Notes from North Light: Paint a Simple Spruce Tree in Three Easy Steps

North Light’s veteran drawing and acrylic painting instructor’s latest beginner-friendly guide Paint Landscapes in Acrylic with Lee Hammond hits shelves later this month. Lee shows you how to use a handful of colors, a simple three-step approach, and the friendly medium of acrylic to create charming landscapes throughout the seasons. Practice this simple three-step tree and see for yourself how easy it is to replicate nature in acrylic.

step 1 tree[1].jpg1 Trunks and Limbs
With a no. 2 liner and Ivory Black that has been thinned down with a little water, pull up the strokes for the trunk and limbs as shown.

step 2 tree.jpg
2 Foliage
With a no. 2 round bristle, lightly dab the black into the tree to start the look of foliage. Use your paint thicker for this application.

step 3 tree.jpg3 Hint of Color and Shadow Below
Mix a blue-green for the tree’s hint of color. Add a small amount of Prussian Blue into some white, then add a small amount of Cadmium Yellow Medium. Using the same no. 2 round bristle, lightly dab this color on top of the black already applied. If it gets too heavy, simply add some more black mixture into it to open it up. Create a very light tint of the blue-green color by adding more white, and apply a small amount on the tips of the branches for a soft look. Add the shadow underneath for a realistic look.

Pre-order Paint Landscapes in Acrylic with Lee Hammond from North Light’s online shop or visit for more about the artist.

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