Painting in Progress: Taping the Trees

I don’t always use masking tape when creating the trunks of a tree painting because sometimes I don’t have any tape to hand and sometimes I haven’t the patience to tear the tape to create uneven edges (the straight edge of the tape is too rigid for my liking these days; I did use it earlier). But doing so has two great advantages: it allows great freedom with splattering colours onto the main trunk colour and creates a magical “reveal” moment, when I pull off the tape to see the tree trunks in context. That I can’t see how the trunks look against the background while painting is both a disadvantage and an advantage; I’m committed to whatever I do with the trunks, though know it can always be painted over, and can’t fuss with the rest of the painting.

These photos are from a current painting-in-progress. First photo: starting to remove the tape is always fun mixed with a little apprehension about whether I messed things up or not, whether the tape had been stuck down well or if paint had seeped underneath (especially if I’d turned the painting on its side and encouraged the paint to run).

WIP Tree Painting May2016: Tape Removal Starts

Second photo: sticking down the tape, leaving what will become tree trunks. When you start taping, it’s crucial to remember that you’re preserving the background and the tape doesn’t represent the trees (seems obvious, I know, but the shape of the tape seduces you into making nice tree shapes with the tape and not the negative spaces).

WIP Tree Painting May2016: Taped and Ready to Paint Birch Tree Trunks

Third photo: Half removed.

WIP Tree Painting May2016: Tape Removal

Fourth photo: Pondering time. Foreground to be tackled next.
WIP Tree Painting May2016: Tape Removed

3 Replies to “Painting in Progress: Taping the Trees”

  1. I love the way this painting is developing. It is very appealing, and to my eye seems almost done.

    Can the taping method be used with oils (which is what I work in)?


    1. I’ve never tried, but think if the tape sticks okay to dried oil paint (and lifts off!) it could well work. Solvent might damage the adhesive on the tape, so I would try it on a test piece first to see if paint seeps beneath the tape too much. Do let me know if you try.

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