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Watercolor Painting, My Way!: Autumn Leaves: L1/5

Author: Rod Webb, Associate Editor

Painting an Autumn Leaf.

Collect a leaf from the garden.

Sketch or trace it out onto a piece of rough watercolour paper. 

Draw in two ovals - later we will use these to work in a couple of drops of water. ;-)

Also mark the position of the veins with thin lines.

Next, mix the colours required for your palette.

1. Yellow ochre.
2. Green made from yellow ochre/ultramarine blue
3. Burnt umber with a touch of light red added
4. Burnt umber with a touch of alizarin crimson added.

Before we start applying paint, wet the leaf area with clear water - being careful to leave the two oval water drop shapes dry.

Wetting the area will make it easier to get a light wash of yellow over the leaf without the paper drying out too much.

Paint in the whole area, leaving the two oval shapes clear.

As you can see the whole area is still shiny, showing that it is still damp.

Using our mix of burnt umber/light red, drop some colour onto the damp surface. 

You will see it spreads and merges giving a nice soft edge. 

Apply in a random fashion, mainly at the tip end of the leaf and along the edge. 

Apply single spots as well. 

Then apply some of our burnt umber/alizarin mix, which is a more reddish shade.

This must be done while the paper is still damp.

If it does start to dry then stop. Allow it to dry completely, then redampen the whole leaf using your brush lightly over the painted surface. Then continue to apply our mixes as before. 

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