The other day, while taking a walk with Mike on a woods road, I came across these lovely leaves. When I first picked them up, they were a vivid yellow with wonderful spots of gold and brown. It occurred to me that these leaves could be interpreted in an abstract painting, using left whites, patterns and movement across the paper.
I took a full sheet of watercolor, 22x30 inches, laid the leaves down on a piece of freezer paper and sketched in pencil a shape, leaves touching leaves, making the large shape go off the paper on all four edges. I included suggestions of branches the leaves might be attached to.
Next I put a very light wash of color around the large shape, including one area of an opposite temperature. The majority is a pale yellow (warm) with a bit of blue (cool).
First wash of watercolor
After the initial wash dried, I added a darker color in 5 spots. Yikes! That's enough for one day!
Adding the first darks
The next day I started building colors. I chose to use colors we find in Nature, yellows, reds, greens.
Building colors and patterns
Next I decided what parts of the painting I wanted to keep pure white, and masked that off with masking tape. Then I carefully cut around the shape to be left, peeled off the outer tape, and took my mouth atomizer to the painting, spraying away some of the left white, and enhancing color and texture.
Masking off parts to leave white before spraying
After the spray was applied, I started looking at how to add detail and interest to the painting.
After the spray of watercolor paint was applied
While the paint dried, I made a stamp of spots to apply to the leaves. I then "blemished" the leaves, added some veins using both positive and negative painting.
Next I started sorting through my old painting scraps and rice paper I'd painted to find pieces to collage with. I love this part because the collage adds so much life to the painting.
With added collage pieces
In the final step, I use construction paper to plan where I will add the black acrylic paint. This black paint really makes parts of the painting pop. I feel it pulls the whole painting together. After planning the black areas, I use tape and cut shapes to leave the areas on the painting to get the black paint.
Blemished 22x30 inches