Leaf Watercolor Studies


Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Despite a myriad of interruptions, I’ve had some delicious moments experimenting with watercolor. Gathering various leaves from my parents’ yard, I recalled the young Henri Matisse and his scrutiny of leaves, and tried to draw their contours with discernment. Once I established the shapes, I tried to render the veins properly and then work on the various colors. All of this I found challenging, along with decisions concerning the background colors and textures. I think I’ve done all I can on this one. Tomorrow I have some errands to run and don’t know for sure if art will happen at all. But I want to . . .

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to learn.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

11 Responses to “Leaf Watercolor Studies”

  1. memadtwo Says:

    Beautiful, both painting and quote.


  2. Laura (Createarteveryday) Says:

    Really beautiful. Of course! Thanks for sharing.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for engaging me–you offer so much more than you are obviously aware.

      Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

      From:”David Tripp’s Blog of Watercolors and Ideas” Date:Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 7:27 AM Subject:[David Tripp’s Blog of Watercolors and Ideas] Comment: “Leaf Watercolor Studies”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. certainline Says:

    Beautiful. How did you get the veins to look so crisp, may I ask?


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, I’m still trying to solve that problem. First I painted the entire leaf the color of the veins (light yellow-green). When dry, I used a masque pen to draw the veins. Then, after the masquing dried, I painted the darker colors. When dry, I stripped away the masquing. The veins did not show well against the leaf colors, so I accented them with an HB pencil and sepia prismacolor pencil. I’m still not completely satisfied, but thank you for your compliment and question.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Emily Says:

    Mr. Tripp, I struggle so much painting trees. I overwork them until they look ridiculous. I love the way you paint them and want to know how in the world do you do it? What kind of brush do you use, and how dry is the paper? I really enjoy reading your blog. A demonstration on how to paint trees/greenery would be wonderful. Thanks.
    A frustrated beginner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Emily, for caring enough to look at my work and write me. I can give you a few quick pointers right now, and would love to post some kind of demonstration/explanation of how I go after trees in the near future (high school and college are beginning in the morning for me, and I am crammed right now with deadlines and assignments). For a brush, I take a flat brush of good quality, and with an X-acto knife, cut it 45 degrees, beginning at one corner and cutting down to toward the ferrel at the opposite end. Then I cut out a number of bristles with the X-acto until I have a ragged, toothy brush, with a 45-degree slant. I work with dry brush, spiking the dry paper with some color of green, making sure to leave plenty of white paper showing between the dots and tiny splotches of color (each bristle is like a separte leaf). When it is dry, I go back over the same area with a darker green, again making sure I don’t eliminate all of the white paper between the dots. A third time with a still darker color has me almost there. The white speckles of paper look light sunlit highlights off the leaves. If it is too white, then I put a very light wash of green or yellow over the whole tree crown. Sometimes I put in dark shadows in places at the very last. I like to mix Alizarin Crimson with Winsor Green to create a green that is nearly black. I hope this helps! I really put very little work into the foliage, and in the old days when I overworked it I was just as frustrated as you sound right now. It will get better! Please stay in touch. I love talking to people on the blog.


  5. Emily Says:

    Thanks for your great reply. I didn’t expect such detailed info, but I really appreciate it. I’d love to see an image of what that brush looks like sometime. I’ll definitely have to give it a try.
    Good luck with the new school year. I wish I had taken an art class way back when I was in school. But I’m glad I’ve found my love for painting now.


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