The most challenging about this composition is the fact the original reference photo had the branches on the right dividing the image in half (a real composition no no). So to resolve this is I dropped the tiny branches into the background to enhance the larger more stunning branch. I would still like to work on it a little more but it will give you an idea.
The jeweled light filtering through the leaves was really fun to do. I used different approaches, wet-into-wet, wet-on-dry, softening edges, deepening color and lifting color out.
You should have heard the moans and groans of everyone tackling this painting. Even though these aren't done yet when they stepped back they were all amazed with what they had done. I was so excited to the students light up with huge smiles.