Sassafras Leaf

Sassafras Leaf


This was one of the most enjoyable paintings I have done in a while. Each layer was a delicious, lovely, earthy color that captured a beautiful autumn afternoon in the woods! Autumn is my favorite time of year and I adore every one of changing shifting colors. I also love the challenge of painting textures in a way that makes them alive. If you would like to see a brief step by step view of the color layering with notes on the process just forward to the next page.

Line Drawing

I began by completing a line drawing in H2 graphite. Subtly drawing in the major veins and edges of the shadow. I used masking fluid to seal off any areas like fungal blemishes or holes in the leaf.

Quinacridone Gold

Next, I added a base layer of Quinacridone Gold, which is the base tone of the specimen I found and acts as an underpainting for the transparent pigments that are layered over it.

Burnt Sienna

Another transparent pigment, as the second layer goes on I begin to form more vein details with negative space.

Burnt Sienna

More Burnt Sienna goes on being layered in a semi-uniform application. I allow it to be thicker and thinner alternately to enrich texture and shape as I observe it in the specimen.

Indian Red

Next is Indian Red similarly, applied as thinly as possible as it is not transparent. It should not be applied as a complete wash but selectively based on the sample specimen. I applied washes of either Burnt Sienna or Indian red over the veins while varying the intensity of the pigment.

Final Details

The last color washes I applied was Alizarin Crimson and Pyrelene Maroon in only some areas of the leaf, again with variance on the intensity and thickness of the pigment. I then layered in the shadow with washes of Neutral Tint.Last I removed the masking flued from the fungal blemishes and painted them in with Naples Yellow and Raw Umber.

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