Painting Leaves with Lighter Veins: Exercise (Video)

Let’s practice how to paint leaves with veins that are lighter than the primary color of the leaf. Although the focus is often on the flower, painting leaves can be tricky and even more time consuming than the flower, depending on the number of them. When you have lighter veins, you can’t just fill in the entire surface area with a flat wash, like we did with the blackberry leaves. You have to work around the veins, since the white of the paper provides the source of light in every watercolor painting. With practice this technique will get quicker and quicker, but my advise is to embrace the process and get into a meditative flow when you have to paint a lot of leaves.

After you’ve practiced with me here, we can move on to the next video where we paint in the leaves on our Rosa canina composition.

Specimen: For this exercise, I encourage you to go outside and look for any leaf that has lighter veins. Once you start looking closely, you are sure to find many. Otherwise you can look at the specimen photo for the Rosa canina.

Pigments: Phthalo Blue (or Prussian blue), Pure Yellow (or lemon yellow/ cool yellow), Alizarin Crimson, Green Gold.