How To Paint A Leaf
How To Paint A Leaf
Making an outline before you start painting a leaf gives a clearer picture of your take on the object even without all the details. You can paint very loosely with your watercolors as illustrated in this session.
Draw simple outlines with no detail. All the details are going to come in the painting. With anything that you're drawing, the key thing to remember is that anything is just a group of shapes.
Look at your shapes. This arrangement has got lots of different tones of green going on. Any area further, it will have all kinds of different greens going on in it as you add in every leaf that you've got there.
Now, for your range of colours, make different greens from the blues in your palette, lemon yellow which is a cool yellow, cadmium yellow which is quite bright, a dark but purpley and quite vivid blue, ultramarine, cobalt blue which is a middling blue to a cool blue, and two browns of burnt amber which will give any really dark areas if mixed with the ultramarine and burnt sienna. Use the wet on dry method, although you can have some of the paint as wet, adding more wet paint in just to give it some kind of blurred effect. In painting anything that's natural, there are very few hard and fast lines.
So, start to mix up some blue with yellow to give all kinds of different greens, but start with the light watercolour because you need to start a light to work through with the dark. Use a flat brush here, quite a wide flat brush to cover a big area quickly. Put a little bit of ultramarine in there.
See where you can put pale green. So, put the watercolour on quite loosely. You don't want to paddle around too much with water.
With your flat brush corner, you can get into some sharp points on the leaves. That's what's great about the flat brush but with the brush. If you want to paint in a wide sweep like that, you can do it and it can also fit into some really nice long thin shapes.
Usually, the bits or the face of the leaf which is uppermost is going to be light because that catches the light. Where it's underneath the leaf or it's in shadow, it's going to be darker. So, paint lighter and eventually darker.
Now, change your tone a little bit because you need to keep varying the green. Let's get going on to cobalt and maybe put a bit of cadmium in there which gives you a slightly yellowy mix. Put some more of the yellow tone now or darker tone, darker tone under, more blue to darken up underneath the leaf, keeping it crisp and not over-painting.
Underneath the leaf over one side, have quite a dark area, go in darker with some ultramarine and some more yellow, and add a bit more brown to get it a darker green all together. If you need to go back and paint something lighter, wash your brush off and get any excess water out of the brush. If you want to get into a smaller area, get another slightly narrow flat brush.
Maybe mix a bit of cadmium and lemon together with a bit of green going on, a bit more water, and if you want a variation on the leaf while that's still wet, bring your paint with a slightly different tone of green and as that dries, that will soak into the colour and give you a fuzzy edge. Keep working around your picture and see how many different greens you can get in there. Put a darker stripe and get different effects on the leaf.
For the background, simply choose something which you feel appropriate. A purple background as the wall might work but probably use just one simple plain colour. That's an example of how you can paint a group of leaves using watercolour.