Trees in Landscape Painting, Considerations of Balance

Above, Oak tree and surprise lilies (2021), ink and watercolor, my sketch

Rex Vicat Cole (1870-1940)

Pencil sketch of fallen willow by R.V.C.

Rex Vicat Cole was a British landscape painter and superb botanical illustrator. In his teaching manual, The Artistic Anatomy of Trees, Cole writes “The landscape painter must have as true a knowledge of the branch anatomy of a tree as of the anatomy of the human form.”

I read a chapter from The Artistic Anatomy of Trees for the 80th volume of the LibriVox short Nonfiction Collection.  Cole considers how to give life and vitality to paintings of trees by balancing dark spaces with light, large masses with small shapes and delicate details, and correctly depicting trees seen near and far off.

Listen to my recording here:
Read Cole’s book here:


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