Here is a way to organize the complex information of an interior forest. This will work no matter what your rendering style happens to be. Whether you are an impressionist painter like me or a realist, the basic building blocks for the picture are the same the only difference is how far you want to carry the finish. This photoshop demo is based on a traditional painting I did a while back.
The challenge is to arrange the information to give you the illusion of space where no horizon is apparent. Forest scenes work best when you use clearings to establish a foreground or middle ground to help divide space in the scene. It doesn’t matter if you are painting jungle or alpine forests the abstract qualities of design still apply.
It helps to visualize the anchor points of the composition first. These objects will have the most detail and can be flagged or spotlighted for greater effect. They will give your eye a place to go in the image allowing you to use areas of less detail as counterpoints.
I always start with large areas of color keyed to the average for that mass this helps to unify the shape. I set up the different layers and work between them to balance color value and shape. Once these are established to my liking I begin to develop and refine the painting adding interest as I go.