you for sharing your process.

Eulita said...

thanks for sharing with us. your colors are beautiful.

perla said...

thank you for generously sharing. your work is inspiring and beautiful PLUS your tutorial beckons me to create more artwork too. I pinned your tutorial to my pinterest board, Tree of Life. http://pinterest.com/pin/87538786479635525/

Thank you.

Mabuhay-LifeLightLove, Perla
www.newfilipina.com

Elizabeth said...

Wow! I love it! It was fun to see your process. Thank you for sharing.

xo -E

Patti said...

You just acquired a new fan!

Leah Mastilock said...

Thank you so much for sharing your secrets! I love these trees and am going to do them with my students in art class. Now I don't have to guess at how you make them!

Louise Tait said...

What a perfect process for the perfect creation thanks for sharing I know I get so caught up sometimes that you forget to document along the way

imka said...

I really like your description and the result. Thanks for sharing

Teresa said...

I just came across this tutorial on Pinterest. I am so excited to have found it. I homeschool and teach an art class to several groups of children in our enrichment co-op. I am going to use your tutorial in my older class to see what how the children use your techniques to create their own works of art. Can't wait to see what happens. I love your colorful creations.

mike l wallace jr said...

have professional photograph & sell prints . Could be your nest egg & make Original Priceless $$$ .

mare said...

Question: Was reading your tutorial and was wondering about the embossing tool you use to scratch into the oil pastel. I couldn't tell what purpose that serves. Are you using it to blend, or make the color thinner, or what? Thanks for you help!

Rett said...

Thanks for your question, Mare. I scratch into the oil pastel for a few reasons:
1. To remove the excess medium (oil pastels can be messy!)
2. To create a seamless blend between colours.
3. To create texture.
Hope that helps :)

Ann said...

I am so glad to see your process! When I first saw your work a year ago, I was anxious to see if I could find a way to adapt it into a warm/cool project for my sixth graders. We used burnished colored pencil. I agree with another comment, it would be wonderful to be able to purchase a print of your work.

Özge Başağaç said...

Dear Loretta, using your tutorial i have worked in my art journal. Here is the link to my blog post if you would like to take a look. Thank you very much for sharing.I love your art.
http://izmircadisi.blogspot.com.tr/2015/11/etsy-dukkan-ve-diger-maceralar-etsy.html

Elyse said...

Very beautiful! I will try this with my 10-12 years old students! I'm just wondering what kind of material you are using for the gold «lights»

Sydney Francis said...

Thank you very much for sharing your art and your process. I will show this tutorial to my 9th grade 2-d art and design students. But we will not be publishing or selling any work. Your work is lovely and inspiring. Because of your mastery of art and design, this make an excellent artwork to focus a lesson on contrast. Thank you so much.

smilentran said...

Hello, Iwas wondering how did you great the swirls?

Dr. Neha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Neha said...

Hi rett, first of all its astonishing and beautiful work. I appreciate you posting the tutorial here. I wanna do this one for my home will that be OK?
I'm not a professional painter so I'm worried a bit how will I end up with it I'm not sure. A question though at last you broke the rule added gold swirls and lights which color you used for it because in photos it appears yellow not golden..thanks for such a lovely work.

Rett said...

Hi Dr. Neha,
I used gold Atelier Interactive acrylic paint for the "stars". I used two shades of gold - pale gold and rich gold. Hope that helps and good luck!
Rett

Dr. Neha said...

Thank u so much!!

Karen said...

These are very beautiful & what a great explanation.Thank you for reminding me of techniques that I use with my students but have forgotten in my own work. And the reminder about the beauty of the grid! Lpvely work!

Valerie Meillaud said...

Just came across this jumping from link to link from a public school in Switzerland! I love it - and will aim to do something like this when I have my own class (still in training). Thank you for sharing - beautiful!!

Lisa Rushing said...

I want to try this activity with my 4th graders and their parents on parenting day. What can I do to make this activity be complete in about an hour or so? Crayons, Markers, etc???

Mary Dalzell said...

Beautiful Artwork....I am going to share your work with student and teachers for inspiration. Any post that I share will definitely be attributed to you!

Good man said...



Thank you for sharing valuable information.(Good Man)

SCR888

ACE333

จรัญ ประสงค์ทรัพย์ said...

Please keep updating this blog, it's been too long. Great post! We adore this blog and This information is very good.
สโบเบ็ต

Lsm99

Woodsworth Industries said...

nice post..Modular kitchen in chennai

MINK said...

Nice article thank you for sharing valuable information.

Lsm99
Gclub
ทางเข้า Gclub
ทางเข้า Lsm99

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please keep updating this blog, it's been too long. Great post! We adore this blog and This information is very good.

Lsm99

จีคลับ

ทางเข้า Gclub

ทางเข้า จีคลับ

Ros Manier-Pettit said...

I am so inspired! Thanks for sharing. As someone mentioned above, I initially thought this work was done in textiles and was inspired to try it...
I work in fabric and will be giving that medium a try with your careful tutorial's description!
I CAN'T WAIT!
Thank you for sharing....and inspiring so many!

Meena Raga said...

Nice Blog. Thank you sharing this information it is very useful to all.
interior designers in chennai
interior decorators in chennai
modular kitchen in chennai
modular kitchen chennai
hotel interior designers in chennai
corporate interior designers in chennai
office interior designers in chennai

john martin said...


mcafee.com/activate registered trademarks, company names, product names and brand names are the property of their respective owners, and mcafee.com/activate disclaims any ownership in such third-party marks. The use of any third party trademarks, logos, or brand names is for informational purposes only, and does not imply an endorsement by mfmcafee.com or vice versa or that such trademark owner has authorized mfmcafee.com to promote its products or services.


office.com/setup is an independent support and service provider for the most secure remote technical services for all Office products. Our independent support services offer an instant support for all software related errors in the devices, laptops, desktops and peripherals. We have no link or affiliation with any of the brand or third-party company as we independently offer support service for all the product errors you face while using the Office. If your product is under warranty, then you may also avail our support services for free from manufacturer’s official website office.com/setup.

mcafee.com/activate is an independent support and service provider for the most secure remote technical services for all norton products. Our independent support services offer an instant support for all software related errors in the devices, laptops, desktops and peripherals. We have no link or affiliation with any of the brand or third-party company as we independently offer support service for all the product errors you face while using the norton. If your product is under warranty, then you may also avail our support services for free from manufacturer’s official website norton.com/setup.

smith warner said...

mcafee.com/activate - McAfee Retail Card activation at www.mcafee.com/activate, enter your product key for Activate. Download & Install McAfee Antivirus Software.
Visit norton.com/setup to install fee or paid version of the software. Know how to install norton setup and Norton core to secure your Wi-Fi network.
office.com/setup - Download Setup, Redeem Product Key and Install Office on your computer from www.office.com/setup with Microsoft Account.

smith machinist said...

Hello, I'm Smith Machinist . If you are facing issues with any office product then you can visit my website.
norton.com/setup | Office.com/setup | McAfee.com/activate

afibiz said...

Your good knowledge and kindness in playing with all the pieces were very useful. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not encountered such a step like this.
interior designers in chennai

Bb said...

such a nice post thanks for sharing that good thing with us
modular kitchen in delhi
modular kitchen in noida
modular kitchen in gurgaon
modular kitchen manufacturers in delhi
modular kitchen manufacturers in gurgaon
modular kitchen in noida
imported modular kitchen in delhi
modular kitchen ghaziabad
modular kitchen noida
modular kitchen delhi

www.norton.com/setup said...

w-nortoncom.com is a free online help supplier On-Demand Remote Technical Services For Norton items...
norton.com/setup

norton.com/setup said...

The affiliation offers a fantastic fumble of package answer that confirmation your work areas, workstations and phones from the awful deadly on-line risks. With a Norton Antivirus on changed data directing system, one will get their workstation and might manage the security in like way as insurance of the learning.
www.norton.com/setup

Jaxsonharry said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring blog the information was very useful to my project......


www.norton.com/setup | office.com/setup | www.norton.com/setup

Edward Lewis said...


Very informative post, your post unique. Thanks for sharing.
mcafee.com/activate
norton.com/setup
office.com/setup
office.com/setup

Office Setup said...

He writes about the latest updates regarding office.com/setup and how it can improve the work experience of users. His articles have been published in many popular e-magazines, blogs and websites.

Office Setup said...

Install office setup – Sign-in to you microsoft account and then Enter 25 digit alphanumeric office setup product key on office.com/setup. Select country and language.click on next to start office installation.

Office Setup said...

In like manner, you can visit the association office.com/setup to use the thing on the web. With the true objective to download and start the thing, you require a thing key.

Office Setup said...

Our Technical social affair is constantly organized to help and guide you as norton.com/setup run the show. Our Team is especially gifted and limit in taking care of the issues.

mathewanderson202 said...

What a superb post! I have no words to describe this post because everthing is clear with your wonderfull words. I really feel out for world reading your post, it is full of fresh and usefull. I really appreciate, keep the work continue.

norton.com/setup ! www.norton.com/setup ! office.com/setup


Canon IJSetup said...

Get Easy Assistance for Canon IJ Setup with us
If you are looking out for the best assistance with Canon IJSetup with us. We at are available for for your assistance with a round the clock availability. You can reach out to us with any issues relating to your Canon Driver Support and our team will provide you the best assistance with its installation and usage.you can call toll free number +1-888-845-6052.

Jerry Smith said...

If you are facing any type of problem related to Antivirus, then we are providing services to secure your PC. For any further update or any query you can use norton com setup or you can contact our experts on the toll-free number +1-888-845-6052.

James Boond said...

I am very happy after reading this fantastic Article, I appereciate your work.

norton.com/setup | www.norton.com/setup

shalley30 said...

Norton antivirus software has been eliminating malware, viruses and other kinds of online.Get started Norton Setup with Product Key at norton.com/setup or call us toll-free number for instant support.if you have any query related to norton antivirus then contact us.

www.norton.com/setup
www.norton.com/setup
www.office.com/setup
www.office.com/setup

Bb said...

modular kitchen

kitchen in delhi

modular kitchen in delhi

modular kitchen manufacturers

modular kitchen designs

modular kitchen delhi ncr

modular kitchen new delhi ncr

kitchen in delhi

best modular kitchen

norton.com/setup said...

I really happy found this website eventually. Really informative and inoperative, Thanks for the post and effort! Please keep sharing more such blog.

norton.com/setup

norton.com/setup

mcafee.com/activate

kaspersky activation code

pogo not loading

roadrunner email

aol mail password recovery

keerthiroy said...

I read out your blog and I got a lot of valuable information.An interior decorator is mainly preoccupied with interior finishes and existing surfaces- they deal with embellishment and enhancement.
Home interior designers in chennai can design the lighting and/or light fixtures, design and specify the plumbing fixtures, hardware, colors, and supervise the fabrication of custom furnishings, as well as monitor and manage

kitchen manufacturers in chennai | Interior designers in chennai | Interior decorators in chennai | Modular kitchen chennai | Home interior designers in Chennai | Interior design companies in chennai