October Leaves, the Process

Painting of leaves

Here is October Leaves #1.   12″ x 16″ watercolor on 140 # Arches paper.  I’m not sure it’s quite finished yet, I’ll set it up and look at it for a couple of days, but it’s done enough to show you here.

A friend who is a big supporter of my work suggested I might want to show a series of in process photos to show how the painting develops. So here goes.

transferred to WC paperI started with this sketch of various fall leaves overlapping in a pile.  Because I live now in an area that doesn’t have the species that give these leaves, I free hand sketched some and used clipart for others.  I then transferred the sketch to watercolor paper with a transfer paper kind of like old time carbon paper, but with graphite. I’m considering getting a light box to make this process cleaner and easier. Maybe it will be a Christmas present?

first layer of wet in wet washes

This is the first layer of washes, pigment that’s not too thick or thin on to paper wet with water. You can see how the colors blend together including on the oak leaf at the top. I thought that was pretty cool, I’ve seen leaves in real life that look like that, so I left it and built around it.

second layer defining the leaves

After a second layer that helps define the edges of some leaves on top of others, adds more texture, color, splotches on some leaves, adds some back color to make the leaves pop.  This is a really fun time of the process and one that I have a lot more to learn about.  It feels like turning my head inside out to paint around something to make it stand out.

third layer of paintThis continues the process further and then the last layer (so far) has been to add more pigment to the background.

I’m excited about what I’m learning doing these paintings.  I know I need to make much bigger puddles of pigment and use larger brushes on the background to make smoother washes.  I do like the layers I can see underneath, but smoother would definitely be better.

Have to learn to take a deep breath before jumping in, and make every brush stroke meaningful.  And, as our family has learned this week, we need to make every hour meaningful because we don’t know how long we will be here.  I’ve been painting this week with a heavy heart.

As always, thanks so much for reading and commenting.  I love to hear from you.

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