Tree Studies

This week, the older group of students that I teach did a study on trees. The point of the exercise it to get the students to really look at and think about trees: both natural tree and artistic interpretations of trees.


  1. Students draw a picture of a tree with no instruction other than “draw a tree”. I did need to specify that the trees should be deciduous, but gave not other instructions.
  2. We viewed a slideshow of photos of real trees. We discussed how trees really look and some ways of approaching drawing a tree. Some questions for discussion: How do the trunk and branches look? How do the leaves look, especially in relation to the shape of the trunk and branches? How do trees look different during the various seasons? What are some ways that we can draw trees to go with this new information?
  3. Draw another tree using the information we discussed.  Things to think about: Which tree is more realistic? Which tree is more interesting?
  4. Show a slideshow of some examples of trees in art.  How do some of these trees differ from real trees? How can you tell that some of these “trees” are trees at all?
  5. Draw a trees using what you have observed and discussed regarding trees in art.

Click here for a variety of examples of tree photos. The link will open in a new window. Alternatively, do a search for “tree”, choose images and then choose photos.

Click here for a variety of paintings and other artistic renderings of trees. Again, the link will open in another window.

Here are links to some specific art works:

Vincent Van Gogh Blossoming Almond Tree

Vincent Van Gogh Trees and Undergrowth

Vincent Van Gogh The Mulberry Tree

Piet Mondrian Trees

Piet Mondrian Gray Tree, Red Tree, Tree and Composition 8 which was created after viewing the cubist work of Braque and Picasso.

We did view other contemporary artworks as well.

The students’ work was amazing. All the pieces were really interesting. Great work everyone!

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