Painting Secrets for Realistic Leaves

Posted on October 31, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

I love this printmaking technique because it captures the texture of natural leaves. My style of painting tends to be more impressionistic so I enjoy getting the realism straight from the leaf.

Another favorite leaf of mine is the geranium. I print with the craggy leaf letting its irregular shape be the greens of the composition. Then for the red blooms I can let the watercolor work its magic in exploding red blooms! 

I discovered so many choices of leaves when strolling in downtown Holland that I made them into one big leaf collage below: 

Whether you paint or not, maybe just stroll and enjoy this fabulous autumn show of colors.


How to steps for painting realistic leaves:

  1. Gather soap (bar soap, liquid soap, dish soap, any brand seems to work. The soap simply seems to allow the paint to adhere to the leaf a bit better.)
  2. With a brush, coat a thin layer of soap to the underside of the leaf -- the side with the deepest protrusion of veins, stamen and texture.
  3. Apply a thick, rich watercolor wash on top of your soap film.
  4. Using various shades of color will give your finished leaf more depth. 
  5. Press the leaf, paint side down in the area of your composition you want the leaf to appear.
  6. Dab the leaf with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. 
  7. Peel back the leaf.
  8. Let the printed leaf image dry and if you wish fill in the spaces of white with a light wash,




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