So, here's a project I had to hurry up and finish before I left (and try and cram in my suitcase) for a friend's birthday. She's loved my tree painting and I promised to make her one for her birthday.
Here's a little tutorial that shows just how easy it was to do... you don't have to have any artistic talent, you've basically just have to know how to draw a stick tree.
All you need is a canvas, acrylic paints of whatever color you wish, and some paintbrushes (whatever size you feel comfortable with).
Start off with your canvas and measure out a large, bold border. I made mine about 3.5 inches, I think. (It also depends on what size your canvas is: bigger canvas = bigger border.)
First, paint the inside-the-border square a light color. Then after about an hour or so drying time, use painters tape or masking tape to tape off the border so you will get a crisp line after painting. Remove the tape while the outside border is still wet to get the straightest lines. If you don't, the dried paint on the tape will stick to the dried paint on the border and could remove some of the paint.
Use pencil to freehand your tree. Start off with thick trunk and make sure you extend the tree wide to reach the border.
Fill in your tree. The trick to a realistic-looking tree that doesn't look like it was painted by a child, is to make sure the tree starts off thick and tapers to smaller branches like natural trees do.
The tree will probably need a coat or two to make sure the paint is bold and there aren't many brush strokes.
Allow it to dry and then use a darker brown to make a shadow on one side of your tree.
Let that dry and then apply a mocha glaze to give it a weathered look. Now, the more glaze you put on, the more it will wet the canvas and remove your acrylic paint. I like having a few spots that lose some paint because I enjoy the more rustic-weathered look. But if you don't, go easy on the glaze.
And... that's it! I can't believe how much this painting turned out to be a near carbon-copy of the first one! Amazingly, the painting made it to Arizona in one piece without a scratch and my friend loved it. :)