Remember how much fun we had when we painted Fall leaves? (It’s still the highest-ranking post I’ve ever put up here on this blog — people love painting Fall leaves! See the October 18 post called October is the Coyote Month.)
Well, this is the Spring version of our Fall Leaf Painting Lesson.
In the May chapter of When Wanderers Cease to Roam, I have a painting of my dearly-departed mulberry tree. Thank DoG that I painted this wonderful tree before it was cut down to make way for a parking garage (but then, my sorrow at the loss of this tree did give me the only occasion in my life when I thought I heard the voice of an angel — story on page 81)…still, I miss that tree.
That was my favorite in-town tree when I lived on the north side of the Long Island Sound. Now that I am living on the south side of the water, my favorite tree is the wild quince tree that grows in the ramshackle yard of the creepy haunted house across the street. In Spring, it looks like this:
Here’s a detail of the quince leaf:
Right now (May 15) the quince leaves are still too itty bitty to be interesting as a leaf painting, but the white violets in the backyard are in full bloom:
So let’s paint us some white violet leaves.
First step, make a pencil drawing of the leaves:
Which is too faint to scan, so here’s the black-marker drawing showing the cells that I chose to outline (the leaves have many more cells than this but you can’t paint them all — choose the biggest ones, the ones that make the most interesting intersections):
For a big (well, big relatively speaking) cell, I apply a coat of clear water, then I dab in some green paint to get a washy-swirly affect:
(Test your paint before applying — I mix two or three different greens from my watercolor pans so I get more complex green than the one that come straight from the box.)
‘(See? How the water thins and swirls the color in the cell? Everybody say “Ooooooooooo.”)
Repeat for all the big[ger] cells, but make sure that they are not contiguous, comme ca:
Now you can go back and paint the smaller cells with a loaded paintbrush (in other words, don’t do the clear-water wash, just dab color onto your brush and let rip.)
BUT: here’s the secret for painting Spring leaves: when you paint a new cell next to one that is already painted and dry, you get a nice outline without trying:
The lines of the cells are a result of simply painting each cell side-by-side.
This one came out very green. I’m going to use a lighter touch for the next leaf:
I did not have to outline a single cell: I let the paint do all the work.
Now get out there and paint some greenery!
P.S. There is another painting lesson on October 1 called I’m a Paint-Stained Wretch about painting sunsets — and my first ever painting lesson from last August is on the top of this blog, that button called Painting August. One of these days I might organize all my painting lessons and give them sane titles, but don’t count on it. I’m not that organized.
And while I’m on the road on my Great Pacific Great Northwest Tour, I’ll only have one post a week — meet me here next Monday for my next painting lesson — on rain!