Painting with pine branches: process-oriented art in action


As process-oriented art goes, painting with pine boughs and other evergreen branches is up there with fingerpainting and squeezing playdough. It’s all about the process, all about the sensory experience (prickly needles, fresh pine smell), and all about exploring what it’s like to paint with this novel tool and how it can transfer paint to paper—whether printing, painting, or splattering.

This whole pine branch painting session started because of a package that arrived in the mail for Maia and Daphne last week.


In the box was a large collection of fresh-picked evergreen branches taped to fall-colored construction paper together with a lovely illustrated letter from MaryAnn Kohl. She said that she had seen some of the arts and crafts we’d been doing with fall leaves and that where she lives (near Seattle, WA) they have mostly evergreen trees and so don’t experience fall in the same way. She went on to talk about some of the different trees near her and the pine boughs she included in the package and asked if the girls would like to try using these to make art or to match up (she included two of each kind).


Maia loved sorting through the pile, taking each off it’s paper backing, and counting them. She also jumped on the idea of using them in art and decided to paint with them.


So we put the evergreen branches in the studio along with a couple of shallow dishes with paints (we used BioColor but tempera would work just as well).


And Maia went to town. She printed. She painted. She twirled and swirled. When she started splattering paint we moved the project outside. And she painted Jackson-Pollock style for another half an hour outside. (Daphne declined to join in this time.)

So this thoughtful package sent across the country was very much enjoyed. Thank you MaryAnn!

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  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    We’ve painted with small bits of foliage before–flowers, grasses, etc.–but not yet with evergreen boughs. As a bonus, it’s time to trim the shrubbery, anyway!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

    We have giant pine trees that drop needles like crazy. I’m thinking it’s time to rake some up, use some rubber bands to group them, and attach them to a dowel rod as paintbrushes. What a great inspiration this post is!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    November 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

    How perfect! Turning your shrubbery trimming time to art time!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    November 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Hope it works out for you! We have some needle dropping pines in our backyard, too. :)

  • Reply
    Make and Play
    November 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    What a beautiful package!!!!

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