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Step by step tutorial : Painting a tree and leaves with watercolor

Leaves Lace : Painting a tree and leaves with watercolor, a step by step tutorial

by Sandrine Pelissier on May 21, 2013

in New work, Painting technique, Step by step demonstrations

Leaves Lace, watercolor on paper

Leaves Lace,
watercolor on paper,
19.5 x 27 inches,

 

Click on image to purchase Print or Original Painting.

Click on image to purchase Print or Original Painting.

This is my latest watercolor on paper. I didn’t  mount this one on board as I did for most of my recent watercolors because I wanted to paint a few watercolor landscapes on paper and enter them in various watercolor competitions. Most watercolor societies won’t accept varnished or mounted watercolors, but it isn’t really an issue as it is always possible to mount a watercolor on board once it has been painted.
Here are a few pictures of the steps I took.

painting palette

This is my painting palette: Daniel Smith Burnt Sienna, Reeves Payne’s grey, Holbein Cobalt Turquoise, Da Vinci Prussian blue, sap green, and cadmium lemon, Van Gogh Madder Lake Light. I also used a bit of black from my Yarka watercolor pan set

stretching watercolor paper

I did draw the main outlines on paper, then wet the paper so I could strtch it on my stretcher. I then reserved a few white areas with masking fluid (also called liquid frisket)

painting leaves with watercolors

I start painting the leaves, mixing different shades of green from my sap green, adding yellow, blue or red, and mixing some of the colors wet in wet.

painting leaves with watercolor

I paint section by section, making my way along the painting.

all leaves painted with watercolor

Once I painted all the leaves, I take some time to assess the result and I find that there is not enough tone variation to get the effect of the light coming through the leaves that I looking for.

darkening some green leaves

I am making a wash mix from sap green and madder lake and will apply it as a glaze on some of the leaves I want a bit darker.

painting some leaves darker

Here is the painting after I did darken some areas on the leaves.

painting the tree trunk

Then I start working on the trunk. I paint a light wash to start, mixing some darker areas wet in wet

painting the trunk

working one section at a time. I am adjusting colors and adding texture to the trunk.

Working more on the trunk

I keep adding layers of texture

removing masking fluid

I then remove the masking fluid. I would usually soften the edges afterwards and paint a light wash on the white areas but for this particular painting I want to keep the white areas very crisp to add to the effect of light shinning through the leaves.

close up of masking fluid removed

Here is a close up of an area with the masking fluid removed.

Leaves Lace, watercolor on paper

Leaves Lace, watercolor on paper, 19.5 x 27 inches,
Click here to purchase original or print:
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/leaves-lace-sandrine-pelissier.html

And here is a time lapse video of the whole process

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Meredith May 21, 2013 at 6:09 am

Love the perspective of this painting.

Reply

Sandrine Pelissier May 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

Thanks Meredith!

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Christine Holzschuh May 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

I love your work and am so impressed with your methods and how generous you are in sharing them…I learn something every time I look at your work…I don’t even paint in watercolors!

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Sandrine Pelissier May 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

Thanks Christine :) I am glad you liked the demos!

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Muru May 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for the demo.
The reference – is it a photo printed on big paper?

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Sandrine Pelissier May 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Thanks Muru, yes it is I printed a reference picture on super B size paper.

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mercedes June 11, 2013 at 6:59 am

magnífica demostración. gracias. Phantastic demos.. Thankyou

Reply

Sandrine Pelissier June 11, 2013 at 7:59 am

Gracias Mercedes :)

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Susan July 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Thanks so much for sharing. I’m pretty new to watercolor and I greatly appreciate your willingness to share. The step by step techniques are so helpful and your work is very inspiring!

Reply

Sandrine Pelissier July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Thanks Susan, I really appreciate it:)

Reply

jhon012 September 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I really enjoy your work and am so impressed with your methods and how generous you are in sharing them.

Reply

Sandrine Pelissier September 12, 2013 at 7:20 am

Thanks !!

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