Easy Watercolor Lesson on Painting Fir Trees

An Easy Watercolor Lesson on Painting Fir Trees for Beginners by Gareth Naylor.

An Easy Watercolor Lesson on Painting Fir Trees for Beginners.

Question about Painting Fir Trees

Have you ever painted a fir tree in watercolor? Perhaps not yet but if you have then you will know that it isn't easy. I've been painting for 17 years and I still find painting fir trees difficult and so I think you will too.

Why Painting Fir Trees is Difficult

I had to really think about this and I decided that: 

1 They are complicated shapes. They sometimes look simple but they have a certain irregularity and detail that is difficult to capture.

2 There are many kinds of fir tree. In fact is it a fir tree or a pine or a spruce. I don't want to go into those details but it is crucial to know a few different kinds of trees and the particular one that you are painting.

3 They can easily look naff. I'm sure you've all seen a painting of a fir tree that just didn't look good. 

Why Painting Fir Trees is Important

So you might be thinking that you can just skip painting fir trees but I want to give you three reasons why you shouldn't.

1 Fir trees look beautiful.

2 Many countryside scenes contain fir trees.

3 If you want to paint a snow scene then you'll probably want to paint a fir tree.

My own Personal Frustrations with Painting Fir Trees

I've spent the last several weeks trying to understand how to paint fir trees. I went a bit crazy as the photo below might prove to you. These are the fir tree paintings that I thought were half decent the rest, maybe about 70% of the total fir trees paintings I did, got thrown away.

Research on Painting Fir Trees for a watercolor course.

Research on Painting Fir Trees.

8 Kinds of Fir Tree and Counting!

I actually found more than 8 different ways of painting fir trees with one brush. Here are 8 though all done with a 5/8" hake brush and phthalo blue paint.

8 different kinds of fir tree painted with a hake brush and phthalo blue paint.

8 different kinds of fir tree painted with a hake brush and phthalo blue paint.

A Watercolor Video Lesson on Painting an Easy Fir Tree

Some of the fir trees above are difficult to paint. But I found one way that is super easy and looks good. In the video below I will share that way with you.

A Watercolor Video Lesson on Painting a Fir Tree Scene

Now you've practiced painting a fir tree why don't you try painting the scene below which uses this particular fir tree.

If you had a go at this painting then please let me know how it went in the comments below.

Watercolor Materials Checklist for Painting Fir Trees

Here is a downloadable checklist of the materials that you need to do this painting. It is the minimum number of materials you need - in fact, you only need one brush and one paint to do the picture in the video. I've also included links for each of the essential materials to Dickblick, an online art store, so you can order the products straight away.

Layout of Watercolor Materials for Painting Fir Trees

Layout of Materials for One Brush Method watercolor course for beginners.

Layout of Materials for One Brush Method.

My water container is actually a big child's bucket but I sometimes use a small container because it fits into the screen of the video better. I recommend a big water container though.

And the tissue at the top is for mistakes on the paper which I can quickly wipe off whereas the tissue on the right hand side I use with my brush.

Learn More about Painting Fir Trees

You can learn more about painting fir trees and all the basics of watercolor painting on my One Brush Method course. Just click the button below for details.

Final Word on Painting Fir Trees

Well I hope after this lesson you won't find painting fir trees so difficult and that this lesson will open up lots of new fir tree scenes you can paint.

Leave a comment below to share your own experience with painting fir trees.

Happy painting,


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