poetry and prose about place

Paper Birch

with 14 comments

In the last five months, I have been learning how to paint with watercolors.  I’ve painted with acrylics for some time, and I love to draw with pencil, but watercolors always seemed daunting to me.

If you are a follower of my Blog, you will know my early attempts at watercolor have been of views from my virtual cycling trip in central France and on the Ile de Ré.  I have also done some studies of New Brunswick wildflowers.

Among the subjects I found fun to paint on Ile de Ré were the vine-covered trees that grow along the road.

This week, on a trip to see our camp, I studied some of the characteristics of Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), a tree growing everywhere on our property by the lake …




Some of these trees are actually Mountain Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh. var. cordifolia (Reg.) Reg.), a variety of the Paper Birch.  This variety is quite common in eastern Canada.  Its distinguishing characteristic is the heart-shape of its leaves, especially at the base of the leaf.


The bark of the Paper Birch and Mountain Birch is predominantly white, although parts of the tree can be yellowish or quite black.  Its bark strips readily from the tree, in sheets, leaving  a reddish-orange inner bark which turns black with age  …




To paint the birch, I used Painter’s Tape to mask the trunks of the trees.  Then I painted the background.  Once the background was dry, I stripped the Painter’s Tape away and added the bark details in the white space left behind.  Here are three paintings of Mountain Birch …



June 21, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch’ Jane Tims



June 22, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch #2’ Jane Tims



June 23, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch #3’ Jane Tims


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

July 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

14 Responses

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  1. These are beautiful, Jane. I love birch trees. These are really lovely paintings.



    August 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    • Hi Robin. Thanks. This will always be remembered as my watercolor summer! Jane


      jane tims

      August 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

  2. I love birch trees, too! All three of your watercolors are beautiful…


    Barbara Rodgers

    August 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

  3. One of my favourite trees.



    July 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm

  4. Great post! The water color pictures of the paper birches are wonderful. And, I always really enjoy your posts about plants. You are so knowledgeable.



    July 23, 2013 at 12:29 am

    • Hi Sheryl. Thanks! I’d include more on plants in my virtual travels, but the photos are not close enough to identify. I want to do more on local plants in future. Jane


      jane tims

      July 23, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  5. Oh my gosh Jane,,,,,these drawings as with all the others are very very good.!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    July 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    • Hi Patsi. Thanks! As you can see, I’ve devoted the summer to learning to paint with watercolors. Hope you are having a great summer! Jane


      jane tims

      July 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

  6. The paintings are lovely. Intriguing that painter’s tape is how you get straight lines for the birch.


    Carol Steel

    July 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

    • Hi Carol. Thanks! Painter’s tape is great for holding down the edges of the work too. Jane


      jane tims

      July 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  7. Jane – how beautiful! and how clever to use the painters tape – I have always admired watercolors and have several paintings in our home of landscapes done by local artists. And i love birch trees too – Really lovely – K


    • Hi Kathleen. I don’t comment on your site often, but I read every new poem you write via email and I really like your way with words. Glad you like the watercolors. Jane


      jane tims

      July 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm

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