Leaves are small food factories that use cholorophyll to help produce energy through photosynthesis, a process of converting sunlight into sugars and starches. During the hot days of mid-august, trees perceive the tiniest changes in their environment, such as the day length, light quality and temperature.
here.) As excess water ran down the paper onto the tape, I wiped it with a paper towel. I waited until the wet shine on the paper became dull before beginning to paint. The shine means the water is still on the surface and will dilute the pigment too much.
When I mixed the yellow paint to begin the leaf, I used more pigment and less water, so the color moved downward slowly.
Movement is one of the most appealing aspects of watercolor and part of its mystery. You make a decision, watch what happens, and then make your next decision--one decision at a time. With time and practice, you can anticipate and direct more of what will happen, but surprises will always be a part of watercolor magic.
WN phthalo blue to create a background, the same blue that was used to add the green to the leaf color. Using the same blue helps to unify the colors in the painting. The blue blends with some of the yellow underneath that is not completely dry and makes a nice varigated wash. Knowing how much paint and how much water to mix comes with practice.
As the water moves down the paper, I wipe the puddles away with a paper towel along the edge of the tape. My easel has a tray but I don't want water to collect there and drip onto the table making a mess that I might forget about. At this point I let the paint dry slightly, leaving the painting in this position, until the paint has dried enough to stop moving.
Below, I have turned the painting again, so that it is upside down, and add paint to the right side which will be the left side when the painting is rightside up.
The veins on these sassafras leaves were much more apparent once the leaf turned yellow and it was interesting to see how the red broke through. Sometimes an entire section between veins turned red, sometimes a fuzzy red smudge appeared. I noticed all these details while studying the leaves because I wanted to paint them!
If you have tried some of the "Fun with Fall Leaves" paintings, send me a note about your experience, an image or a link to your blog post at: vickiehenderson13 (at) gmail (dot) com. Use symbols in the email address. It will be fun to see other styles and explorations of fall leaves in watercolor!
Next: Layering leaves
Fun with Fall Leaves series
Why Leaves Change Color
Winsor Newton Watercolors