Monday, September 2, 2013

Watercolour Lesson - Paint leaves 6 Ways

Techniques for Painting Leaves in Watercolour
To wet paper add  light colours of yellow green and green. Allow to dry and sketch leaves in lightly. These are dandelion leaves but any leaf will work. Imagine a light source and paint around one side of each leaf with a darker colour. On the other half of the leave paint it with a darker colour. The lights and darks make it lively don't you think?
Wet the paper and drop light colour onto the paper. Here I used a triad - yellow, pink and green. After the paper was dry, the leaves and flowers were painted on top. Note the one petal of the spent rose is painted negatively, around the light colour with greens. It adds interest doesn't it?

On dry paper paint the leaves in a light green. After drying add a darker green, leaving the veins of each leaf the lighter colour. I find it easier to sketch the veins in first and erase the pencil lines after the painting is dry.

Paint the front stem a leaves in a variety of shades of green. Paint the background a complementary colour. Paint the stem and leaves behind the first stem over the background colour. They will naturally be a duller green thus making them appear further back. Neat huh?

Brush on some colour onto dry paper. Here I used yellow and green. One of my paint brushes has an acrylic handle with a slanted tip and I use this to scrape in the stem, leaf outline and veins of the leaves. Using a tissue wipe off the excess paint. Once dry paint around that set of leaves with darker values of the same colours. Scrape in the suggestion of a few more leaves in the background. DO NOT tissue off this layer but allow it to dry.

Onto wet paper add some light colours. Here I used yellow, green and brown. Dry. Sketch the stem with leaves that is uppermost. Paint around this with slightly darker colours of the same ones used in the first step. Dry and sketch in the layer of leaves behind the first frontal layer. Paint around this group of leaves and the frontal group with another glaze of colour. Dry and repeat as in step 2 with a third layer of leaves behind the first two groups of leaves. This gives great depth.

Do you have techniques you like to use when painting leaves?


Win Dinn, Artist said...

Great lesson, Eileen, and while I'm more likely to be pressing and drying leaves than painting them, I can certainly appreciate their beauty!

HollyM said...

I've just noticed this post as I was away. Wow, what a lot of good inf! Now I just need to remember it!

Watercolour and Textile Artist, Eileen Gidman said...

Thanks for the comments. Holly, I am going to try to set up a page or category somehow so that readers can easily access watercolour painting lessons and tips. Hope you are having time for painting.

Laura Leeder said...

Watercolour is such a great medium isn't it? So many possibilities and styles, thanks for sharing these techniques!

Celia Blanco said...

I found your blog through Laura Leeder's blog. Beautiful post about painting leaves!