Friday, November 16, 2012

Autumn leaves that are hard to resist

Materials needed:
heavy watercolor paper
watercolor paint
a variety of autumn leaves

My kids and I love to walk in our neighborhood.  This time of year the crunchy fallen leaves are all the rage.  We come home with fists and pockets full of colorful leaves of all shapes and sizes.  I gave my son some heavy watercolor paper and taught him a fun watercolor painting technique called: wet on wet. 
First we traced the leaves with a pencil to get the right shape and size, and then using a crayon we added the stem and veins.   We made observations as we went noticing that some yellow leaves have red or orange veins and some visa versa.  Once the veins are drawn in we put a coat of clean water within the shape of the leaf then drop color by the brush full into the pool of water.  (Note: don’t worry if the color strays outside the outline, you can always cut out your leaf at the end.)  A heavy watercolor pad is perfect for this project because it prevents the paper from curling, if you don’t have a pad of watercolor paper try taping down the edges to the table or a drawing board with painter’s tape that can easily be removed.  This technique allows the colors to swirl and mix on their own as you guide them around the wet paper with your brush.  We noticed that some leaves also have spots and speckled textures.  Once you have the colors the way you like them sprinkle a little salt on the wet watercolors to achieve a similar effect. 
Once the leaves are dried they can be cut out on the line you traced and the salt can be scraped off over a garbage can.  Write a note on the back, glue it to a collage or sprinkle them on your Thanksgiving table for a festive fall decoration!

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