Thursday, November 15, 2012



I was inspired to paint the leaves because it's autumn!  I liked the composition of my photo, and I liked the colors of course.  I have included below how I arrived at the finished painting.

I started by masking out only the main veins down each leaf and just some of the outer veins....not all.  Then I did a preliminary wet-on-wet wash with a large 2" hake brush.  Three colors I used are winsor yellow, a violet mixed by permanent rose and cobalt blue, and a green mixed by winsor yellow and cobalt blue.  If you look at the location of the colors you notice I intentionally put them where those colors of leaves are in the picture.  I made sure I did not overlap too much of the yellow and violet because that would muddy the colors since they are complements to each other.

After the wash dried, I started painting in the green leaves.  I started by laying down winsor yellow and then laying cobalt blue on top in areas I noticed them to be in the photo.  I added some thalo (winsor blue green shade) very lightly in some areas I noticed a brighter green.  There are noticeable spots and darker edges on the leaves so I added them while the leaves were still wet.  I used a very concentrated (less water) amount of paint in violet (perm. rose and ultramarine blue) plus burnt sienna. 

I started adding in the darks at this point.  My reasoning is that I want to establish how dark my darkest darks should be before adding the darker leaves. (Too many dark words!!!)  Sometimes if you don't do this you can get into trouble and your darks can become too dark because you've made your midtones too dark.  Oh my.  I used none other than VIOLET, of course, and some blues to do the deeper thought I was going to say "dark" again didn't you!  I used ultramarine and perm. alizarin crimson with a touch of burnt sienna to get the darker violet and used some cobalt instead to get lighter tones.  I dropped cobalt in here and there to achieve a little light effect because I didn't want all my darks to be the same.  Other areas I added a little more alizarin to the violet to again add some variation, but I also saw that in the picture.  I added the red leaf and painted it first with winsor yellow and then dropped in cadmium red, some violet (cobalt and permanent rose) and some green (cobalt and winsor yellow).  The yellow leaf in the lower right corner started also with the yellow and I just dropped in violet and some green to actually try to muddy it up a little.

Finally I painted the remaining leaves using many of the same colors.  The leaf in the upper right corner which is more brown, I used a mix of burnt sienna, cobalt blue, permanent rose and a little bit of yellow.  Glazing here and there with some violet along the edges to get a shadowed effect.  The stem of the branch is not brown!  It's VIOLET, of course, so I used some cobalt and alizarin and did much tweeking to get it right by dropping in come cobalt directly and scrubbing out some highlights then dropping in more cobalt til I got it right.  The veins I had to fix a little with the paint I used for the leaves to straighten them out and make them a little smaller here and there.  Sometimes I can't get the masking fluid on quite right!  Adjustments can be made if done carefully.  I used a semi-wet brush to just scrub out extra veins...the paint will lift easily and you do need to blot.  Last but not least SPATTER.....I love spatter.  Maybe too much, so I've been told!!!  Leaves do have many spots so I added more!  Why not.....I used a violety brown for that.  If you have any questions, just leave it in the comment section and I will gladly try to answer them......have fun!  I added the original photo at the end so you can see's kind of blurry...sorry, bad photographer!

                Here's the photo......of course I accentuated some of the colors, but that's artistic license!!

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