Introduction: Rainbow Eucalyptus Forest

About: Stay at home dad, keeping busy making things and answering questions all the while from my girls.

I am a fan of the Rainbow eucalyptus forests in the Hawaii region. My Mom-in-law LOVES these trees, it was getting close to her birthday and I stumbled upon an inspiring image. As well as with the current activity in the region with the volcanoes, thought to post my work.

The Mission

To try my hand at "under-painting" for the first time creating a lively piece with depth.


  • Canvas
  • Brushes sizes 1, 3 & 16
  • Squeegee
  • Small Water Dish
  • Pencil HB3 Staedtler
  • Parallel Pallette (The thing to put paint on.. i had to google its actual name just now, shh don't laugh) I use a clear plastic divider from a notebook, its easily cleaned and reused.
  • Paint, will detail the colors I used in a moment



  1. Cadmium Deer Red
  2. Primary Red
  3. Crimson


  1. Cadmium Orange


  1. Deep Yellow


  1. Brilliant Yellow Green
  2. Light Green
  3. Sap Grean
  4. Deep Green
  5. Phthalocyanine Green


  1. Light Cerulean Blue
  2. Light Blue
  3. Cerulean Blue


  1. Mixed Cerulean Blue with Brilliant Purple


  1. Light Blue violet
  2. Brilliant Purple

That is right keen observer, ROY.G.BIV ;)

Step 1: Sketch

Grab that lead!

Note: My Canvas I Prepped with a white layer that was spread quickly with the squeegee, and then used the larger brush to finish it nice and smooth.

Lightly put down an outline of your plan, you do not need to put in every detail on this layer. Simply plan out the larger outlines, details can come in another layer, to create depth.

Going for an upward gaze Point Of View, start wider on the bottom and slowly taper off thinner towards the top.

Place a few key shadows, lightly remember, you will be under-painting more details later :)

Step 2: Under-Painting

Burnt Umber was my choice for the Under-Painting layer, normally Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna or gray are used I believe. Nearly any color can be used, its all dependent on if you want it to have a "cool" effect use a blue to purple. To acquire a "warm" effect use reds, pinks or orange. For when you want to have intense shadows work a gray to black under-painting. Cannot pick just one? you can use multiple colors, be wise about the colors you are using on top as for example if you under-paint with purple, it will be difficult for a yellow to show on top of it.

Grab a small dish of water, get that brush damp then tap into your chosen color and apply a thin, light base.

Wipe brush on some paper towel lightly and tap into a tiny bit more color and gradually add the darker details, and more specific details. It is almost like a light form of water painting to start, which is the reason I do a white layer off the start.

Step 3: Background

Once satisfied with the Under-Painting, add in your background colors. With a clean dry brush the sky was painted first so that the leaves can be added on top. This prevents from painting the sky AROUND the leaves.

For depth, start off with the dark green leaves first and layer on the lighter green leaves gradually after each layer dries. All I did was using a flat brush not a round tipped one, just dabbed away in the areas that required leaves.

The white section is supposed to be a bright patch of sky. Still learning how to accomplish this :P I know it does not look great.

Step 4: BARK WOOF! Lol Sorry

Time to paint that Rainbow bark!

Simply looking at a bunch of photos of different trees I started swiping the colors in no order on the three trees. no tree is the same, no painting is the same. That means there is NO wrong way to place the colors. Just reference some photographs and you will get it just fine. I kept layering the colors, until a flow felt right on a certain tree then i worked on finding a suitable pattern on the next.

Of course cleaning and drying the brush between colors :P

Step 5: Final Steps

After filling in each tree, it does not mean that it is set and done! I added a random swipe here and there to make those small alterations that pop into your head an hour later haha. then i blobbed in some black trying to make shadows, which it turns out bright light and dark shadows are the next for me to practice more :P

i darkened up near the tops of the trees to show that they are very tall indeed, but not never ending. Tried to shadow in some shape to the trunk of the trees. its a little rough but its a skill that will get better with practice.

Then using a lightly damp paper towel that I wiped a small amount of white on I tried to make two small beams of light coming through by making light quick strokes to start. It gave a nice faded look, then I used my small paint brush to put more white near the top of the beams in their centers.

7 Hours from start to finish, then 2 hours to write the instructable! Not too bad I feel

I hope this has inspired you to get artistic! Best of luck with your projects!

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

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