Autumn Trio

More than half of the autumn leaves are on the ground now where I live, which means two things: lots of raking and beautiful colors littering the woods. It doesn’t take long for leaves to dry out and fade, so I have forsaken the rake in favor of the paint brush. A good choice, don’t you think?

Tips and Techniques– Leaf “portraits” like this are a good way to practice painting skills. They force you to work on getting crisp edges, mix subtle color variations, and use both wet-in-wet and dry brush techniques. I started with a light pencil drawing and then a wet-in-wet wash to establish the lightest colors and define the shapes. I continued with three or four more layers to deepen and adjust the colors and add texture. Adding a shadow gives these a bit more dimension. There are a lot of leaves out there to choose from—have a go!

25 Comments on “Autumn Trio

  1. These are so lovely! What color or mix do you use for the shadows? They are so subtle and realistic!

  2. I so glad you posted this! The timing is perfect and your leaves are gorgeous. And thanx for the tips. I’ve been doing several different leaves myself. I’m not disappointed as to how they turned out. But your guidance has proved to be just right and helpful for me. Thank you.

    • So glad Erica. I find leaves to be challenging. There’s a balance to be struck between painting every detail and letting the watercolor do the work. I like doing multiples, but, of course, if you get one wrong it ends the whole piece. Good luck with your leaves!

  3. Your leaves are gorgeous! Not as pretty, generally speaking, in NW Washington. But we do have some pretty colors here too. Would love to see you here again for another class sometime! 🎃🍂🍁🌻

    • Thanks Kathy! I loved the colors of these. I’ve got more that I’m pressing and may paint later, but we’ll see. Enjoy fall in the PNW! Would love to come out again sometime.

  4. Yes, beautiful as always!

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  5. Beautiful leaf portraits! And thanks for the instruction. This I might try.

  6. These are so majestic in their simplicity. Have you ever considered filming yourself drawing and painting and posting it to you tube? I would subscribe to your channel!

    • Hi Susan- I appreciate your interest and have thought about filming, but the drawback for me is adding pressure to the process. I may try doing a couple of very short process videos for Instagram and see how it goes.

      • Hi Jean – thanks for considering this. I love your sketches and would enjoy seeing the process. I *definitely* understand pressure and wanting to avoid it. Hope it can be enjoyable for all. I’ll keep an eye out on Instagram. Thanks again!

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