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How to Paint a Fall Leaf in Watercolor

This week, find a leaf that inspires you and paint it. I’ve uploaded a video of my process for painting a leaf:

  • With pencil I outline the basic shape.
  • I use just three colors – cadmium yellow, cadmium red, and ultramarine blue and mix colors as I go. From those three colors I create all the fall colors I need – purples, maroons, browns.
  • I work wet encouraging the colors to bleed into one another.

It’s fun and relaxing. Check out the video below and watch my painting process. Then find your leaf and start painting. I’d love to see – tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.

Please like the video and subscribe!

Want a comprehensive guide to getting started in watercolor? Check out “Beginner Watercolor Exploration.” Learn the fundamentals. Practice with exercises and projects. Discover a love of watercolor!

Start your watercolor journey today! Learn more here.

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide pdf download | how to guide beginner watercolor


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Painting Leaves in Watercolor

Fall Leaves in Watercolor by Eileen McKenna

Recently I painted a pile of leaves in watercolor. It was an easy relaxing process:

  • Collect a few leaves
  • Trace the leaves
  • Mix fall colors from yellow, red and blue
  • Work wet and encourage the colors to bleed and blend.

Believe it or not, I’m often more interested in how it feels to sit and paint than what the final results are. Sure, there is satisfaction in how a painting comes out and sometimes frustration when I can’t achieve my vision. But the process of sitting and painting is…the best.

I shared a video on how I created the watercolor pile of leaves painting. Grab your paints and give it a try!

Please like the video and subscribe!

Want a comprehensive guide to getting started in watercolor? Check out “Beginner Watercolor Exploration.” Learn the fundamentals. Practice with exercises and projects. Discover a love of watercolor!

Start your watercolor journey today! Learn more here.

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide pdf download | how to guide beginner watercolor


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Waiting for the leaves to change

rainbowleaves
Here in New York the leaves are beginning to change. Only a few have fallen. I am so looking forward to the bright colors and to walking through the leaves – that “swish swish” and the beautiful reds, purples, and yellows everywhere. Cleaning up the leaves I am not looking forward to!

In years past, the leaves have been a huge inspiration to me.

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See how I made this watercolor leaf here.
finalleaf


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Watercolor Leaf {A how to craft project}

This is one of my favorite Fall projects! Give it a try and share your results, either in the comments below or on Instagram – tag me: @eileenmckenna. For convenient printable instructions – visit my Etsy shop. Supplies:
  • Heavyweight watercolor paper – I used Fluid Easy Block
  • Watercolor paints (3 colors – light, medium, dark. I used yellow, orange (or red), and brown.)
  • Water
  • Paintbrushes (1 thick, 1 thin)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Leaf or photo of a leaf (for shape and inspiration)
Steps:
  1. Trace or draw leaf onto the watercolor paper
  2. Cut out the leaf shape leaf1
  3. Erase remaining pencil lines.
  4. Wet one side of the leaf shape using a paintbrush and water.
  5. Using a brush wet with yellow paint, paint the entire leaf yellow (or a light color of your choice). leaf2 leaf3
  6. With a brush, wet with orange paint, paint the edges of your leaf. The orange will bleed into the yellow – this is a good thing! leaf5
  7. Use a thinner (and not as wet) brush and paint thin brown lines onto the leaf. (Copy the veins from your real leaf or photo.) If your leaf is still wet, the lines will bleed which creates a cool texture to the leaf. leaf6
  8. Allow the leaf to dry, then add more thin brown lines. (The dryer the paper, the less the paint will bleed.) lastleaf
When I first showed my kids my painted leaf, they thought it was a real leaf! Have fun! Can’t wait to see what you make. 🙂 Ready to get started in watercolor? Check out my new guide “Beginner Watercolor Exploration” 
  • Learn the fundamentals.
  • Practice with exercises & projects.
  • Discover a love of watercolor!
Start your watercolor journey today! Learn more here.
Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide pdf download | how to guide beginner watercolor
Would you like to: Be creative on a regular basis and experience the joy that creativity brings? Explore mediums and subjects, in search of your thing? Learn about my new book Creative Exploration: A Six Week Process for Introducing Regular Creativity into your Life by clicking here. Creative Exploration book - Easy Watercolor Leaf Tutuorial | fall crafts | #fallcrafts This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.


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A Crisp Fall Day!

fallleavesfinal
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love those sunny, crisp, blue sky days. Unfortunately they lead to damp, grey, cold days! Today is the perfect Fall day. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts! 🙂

This painting was part of my painting party. I worked very wet, letting the colors bleed together, only hinting at each leaf. I added several layers of paint. After I was done, I added some details with ink.

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