Ginko Leaf

Every Autumn I select a new dry texture to challenge me in my painting and art work. Last fall it was this dry crumpled Ginko leaf. For me such exercises serve as creative artistic play. They can be very challenging but supply much opportunity for growth both in the medium and in creative problem solving.

I want loads of intimate detail, but know I also want to avoid photorealism. I absolutely adore the mechanics and devotion to micro-details in the work of some photorealists, whether they work in watercolor or in oil. However, what I aim for is to capture a kind of inner nature of the subject in addition to its physical nature.


  • Use several layers of veining, because of the leaf’s dry texture, and because the tone and color change often in the ripples of the leaf.
  • The color of light shining through the leaf calls for the merging of cold and warm tones in a shadow. Neutral tint is a must here.
  • Indigo lends a subtle purple tone to the shadow, which brightens the yellow through the use of chromatic contrasting.
  • Use Lamp Black on the edge of the leaf with 000 sable brush to punch it out.


  • Paper: Strathmore 140lb coldpress
  • Paint: Winsor and Newton Artists’ Water Colour: Naples Yellow, Indigo, Neutral Tint, Lamp Black, Chinese White, Burnt Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Red
  • Brushes: Round Sable 000, 00, 1; Round Camel Hair 1 (for lifting, as needed)
  • Other: Arabic Gum (liquid), H2 pencil, Q-tips
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