Bill Alexander Painting Tips: Redwood

The hardest thing about learning to paint wet-on-wet is understanding how and when to use thick or thin paint.

In today’s Daily Video Clip, Bill teaches a valuable lesson on how to create bark on a majestic redwood tree. Follow these techniques and you will be painting like a pro!

Key Points To Consider:

  • Bill’s canvas is prepared with a thin coat of Magic White
  • Bill defines the base of the tree trunk using an Alexander Flat Bristle Brush. He applies a very thin coat of paint so he can add the texture later.
  • He is painting only a section of the tree as it continues right out of the top of the canvas.
  • He applies the shadow color (using Alizarin Crimson and Black) with his palette knife.
  • He lays the palette knife almost flat against the canvas and places the shadow color on the far-left side of the trunk.
  • He then drags the thick, dark paint straight across the trunk with his knife.
  • Bill cleans his knife before adding the light colors.
  • Using a mixture of Cadmium Yellow and Alizarin Crimson, with a touch of Titanium White he adds the highlight color to the far right of the tree trunk.
  • Using the same technique, he pats the highlight color on and then drags it across the trunk. The light color will mix with the dark paint already applied, giving variety of color to the trunk.
  • Bill uses a light blue color at the base of the shadowy side of the tree to represent moister in the tree. At first, he applies too much paint, but he uses his brush to tap it into the dark color that is underneath it.
  • Bill’s tree trunk looks so real it is as if we could peel the bark!
  • He uses the fan brush loaded with dark color to create the branches. Notice how slowly and deliberately he taps the color on. He does not bend the bristles of the fan brush because he wants the branches to be straight. He reloads his brush before creating each new branch.
  • He makes sure the paint is out of the tip of his fan brush so he does not have to apply pressure to lay the paint on the canvas.
  • Bill varies the direction and the length of the branches to create a realistic looking tree.
  • Notice how easy the paint sticks to the thin paint of the background?

So now you know the rest of the story! If Bill Alexander had more time on each episode, he would have told you these things himself. Since he did not have time, we will tell you because we want you to know everything he is doing, including the things he did not have time to tell. Some of these observations are very subtle things that make all the difference and would be easy to miss.

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