Learn to Paint Watercolor Leaves | Anne Butera | Skillshare
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13 Lessons (1h 15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Mixing Paint

    • 3. Lipstick Plant Leaf

    • 4. Jade Leaves

    • 5. Marigold Leaf

    • 6. Orchid Leaf

    • 7. Purple Oxalis

    • 8. Nasturtium Leaf Part 1

    • 9. Nasturtium Leaf Part 2

    • 10. Rose Leaves Part 1

    • 11. Rose Leaves Part 2

    • 12. Rose Leaves Part 3

    • 13. On Your Own

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About This Class

In this class I'll share how I paint leaves with watercolor using different watercolor techniques and seven types of leaves as examples.

The skills I'll demonstrate include:

  • mixing paint for a general palette using pan watercolor paints
  • observing a subject and creating preliminary pencil sketches 
  • wet on wet washes
  • wet on dry washes
  • lifting paint with a damp brush
  • layering paint
  • mixing color on the page
  • painting fine details

These skills can be used in many other watercolor applications.

The leaves I paint in this class are from the following plants:

  • lipstick plant
  • jade plant
  • marigold
  • orchid
  • oxalis
  • nasturtium
  • rose


Meet Your Teacher

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Anne Butera

watercolor artist, pattern designer

Top Teacher


The beginning of my story might sound similar to yours. When I was a child I loved to make things, but as I grew up I "learned" I wasn't good at art and stopped making it.

But that's not the end of my story.

As an adult I eventually realized something was missing from my life and I began to play with the idea of learning how to paint. I was encouraged by the example of other artists who had begun their creative journeys as adults with no formal training. Their stories gave me confidence to try.

When I started out learning how to paint I didn't know where to start. I learned by doing (and by failing and trying again). 

It's been a long road, but today I work as a watercolor artist.

My art has been featured in magazines an... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Anne Butera, the artist behind the website and blog, My Giant Strawberry. I love growing and painting all sorts of plants, and I'm passionate about encouraging you to embrace your creativity and discover your joy. In this class, I'll show you how I paint leaves with watercolor. Leaves are the basis for many botanical watercolor paintings and they're also beautiful on their own. In these lessons, I'll be demonstrating painting leaves from seven varieties of plants using different watercolor techniques. The skills you learn in this class can be translated into any number of water color possibilities. More than anything else, I hope to encourage you to look around and find inspiration everywhere. Then to sit down and paint. If you'd like to learn how to paint leaves with water color, click "Enroll" and I'll see you in the first lesson. 2. Mixing Paint: We will start by mixing some paint and creating a palette for us to work with. I'm going to keep things pretty general. I'm going to mix three different greens and then some other colors to work with. I use pan paints and I will include all the names and colors I use in the handouts, but I want to urge you to use what you have and not worry about trying to match mine. Feel free to use whatever greens you want and any additional colors. This green that I'm using here, this dark green as Russian green and it's one of my favorite colors to use. I'm using that as my first dark color and as a basis for mixing this medium green that I'm going to create next. My technique for working with pan watercolors is to wet my brush, then rub the brush on the paint and then rub and scrape the brush onto my palette to get the paint from the brush to the palette. I like to have a lot of paint on the palette so it can last me awhile and I won't run out and have to worry about recreating it. We've got a dark,a medium and now I'm going to mix a light green. Feel free to mix yours however you want. I'm using greens as my base and then adding to them. You can use blues and yellows, to create your greens or whatever works best for you and don't feel like you have to use pan paint either. I just prefer working with them. They seem to last longer for me and I'm comfortable with them. Use whatever you're comfortable with. I'm adding some warmer colors to this green and it'll give us lots of options because we can mix the paint on the paper while we're working. Another color I like to have on hand is red. It's a great color to use with green because red added to green will darken that color. It will also warm it up. But I know that some of the leaves I want to paint have some red tones in them. Having red is important to me. You can include whatever colors you think you're going to want to use. Here, I'm adding some blue because I know I like to have blue on hand for painting shadows, for cooling down my colors. Adding some pain gray to that blue. Other colors you might want to add on your palette. You might want some yellow or orange. If you're going to paint some fall leaves, maybe some brown. This last color I'm going to mix is purple because I know I want to paint some purple leaves. I'm starting out with some pink and adding a couple of different pinks, a little bit of red and then I'll add some blue to create my purple. Sometimes I find that I need a color that I haven't mixed, even when I am matching my paint mixes to a specific plant or flower or leaf and that's okay too. I can always go back and mix another color to finish what I need. Now that we have a basic set of colors, we're ready to get started. 3. Lipstick Plant Leaf: I'm going to start with an esienthes leaf, this is an orange lipstick plant that I'm taking a leaf from. Starting with the simplest leaf and the simplest painting you can see on my page here that I've already painted some of these other leaves that we will see later. So, that's why they're on the page. I am using the darkest green here and one of my larger paintbrushes. I'm starting with the outline. This is moderately wet. I'm just working the paint onto the page in the shape of the leaf. I didn't sketch out a leaf shape first. This is a fairly simple shape. I'm just working from that and trying to get the variation in tones, the darker edges, adding a little bit more concentrated paint to those edges and then also working on this center. A dark line in the center. It' s not really a vein per say. It's more the shape of the leaf. I'm just building up the tones here. This is going to be the simplest painting we'll do. Just one layer of paint. I'm really working on getting the different tones. Now I've switched to a smaller brush and using the lighter color paint to paint that little stem. The paint will blend the light to dark. Here's the finished painting. Very simple. We're going to do some other symbol leaves in the next lesson. I'll see you there. 4. Jade Leaves: The next leaf we're going to paint is the jade plant leaf. I'm using some houseplants to begin with to show you that you can find leaves anywhere anytime. I apologize for the beginning of this video, the focus was off. But I'm leaning this in here to show you the technique. It's very similar to what we did in the last lesson. I'm painting wet on dry, the paper is dry my brush and the paint are wet. Here we go. Now we're back to being focused. I've used the medium green and I'm painting in the shape of this jade leaf. I'm dropping in some darker green along the edges and I'm going to paint another leaf now that we've got it focused so you can see what I was doing. Just painting in the basic shape of the leaf with my wet paint on the dry paper. Then with a dryer brush, I was lifting up some of the color and then I'm dropping in some darker color. So I want to get a variety of tones in here, a variety of colors. They're going to be mixing on the paper, blending out the shape here of this first jade leaf, lifting up some of the paint. Now it's dried a bit and I'm going to add another layer. That first painting we did had only one layer. This, I'm adding a lighter yellow or green just a bit to warm it up. Then I'm going to use my fine brush and some of that red that we mixed to paint the edge of this jade leaf, just one of them. If you look at jade plants, if they have spent the summer outside like mine did, they will often get a red tinge on the edges of the leaves. So I'm painting that not all of the leaves have the red. So I'm only painting one and the red is blending in with the green. You can barely see it. It's just a bit of an accent. I can go darker with this, I could be a little bit more dramatic, but I'm just choosing to keep it fairly subdued and it just acts on this leaf like an outline. I'm delicately painting it in, not wanting it to mix with other colors on the leaf and lifting up a little more paint to give it a highlight here. Lightening things up a bit, and then here are my dried finished leaves. We'll be painting something a little bit more complicated in the next lesson. I'll see you there. 5. Marigold Leaf: The next leaf we're going to paint is a marigold leaf. Here is one that I got from the garden. I'm going to just keep it on my paper as an example and I'm going to look at it while I paint. Again, I'm not sketching out my design first. I often do, but for this one, I'm not going to. I'm using a fairly concentrated amount of paint on a fine tipped brush. I'm starting with the center and I painted that center line, and then working on the top leaf. Well, there are many ways to paint veins on leaves and this leaf has a fairly substantial vein. The technique I'm using for this marigold is that I am painting around the vein and leaving the vein unpainted. Painting with the leaf and leaving the vein white. I'm just going to come down on the one side of this leaf. This leaf is made up of tiny or little leaves. I'm going to paint all of these down the one side and then we'll paint the next. I'm speeding up my video here. Just painting up the shape using the brush to create the leaf shape, adding more paint. Putting a hint of that spikiness that creates the shape of these tiny leaves. I'm not being very exact in terms of the number of those points. Here I'm adding more paint as I go, deepening that center line, deepening that top leaf or leaflet. This leaf is going to be fairly uniform in terms of color. Now I'm going to come in and paint the other side. Again, I'm avoiding the center to give that sense of the vein there. My paint is fairly dark, fairly concentrated. Again, I'm painting wet on dry, although the paint is not super wet. This is a little rough, a little whimsical. There are many ways you could paint this. Could add in different tones, make it a little less uniform. I'm making these shapes pretty playful. I'm just continuing down. We have the basic shape here. I'm just going to refine, add a bit more, paint out a bit more color. Again, there are many ways you could do this. You could do it with multiple layers. I'm choosing just to keep it simple, one layer and keeping it fairly dark. Adding a bit more here, a little bit more paint. Put more along the center line. Deepening these leaves and here is the finished painting. We're going to do something different for the next leaf, I will see you in that lesson. 6. Orchid Leaf: When you look at orchids, you usually look at their flowers. My orchids are out of flower right now, and I painted them a number of times, and I know that the leaves are fairly simple to paint. I'm going to paint them a little differently than the other leaves we've done so far. This time, I'm starting out with a sketch. I'm just using my mechanical pencil and sketching out the outline of the leaf and drawing in the center fold of the leaf. I'm just going to adjust down here, the bottom where it joins with the rest of the plant. Make that little wider. Now I'm going to lighten my pencil marks with my kneaded rubber eraser and get started with the painting. I'm using a very large brush and I'm wetting my paper first. In the other leaves we used a wet brush on dry paper, and now we're going to be doing the wet on wet technique using a wet paper and a wet brush. I'm getting some color onto my brush and dropping it into our leaf. I'm using the light-green that we mixed as the base color for the leaf. I'm going to paint this with multiple layers. I'm dabbing in some of the darker-green, that medium green. Working along the edge of the leaf. I'm going to work on the shape of it as we go. Adjusting things a bit and pulling down the paint. Have it darker at the base. Painting in a dark center line. This is a big brush, but has a nice pointed tip that makes it very versatile. Right now, our layers are going to be pretty light, and while the paint is still wet, adding more color and manipulating the color a bit. While it's still wet like this, we can move the paint around on the page. I'm using a smaller brush now to help clean up these edges. Painting some lighter color in the center and around the edge. These colors are really going to mix on the paper. Mixing some dark along with the light. Painting in some lines, almost stripes, that's the structure of the leaf. These are very thick and rigid leaves. Now I'm picking up some of the paint as well. They have some highlights, they're shiny. Now that it's dried a bit, I'm going to be painting the next layer. You can see how light it is after it's dried. I've sped this up so we can do all the layers quickly. I'm just painting half of the leaf, again, dropping in the various colors of paint, this time working with the dry page. Now after that dries, I'm going to paint the other half of the leaf this same way, adding the wet paint to the dry paper. I'm just going to continue painting in this manner, painting one side and then the other and letting it dry. The reason I'm painting this sides separately is so that I have a nice distinction, and that center line of the leaf will be very defined. I'm using all three of the colors that we've mixed, adding them in, keeping the darkest parts at the center, the edge, and the bottom, and making sure I don't have too much paint in the center of each half. I want it nice and dark in the center of the leaf but in the half. I'm lifting up some other color. Keeping it lighter, just makes it look more three-dimensional. Now that that's dry, we'll move on to the other side. Again, this process is slow in that there's a lot of waiting for the paint to dry. You could speed it up with a hairdryer, some artists like to do that, but I like to let my paint dry on its own. You can see, while I've let it dry, I have painted some of the other leaves on the page here. So that's one of the things I'm doing when I wait for a paint to dry on a large-scale painting. I will move on to other parts of the painting. Each of these layers that I'm painting is fairly light. When the paint is wet, it looks very dark, and then when it dries, it lightens up. Adding some dark-green and just smoothing that out. Again, I want the darkest part in the center. I'm moving my page around a lot. A bit of dark on the edge and then smoothing that color out. Now it's dried, you can see, it's still drying pretty light. Sometimes it takes a lot of layers. I've lost count here how many layers we've done. With the marigold, we had a very thick, fairly dry mix of paint and so that dried dark. This is a lot wetter, so it takes more layers to have a dark result. I want to warm up this leaf here, the warmer green. This dark green is very lovely, but it dries fairly cool., it's a cool color. It's a little bit drab, that's why I like to mix it with the other colors. It's a lovely combination of shades if only it would stay that dark when it dried. Still able to move the paint around on the paper. Now that it dry, I'm doing in the other side here. I'm warming this up quite a bit with that lightest green. Adding some dark here in the bottom, a bit along the edge, along the center line, smoothing things out. I want this top part of the leaf to be a bit lighter than the bottom. Adding some more dark, and pulling the dark paint down to the center there. I like the variation and tones we're getting. Now that it's dry, I'm going to warm it all up by adding some yellow on top of the entire leaf. Nice, warm color here. Warm up the whole leaf at once. I'm not so worried about things bleeding, the reason I kept moving from side to side was to keep the two distinct halves and so that the paint wouldn't bleed too much, I wanted the distinction of that fold of the leaf. It's pretty simple to paint, just takes a while to wait for everything to dry. I'm just painting in a bit of the lineness the way that a leaf is shaped. Here it's dried and we're done with the orchid leaf. In the next lesson, we're going to go pressing a little more colorful. I'll see you there. 7. Purple Oxalis: One of my favorite type of leaves to paint is the purple Oxalis, I've painted it lots of times and I'm excited to share my technique with you. I'm starting this off with a sketch. I'm just doing a simple outline of these leaves. I like their triangular shape and the fact that they remind me a bit of butterflies. There's a lot of movement in these leaves. In fact, they move throughout the day, opening and closing the leaves. So here, I'm just taking off the excess graphite with the kneaded eraser, and then we're going to start painting. I'm painting on a dry page with my purple paint. I'm just starting with that first purple. I'm going to paint just half of each of these leaves. The Oxalis has three leaves that are connected in the center, and each of them is a folded triangle. Now I'm dropping in some of that red we mixed and mixing it a bit on the page with my brush. Next, I'll drop in some of that blue to create the purple, a darker purple, and to give a hint of shadow and darkness in that center part of the leaf. I'm brushing the paint towards the center. Now I'm moving on to the next leaf, and again, just painting half. I don't want the wet parts to touch. They're touching slight bit in the center, just a tiny bit, and they're not going to bleed too much. So I'm not too worried about that. Again, adding the blue, a bit of red and just pushing that paint towards the center, keeping the darkest part in the center. Onto the third leaf. Just half of it again. Painting in the purple, covering the whole shape of that half, adding some red, mixing it around on the page, making it even. Now that it's dried, we're going to go on and paint the other halves in the same way I painted the first half. I want the two halves to touch in the middle, and I want a sense of that folded shadow on the center. Keeping the dark part in that fold, adding a little more paint, making it darker. I'm just going to do the same for each of the other leaves. The same technique, the wet paint on dry paper and using my three colors, the purple, the red, and the blue. You can see the ones that have already dried, it's slightly lighter than the wet paint. You can still see areas of darkness, areas of lightness. It didn't spread and mix entirely, which is what I was after. Turning my page and going on to the last leaf and painting in. For this one, I'm just going to do one coat of paint on each of these leaves. I'm liking the way it's looking. But I often use more than one layer, make things darker to have more of a contrast between the dark areas and the light areas. It's up to you how you like the way your painting looks when it's dried. I think it looks good. Now, we're going to do the stem. Oxalis' stems are almost transparent. They're light in color, lighter than the leaves. I'm just using a fine brush and painting a very diluted purple paint on the page. Just a fine curve of that stem and very pale. I'm going to add a bit of darkness to that top, and a bit of definition along the edge. Again, I want it to be very pale. At that very top, I want a sense of the shadow, so I'm adding some blue. It's very diluted and it's going to mix with that purple, and just have a hint of shadow. Just working the water on the page, adding layers of diluted paint, making the top the most concentrated shadowed by the leaves. Here is the finished dried painting. We are leaving triangles behind and painting in a circle for the next leaf. See you there. 8. Nasturtium Leaf Part 1: In an earlier skillshare class, I taught how to paint a nasturtium flower and I thought it would be fun for this leaf class to paint a nasturtium leaf as well. Here's a leaf that I brought up into my studio to use as my model. I'm starting out with the lightest green, and using a fairly watery mix, I'm just marking out the shape. It's a round leaf. Interesting because the stem comes from underneath the leaf, it's attached like a little parasol. Reminds me of water lilies or lotuses. Now I'm adding some darker green around the edges. This is the medium green. The nasturtium leaf is modeled looking and I'm trying to replicate that in my painting, not wanting things to be very even. Here, I'm adding some color to the center, trying to keep it modeled. I'm staying away from the very center because the very center of the nasturtium is a little white circle almost. Smoothing out some of these darker colors. I don't want it totally even, but I'm smoothing it out a bit, dropping in some more of the lighter green mixing it a bit on the page. Now with a smaller clean damp brush, I'm lifting up some of the paint from the center, and in the areas where the veins will be. I'm dropping in with this small brush, some more paint, some more of the light green. Keeping things a bit liney, a little bit uneven. We'll smooth this out but I want the sense of this liney modeled look that's here on the leaf. I'm just going over all the areas here adding in some darker paint, mixing it a little bit, letting it stay unmixed in some areas. Smooth, but also liney and modeled. I'm just going to keep adding more color while the paint is still wet moving it around a bit and smoothing it a bit just giving the basic colors and shape. Here I'm going a bit darker, I'm smoothing that out again. I want some areas to be dark, some areas to be light, but keeping that center circle area clear of paint, it's a damp, clean brush to lift out the color. I'm going with a larger brush and I'm adding more paint, deepening the color, you can see it blend and move. As this pain is getting a little drier, it's a little harder to move around, not as easy to blend. This first layer is done, I'll let it dry and then we'll pick up in the next lesson. 9. Nasturtium Leaf Part 2: Coming back, the leaf is paler, and I'm going to just continue by adding another layer of paint. I'm using a larger brush and a wet mix of the light green. I'm just laying it on over the leaf continuing what we did in the first lesson, smoothing with color, adding more color, avoiding the very center, leaving that white. I'm just dropping in more paint to make the color richer and deeper. Still keeping the mottled appearance, the lights and darks. Now with the smaller brush, I'm dropping in some darker green along the edges, letting it spread a bit by itself and spreading it up with the brush as well, leaving some light and dark tones, striking it a bit, trapping and more, fixing the edges. Coming in some of the drier places where the paint won't spread. Around that white center, I want to make a dark circle. I'm just adding more, deepening the colors, just working at it like I did in the first layer, adding some very dark tones, leaving things be uneven. Defining the edges, just adding where I see fit. There's not an exact science to it. Now that that's dried, I'm going to paint in the stem. One of the things I love about nasturtium stems is that they remind me of spaghetti. They're thin and they go all over. The nasturtium is a vining plant, and the stems are sometimes wiggly in the garden. They're not straight. So I'm making a very windy, twisty stem for this painting. I'm painting in with a light green, a pale-like with the Oxalis stem. A very watery mix of paint. Now that that's dry, I'm going to paint in some veins. As I said, there are many ways of conveying veins in leaves. I'm going to paint these in with a darker green and I'm not going to replicate exactly what I see in my leaf. I'm following along a bit with the paint that's here, and trying to make my veins fit with this leaf, seeing what looks good to me. Nasturtium veins, they're all over the leaf. The texture of the paper almost gives the sense of the veins themselves, but I'm going to paint some in. They are a light color on the leaf, but I'm choosing to paint them in a darker green. Sometimes depending on the way you look at the leaf, they will look lighter or darker. I'm just going to add a few detailed lines to give the sense that there are many veins around. These are looking very dark and before this is finished, I plan to soften everything with another layer of paint on top. Around that white center, I'm going to be adding more paint, a dark ring, to really set it out and define it. Again, this will all be softened. That's one of the nice things about watercolor, it's very changeable. You can add, you can take away, you can lighten things, darken things. I always like to say not to give up on a painting. There's always something else you can do to finish it, to make it look better. This fine brush paints the details very well. Just adding some more darkness to that center, radiating out with the veins. I'm going to put a little more definition on our stem, just to give it a sense of three dimensionality and to help it stand out a little bit so you can see it a little more clearly on this paper. Painting over the whole thing with some clear water, and then adding a bit of shading at the top and along the edges. A bit of green mixed with some blue and then a little bit more blue at the top. Now here, I am adding this next layer of paint, the top of my nasturtium leaf, just to smooth everything out, lighten these lines a bit and to warm things up, just using a very light watery mix of the lightest green. Very little paint, mostly water, and then just covering over the whole thing. Lifting up some in the lighter areas, working along the edges here. I'm adding a little darker to the edges. Just keeping those finishing touches. A more light color keeping with the mottled appearance. Here's the finished leaf. There are a lot of things you could do to keep going with this. Add more layers, put a little more definition, but I'm going to stop here and leave it as it is. In the next three lessons, I'm going to show you the most complicated leaf we'll be doing. So I'll see you there. 10. Rose Leaves Part 1: Roses are some of my favorite plants to grow in the garden. I thought we would start with a rose leaf. I brought up a stem of leaves to my studio. I'm using it to look at while I sketch out my painting. I'm going to demonstrate some paintings in this class with sketches. First in some I'm going to just paint directly on the page. Want to give you some ideas of different ways of working. I'm just using my mechanical pencil here and sketching out the outline. I know where the leaves are going to go, how many they're going to be, where the stem is. I'm working on my watercolor paper it's arches cold pressed. Now that I've got my sketch done, I'm lifting up some excess graphite with my kneaded eraser that lightens the lines and it will help them not to show when the final painting. I'm going to start this painting with wet on wet technique. I'm going to pre-wet the first leaf using a brush with some water on it, getting my paper wet, but not too wet. Once the leaf shape has been moistened, I'm going to take some of my paint, that medium green and drop it in. I'm getting the edges carefully painted out, with the tip of my brush, to have a nice smooth edge, and then moving the paint around. A next to put in some, of that light color, mixing the two colors on the paper, but also leaving it slightly unmixed, so that I'll have a bit of a mottled appearance when it dries. Going to start on the next leaf. You can see there's a bit of color still left on my brush and that's okay. Because I'm going to be painting the same colors and not much is being transferred, but it's not going to ruin anything. I'm just going to continue painting these leaves, adding the two colors of green, the medium and the light. I'm not going for a very consistent look from leaf to leaf. I want to have some variety, and while these leaves are drying and I'm painting the other leaves, I'm going to be adding in more paint to the other leaves. I'm just working carefully to get each of the leaves painted. Working on the shapes as I go using this sketch as a basic idea, and adding paint, darkening some areas keeping other areas light, mixing. I'm letting some areas go unmixed. Off-camera is my jar of water you can't see that. I also have some paper towels for blotting my brush. I love the way, the tip of the brush we'll give it nice smooth line, and give a nice tip to these leaves. I don't want all of the leaves to be uniform color, I want to have some variety. I'm painting this in the fall and the leave that I'm using as my example, has some interesting colors and it is not just green. I want to convey that on the paper. The leaves are a little tired, but I'm using so much of that light, warm, green and here I'm going to start working on some of the veins. I'm using a fine brush, and although I dipped my brush in the red, because it's a very dry brush. First of all it's going to do, is lift the paint, and that's what I wanted to do. I want to lighten the area of the vein as well as adding some of the color. Once the paint has dried enough, I'll start doing this, lifting up some of the color and adding some of the red. If the paint is too wet, it's not going to leave a nice line. If it's too wet, you'll also get a wider line, which is okay. I like having a thick light line in the middle of these leaves, gives the sense of the indentation the way the leaf is formed in the center where the vein is. I'll let the other leaves dry. I have finished painting this last leaf. Let the other colors, the other paint, and the other leaves, dry a bit and then I can do the vein painting. Generally, I would move my paper all around that's why you see me not quite knowing where I'm going to put my hand, and maybe later in these videos I will move my page. I've got everything set up right now, so I'm going to just leave it where it is. As you can see that was a nice line we just lifted up. Since the paint is still damp, it's going to go back and fill in those area. You'll have to lift it multiple times, but you can already see how the color has changed. It lightens the leaf, it gives more of some shaping to the leaf, makes it look a bit more three-dimensional. We're going to work with this a lot more. These rose leaves, you see I added some red and that's bleeding nicely. There's some red colors in these fall rose leaves that I want to convey and to paint the vein as being red but also a bit of color in these leaves is red and I want to convey that. I'm just continuing to work with the paint, when it gets to the right wetness or dryness however you want to describe it. I lift it up with that fine brush and just keep going back to it there I fixed my camera so you can see the bottom of that last leaf, and the red spreading nicely in some of these leaves just deaf to have patients and just go slowly working with the paint in the paper. Some of these are going to be darker than others and that's what I want. I want, the leaves each to be unique. That's one stem of rose leaves but, each of them has its own personality. Just working nicely through each of the veins, I'm going to let this dry a bit, and then I'll meet you in the next lesson once it's dry and will continue. 11. Rose Leaves Part 2: At this point, my leaves don't look that impressive and that's because they're unfinished. I've learned not to get discouraged at this point and to just keep going with the painting. The next step that I'm going to take is to warm up the colors. I'm adding some yellow. I did not mix any yellow in the beginning, so I'm using some from another painting palette. You could also take some time to mix more if you don't have any on your palette and need to use some. I'm dropping in some more green. I'm trying to keep things uneven on the leaf, I don't want all the colors to meld into one even tone. I'm just going to keep going with all of the leaves in the same way. Adding some yellow to warm it up, and then dropping in some green to give additional tones and texture and a sense of three-dimensional shape. I'm also going to drop in some red. This if you remember in the leaf that I was using as my example, there were some red tones, some brown tones, some damaged areas to the leaves, and I want to convey that. I'll just do the same technique for each of the leaves, adding yellow, adding green. If your paint goes off the edge of what you've already painted, you can neaten it up, smooth it out. Don't despair if this happens. That's easily fixed. I want a sense of different colors in these leaves, the shape and texture. I'm adding some lines for a sense of the veins, but I'm smoothing them out a bit because we're not going to paint the veins until later. It's just a slow process of leaf by leaf. Adding the color, mixing the paint on the page, lifting off some paint in areas. We just need to have fun with it. This isn't going to be our last layer either. When you're painting know that it's a process. I would normally be turning my paper, but to make it easier to record, I'm standing up while I'm painting this and moving around the edge of my table. Adding some color just on the edges of the leaves helps to give a sense of the three-dimensional shape. I like the way this is looking, add a bit more of that red. I'm not really looking at the railroads leaf as my model now, I'm just looking at the painting as a whole, seeing what looks good to me. Sometimes I work very closely from the plant and sometimes I don't. Some of these leaves are going to be lighter than others, some are darker. Smoothing out the edges here with red and green. Getting very close now to finishing this next layer. I think it's looking pretty good. We'll let this dry and we'll continue in the next lesson. 12. Rose Leaves Part 3: One thing that will really help this leaf look finished is to paint the stem. I'm going to paint it with some red using a very fine brush, and when you're working with a concentrated amount of paint and a fine brush, you may have to load your brush multiple times. Just go slowly adding paint as you need to, moving your paper as you need to, and follow the shape of the leaf. Then we can also connect the leaves to the stem. They connect to the stem opposite one another. So add these little stems to the leaves and continue with the length of the stem as well. We're going to paint this connector here, the wake next to the main stem. I like how it's kind of a green blending into the red. Then to deepen the color of the stem and make it more of a reddish brown, I'm going to add some green here. These two colors are going to mix on the paper but I don't want them to be evenly mixed. I want to have some variation. I want to have some sense of the red, some sense of the green, and then also some mixed brown. That's kind of how the whole set of leaves and this painting is altogether. Then we're going to work on the veins. I'm using a medium green, and I'm going over, first the center vein and then I'm painting the veins that radiate out from that. These are even with one another. I'm painting fewer than are on the actual leaf. I'm making it look even. I'm making it look right for the painting. Now for this one, on the main vein, I painted lines on both sides of the red that was already there. I'll do that here too, showing the thickness of that main vein. I'm going to brush it slightly with some water to even it out. A nice thick center and then the thin lines radiating out from that center. I'm not counting and trying to make them even. I'm eyeballing what looks right for each leaf. I'm continuing on through each of the leaves in the same way. One of the nice things about working with the cold pressed paper is that the paper itself has some texture, and I think this lends itself really well to botanical. It gives an organic sense. The paint does its own thing and it makes it look a lot more like an actual leaf with the textures and the unpredictability or the organic nature of it. Just one of the magical things about working with watercolor. So again, painting these thin lines along the red center veins that I painted before. Then the thinner lines that come from the center to the edge, keeping them lined up with one another, and radiating out. These veins are making our painting look a lot more finished. Here, I'm adding a little bit more red to these centers, deepening it up. The fine details really help your painting look finished. Some leaves have finer details like this than others. Sometimes you'll choose to emphasize the details on a leaf and sometimes you'll choose to de-emphasize the details. It's really up to you. Your style, the way you want your finished painting to look. What I like about this leaf is really gives the sense of that end of summer, autumn null look that the leaves have now. A little bit damaged at the end of their life. A faded beauty. I like having the variation in tones and darkness. Here these veins are pretty dark compared to the other ones. Makes it stand out, it makes it pop. Since this leaf has a darker color, it's going to need some darker veins as well. But I like how they fade away too. This leaf is a bit curved. Have that sense with the veins as well. I'm going to add some more details to the stem, darken it up a bit, blend out the tones to make it little more even adding more red here. I really like the drama of the red stem. Those underlying tones that we added, the green, that's still there, and it blends nicely giving it depth. Working on the connections a bit more anchoring these leaves to the stem, and then adding some more red to the veins. As you can see, I have gotten almost all the paint off my brush. It's not as dark as the stem but I'm going to blend it. Let it blend out from the stem onto the vein. I'll make it pop a little more and make it look more finished. I like the way each of these leaves is facing a different direction. Makes it look more natural, more organic adding a bit more of a finishing touch to our painting. That looks good. I think we're good. Here's the finished dried leaf. 13. On Your Own: I hope that now you're inspired to begin painting leaves with watercolor. Look around and I know you'll find lots of subjects to choose from, whether they're inside or out. If you're just starting out, begin with leaves with the simplest shape, and as your skills increase, build in complexity from there. On your own, for your project, paint a leaf or leaves with watercolor and share a photo in the Class Projects section. You can paint one leaf, you can paint many leaves. You can work in your sketchbook, you can work on a single page. The choice up to you. Thanks so much for taking this class. I look forward to seeing what you create.