Day 27- 30 Day Botanical Leaf Challenge

by Mindy on October 27, 2011

in Uncategorized

Loblolly Pine Trees


Here in Gainesville, Florida the subtropics meets the Northeast and there is an amazing array of diversity here. Before I lived here, I always thought of Florida was "Disney World" and retirement communities. I didn't think much about the diversity or even that there was one. To my surprise Florida is teeming with wildlife and it is along the migratory route for some many species.

My new house is surrounded by Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) trees.These amazing trees grow up to heights of 80-100'. Their pine needles are 5 to 9 inches long. The bark is thick dark-reddish brown. The crown is rounded and the trunk is tall and straight. Loblolly is the principal commercial pine of the southeast because it grows well on a variety of sites. My backyard is mostly sand. The tree has an enormous tap root so it is stable from high winds. It is awesome to see them swaying back and forth when storms blow through. We just had a front through and a bunch of branches fell down in the yard, so I decided to paint it.

This kind of plant is really hard to draw before hand and transfer onto good paper. I decided to just give it a go and paint it right on the paper without any drawing. I started in the back and painted the lightest greens first. I am painting in gouache very much like watercolor, very watery and transparent. As I worked towards the foreground my paint become more opaque and darker. This gives me the advantage of going over the background lines and completely covering them.
This was very simple to do and I encourage you to try it. It helps you to work on painting thin lines, working transparent and then more opaquely.

This painting is available through my Etsy shop: BugsBeastsBotanicals

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Ashton October 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Hi Mindy
I love this pine painting.  I have really enjoyed following your progress during this challenge.  I love that you explain what you do in your paintings!  I would like to try this for sure.   What size brush did you use for the needles?  Was it a small round or a rigger?

Mindy October 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

Hi Laura,
I used a watercolor round brush, #4. I think that a rigger would have actually been a better choice as I was having trouble getting the lines not to get thick in the middle of the needles. have used a rigger in pen & ink and right now I don’t have any that are suitable for painting with. do you have a rigger brush that you like?

laura October 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Hi Mindy
I do have a rigger brush just a Cotman-Winsor & Newton size 0.  Series 333.  It was cheap ….works well enough.  But i always forget I have it!  So last time I tried needles I struggled with the same thing…too thick in the middle.  It was not until I read your post that it dawned on me,  that the rigger is probably much easier.  I have had good success using it for tiny fine tree branches.
I LOVE your blog…I check it everyday to see if there are any updates.  You can truly tell how passionate you are about your work.
Thanks Laura

Mindy October 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Hi Laura,
I am glad that you are enjoying the blog. It is nice to know that someone out there is reading it!


Carol Lewis October 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

Oh yes, Mindy.  I am also reading your blog daily!  thanks for doing it!

Mindy October 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Great Carol! Will be wonderful to see you this week in NYC.

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