Cool Weather = Warm Colors | 7 Fall Trees to Help Welcome Autumn

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus

Fall trees possess a magical quality that makes them endlessly inspiring to artists. Here, seven pastelists share seven paintings that capture the breathtaking beauty of autumn. Enjoy!

Tom Bailey | Fall Trees and Portraiture

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | Tom Bailey | Artists Network

The Lookout (pastel,16×20) by Tom Bailey


Some paintings of fall trees take on a feeling of portraiture, as in Tom Bailey‘s The Lookout. “One tree, like a solitary human figure, can convey everything from an inspirational hero to [an] abandoned victim,” he says.

His placement of this tree is meant to “reinforce the feeling of being alone and watchful. Subtle paths of light, line and color lead the eye toward the stark trunk and set the tree farther away from the surrounding landscape.”

Nancy Nowak | Bring on the Warm

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | Nancy Nowak | Artists Network

Morning Has Broken (pastel, 12×16) by Nancy Nowak


“My intention was to bring out the full spectrum of warm fall colors in the leaves,” says Nancy Nowak of Morning Has Broken. “By painting the trunks and shadow areas a cool blue — the complementary color of all those lighter shades of orange — I was able to intensify the richness of those warm tones and make them sing.”

Teresa Saia | Capturing Fall Light

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | Teresa Saia | Artists Network

Inner Glow (pastel, 20×20) by Teresa Saia


Inner Glow by Teresa Saia is based on a photo taken along a creek in Santa Fe, N.M. “The photo was mainly in yellow and greens, but the light pattern was fabulous. I wanted to capture the light as it bounced and filtered through the cottonwoods.”

She painted on a piece of mounted UART 320 paper. She toned the surface with an acrylic wash that she applied loosely using a “hot” mixture of transparent red oxide and cadmium red light.

Mary Denning | Interpreting Fall’s Shapes

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | Mary Denning | Artists Network

Autumn Glory (pastel, 14×14) by Mary Denning


Mary Denning says she generally pays attention to overall shapes more than details. She also takes an interpretive approach to color, as seen in Autumn Glory. “I think of a painting as a chance to play with color and consider what will make it ‘pop,’ she says.

“So, reds end up redder and yellows yellower,” continues Denning. “Colors run into one another in a random frenzy. The presentation is, therefore, more whimsical than factual.”

Judy Evans | Fall’s Reflections

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | Judy Evans | Artists Network

What the Rains Brought Down (pastel, 25.75×18.5) by Judy Evans


It was late autumn when Judy Evans was walking in her favorite woodlands looking for inspiration. “I thought it might be too late to find it,” she says. “Then I looked down — not up — and there it was, not in the trees, but floating in a puddle.”

Evans used black sanded paper for What the Rains Brought Down to create the ultimate contrast. And, trees are still a part of the painting, seen reflected in the water.

James Kasperek | Stop While You’re Ahead

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | James Kasperek | Artists Network

Fall (pastel, 30×40) by James Kasperek


“I focus not so much on subject matter, but more on design, light and color,” says James Kasperek of Fall.

“The most challenging aspect is knowing when to stop,” he adds. “I strive to say just enough for the viewer to feel what I’ve felt about the subject, while still leaving it fresh, loose and open for individual interpretation.”

Susan M. Story | Embrace Diversity

Fall Trees | Pastel Artist | Susan M. Story | Artists Network

Woodland Sundance (pastel, 12.5×19.5) by Susan M. Story


“Every tree is unique,” says Susan M. Story. “The older they get, the more interesting their character as they become gnarled and textured,” as in Woodland Sundance.

“When I look at tree limbs, they remind of a person’s legs and arms,” explains Story. “Our joints are similar to the bulbs and crotches on a tree, where other branches and twigs will grow with a change in direction or angle.”

She adds, “We all grow, influenced by our environment.”

Ready to Paint Your Own Fall Landscape?

In the preview below of Liz Haywood-Sullivan’s video workshop, Landscape Painting in Pastel: Fall Color, the artist discusses the importance of establishing value relationships for a bright fall landscape. Enjoy!

You can paint along with Liz throughout all four seasons by streaming her videos on

What is your favorite season to paint or draw? Tell us in the comments below!

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