Painting really good leaves has been a bit of a hit and miss affair for me since starting the SBA course last year. Sometimes I get it right and they look fab, but with others it's all a bit sad. Getting the greens right does not seem to be the problem as I have had some really complementary comments about my colour mixing, (these will be in the Sketchbook page soon). So. it must be the actual shaping or technique that is not quite right. The real problem is that leaves are not straight. They bend and fold and their veins aren't symmetrical and you can't always see where they join and... well the list goes on.
Help is at hand. Starting on the 1st October, an international group of acclaimed Botanical Artists will be painting a leaf a day for the whole month. Not for any reason I don't think but it sounded like fun and a great way to practice and practice and practice my leaves. I found out about this challenge whilst reading Mindy Lighthipe's recent blog. She is one of the artists taking part in the challenge and was recently voted as the groups first Artist of the Month. The You Tube masterclass on how to paint a leaf using the wet-in-wet technique given by Mindy is quite good and although I couldn't get sound, (I am not sure if there is any as other videos worked ok) the visual process was helpful.
As Autumn would appear to be well on it's way it will be good to capture the beautiful shades now taking hold of the trees in the garden. So far many of the plants I have tackled have all had green leaves so now I will be looking to mix reds, oranges, yellows and and all shades in between. There will also be the extra challenge of texture as fallen leaves tend to be brown and crinkled. Oh, well I have said I will do it now.
Here are a few of the stunning examples Mindy produced for the 2009 30 Days/30 Leaves challenge.