Tree Reflection: A Pastels Tutorial

A fall favorite from 2010…
We are still enjoying fall scenes around our house. With that in mind, Nana taught us a pastel lesson with trees, water and reflection.

First, we gathered our colors. And, starting with the green, we drew a line for the grass.

Not a very thick line, to leave plenty of space for the water.

Next, the blue for the water and a bit of “fisting in” or softening of the picture with your fist or a finger…

Then, get your brown and add simple sticks for the tree trunks.

We did five trunks but feel free to do as many as you like, as five-year-old did…

Keeping in mind that whatever you decide, the same number of trees will be reflected in your water. Next, your first tree color. We chose red…

Nana said that the orange and yellow trees need just a bit of green. Remember how those brilliant trees look as they are changing?

Then she joked and said that our trees sort of look like lollipops – all pretty colors on thin sticks.

Next, you’ll want to get your sky blue pastel stick…

Fill in your sky above your trees. You can use your finger to soften it with a ‘painterly affect.’ Remember to fill in your sky between the ground and your trees as well.

Then, the fun part! The reflection of the colors in the water. Be sure to match your colors in the water with the tree above it.

Think of how the water might ripple and just be gentle with the color there. (above by 13-year-old)

Get your white stick and add a little line near the water’s edge, to highlight it. (by eight-year-old)

Branches for your trees with your brown. (by five-year-old)

Be sure to pick a favorite color to sign your name. (by 11-year-old)

And you have finished your tree reflection!

Another fun afternoon with pastels! Thank you so much Nana

  • Print this lesson: Just click the green, ‘print-friendly’ button at the top, left of this post. You can choose to print the lesson with or without photos. By clicking the ‘remove photos’ box, you may print the text directions only.
  • A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (over 30 lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials. A simple set is very affordable.
  • The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.




  1. 2


    Beautiful…I just love the colors of fall! We’re in for a few rainy days here, so I’m adding this to our list of boredom busters:) My girls will be thrilled- they love using chalk pastels. Thanks for the tutorial!
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  2. 3

    Pam K says

    Hi. I have been following Nana’s pastel tutorials and I love them. We are studying Thomas Edison with BYFIAR and we did the tutorial on tree reflections when we got to the chapter on Tom’s new home. This post was right on time! I do have a question for Nana. How can I preserve the art? We only have oil pastels right now so I understand from reading that they don’t truly dry. Is framing our only option? Do you suggest using a varnish? I guess laminating is out of the question. :)

    • 4


      Pam – I talked to Nana about this and yes, she said framing. But you could also put your finished picture in a plastic sleeve (very carefully!) Another option would be going to Michael’s or a similar craft store and getting a spray fixative, like you mentioned. All of these would apply to chalk pastels as well. Hope that helps! And so glad it was timely for your studies! I love to hear when families are enjoying Nana’s tutorials.

  3. 9

    Patrice says


    I wanted to let you and Nana know that we used this tutorial today to learn about reflections in water used in art. This tied in with our FIAR art and science lesson for The Story of Ping. We had so much fun even the four year old and I got in on the action! Thank you for sharing your talents with us.


  4. 11

    Melanie says

    I am not sure if it is just me, but I am unable to find the print friendly version of this tutorial. I am excited to teach the tree reflection art to my co-op class next week and wanted to have a print version to look at. Can you let me know if I am missing something, please. I can’t seem to find the green print friendly button.

    Thanks so much for this awesome blog! I am teaching 12 lessons to my co-op class this year and they are all from your site! Thanks so much for sharing them with us all!

    Melanie from MO

    • 12


      Hi Melanie! I am so happy you are sharing art with your co-op class! I believe the print friendly button has moved to the bottom of the post. It used to be at the top – but now it is in the sharing buttons at the bottom – if you scroll over the one on the far right – it will say ‘print with print-friendly’ Hope that helps – and enjoy!

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