I finally did my first ever birch tree lesson! These have been all over the internet for years, but I’ve always particularly liked this lesson by Deep Space Sparkle. I loved the final product her students achieved, but I changed a bit about the process.
We skipped the tape step, and I had students just directly draw their trees onto watercolor paper using pencil (pressing very lightly!) They added in a horizon line, and some chose to add a fence behind the trees. We talked a lot about perspective during this lesson – how to make certain trees appear closer to your eye (make them longer and thicker) and how to make certain trees appear farther away. They also sketched in where they were going to put their shadow (we talked about which direction the shadow would go based on where their sun was.) Finally, some students opted to include another fence in front.
Students who had done the tiny fence in the background used a thin sharpie to trace the fence, just to make it simpler on them, rather than painting them. The drawing process took about 40 minutes, and when they came back the next day, it took them about another 50-60 minutes to paint their drawings.
The only rule they had to keep in mind when painting was that they couldn’t leave the snow white. They had to use a mix of shades of watery blues and browns to give their snow dimension. In terms of the sky, they could do whatever inspired them. Students used watercolors to paint, except for the final touch - a bit of acrylic white to make falling snow. For the shadows, some chose blue tones, while others chose purples or greys.
I really like how these turned out. I feel like you can see each of their different styles of painting – some are more abstract, some are very precise and clear. Some use literal colors, while others used bright imaginative colors. It’s really fun to see what they came up with!