Today I would like to talk about one of the biggest problems that people face when trying to highlight trees. We start off with a dark tree shape, usually this is not a problem at all. Next, the Fan, Filbert or 1 inch Brush is loaded with Yellow and Green (and sometimes just a hint of red or blue to soften the color). Then we go up to the canvas eager to see our beautiful trees "flow out of the brush", but all we get is a muddy mess. No crisp clean highlights. All we get is a big smudge of paint!
I have heard of (and experienced) this problem many times..... and here is how you fix it.
1. Identify the problem. I would say that 95% of the time the problem is not with the highlight, but with the dark tree shape. Avoid making the sky so heavily covered with paint that it is impossible to paint anything on top.
2. To fix this problem, wipe the entire tree with a paper towel working carefully around the shape of the tree. Do this a few times, using a clean towel each time. Notice that the tree will be about the same value as before you started wiping. The canvas is stained with the dark. (you may need to touch up the outside edges of the tree depending on how blurry it has become)
3. Test to make sure that you have enough paint removed. This is very easy. Look at the canvas, if you see the "texture, or weave" of the canvas, then you probably have the right amount of paint down. Also you can rub your finger on the tree, if almost no paint comes off, then you have a good amount of paint.
4. Repaint the highlight areas. Now you should have no problem making the highlight color stick, because there is simply not enough dark color on the canvas to interrupt the bright color.
I hope this has made your painting experience more enjoyable.