The first step today was to place the tree trunks on the image. I used a pencil, which was OK since I was over painting with brown. You can use chalk or a colored pencil that will dissolve into the paint. The regular grafite pencils can bleed through paint if you are not careful plus they are hard to erase on a canvas.
Next I painted just the trunks. I made the distant trees a lighter value, the middle trees a mid tone value and the foreground trees the darkest value. These value changes do not have to be extreme, baby steps of difference is just fine, but by changing the values you add perspective into the painting and help create a sense of space. Photographs tend to flatten out the depth of field so when you paint, you need to add that back in. By changing the values you automatically add that depth back into the painting.
I paint the trunks in short downward strokes, it is easier to stay in line than a long stroke plus the roughness of the edges give life to the trees. I also exaggerated the change in height of the trees, making the ones in the distance shorter than they appear the in the photo. This too adds depth to the painting.
Next I used a small round brush and painted in the branches. The paint should be the consistency of heavy cream. Load the brush and twirl it to a point. Start at the trunk and work out. Keep the 'v' shape between the trunk and the branches closes to a Y shape rather than flat. Although branches have many shapes and sizes you need to refer to a photo or book on tree characteristics to keep you trees looking real (if that is what you are after).
Vary the colors and values of the branches as well. Have them appear to be coming from each of the trees. When dry, most bark is as much gray as it is brown. Add some blue into your brown to get that hue that looks best. Vary the mixture as you vary your branches.
Don't overwork your branches. You do not need to paint every single one. They do not even need to connect, our brains will fill in the connections.
Finish up with an old brush that splays or a fan brush. With even lighter valued mixture, dab on the fine branches and old leaves that stay in the trees. Keep the shape of the crown of the tree. Make sure some branches cross in front of the trunks. Don't overdo, just add some, evaluate and only add more if you really, really need it.
Since I changed the spacing of the trees on the left, I felt I needed to adjust the front of the lane and widened it and curved it out to the left as well.
I then added the shadows on the grass. To stick an object down to another you need to use a shadow. Under each tree trunk I made a shadow. Plus, since my light if coming from the left, I took the shadows out to the right of each tree. This makes the trees part of the landscape and not just stuck out there. The color of a shadow is a deeper value of the color that is already there. So the shadows on the grass are a deeper green and shadows on the lane are a deeper brown.
I will continue with the painting next class.