Well folks, September is here. And with it, the beginning of Fall. I know, I know, some of you are fighting the onset of Fall with all your might, and some are welcoming it with pumpkin-spiced open arms. I’m somewhere in between. But while I was playing with my watercolors over the weekend, I was struck with the urge to paint something that would incorporate a leaf motif. After a few tries and some thinking, I landed on this abstract watercolor art layered with the silhouette of a maple leaf. Because nothing says “the beginning of Fall” quite like a maple leaf!
To be fair, I originally sat down with visions to paint a purple-and-blue watercolor maple leaf. I dove right in and because I’m all about keeping things real around here, here’s a look at where that attempt wound up:
Now, I know this isn’t totally terrible looking, but it’s not what I had in mind. I kind of overshot the size of my leaf compared to the paper. Ooops! But instead of re-painting this version, I switched gears a bit and decided on a simpler and layered look that would include an abstract watercolor background and a leaf shape on top.
In my humble and very novice watercolor-er opinion, this abstract ombre wash effect is a pretty easy (and quick!) look to create. If I’d made this art without running 5 hours’ worth of errands in between steps, I’d have spent more time waiting for the paint to dry than I would creating the background and leaf silhouette pieces combined. Seriously, folks, it’s *that* simple.
If you’d like a little how-to, grab your notepad and pencil and here we go…
How To Paint an Ombre Abstract Background:
First, select 3 colors you’d like to use. You could do more if you like. I, of course, wanted a gradient of purple-y colors. Surprise, surprise!
Start at the top of the watercolor paper (I am using the same Canson 140lb cold-pressed paper I mentioned in this post) with the lightest color and paint about 1/3 of the page, like so:
Then pick up the second, slightly darker color and go about another third of the way down the page, blending where the first color stops.
Then pick up the third and even darker color and paint to the bottom of the page. I should have mentioned earlier that it’s a good idea to set your paper atop a piece of scrap paper or even a plastic placemat so you don’t end up painting your kitchen table.
Now set the painting aside to dry for at least 30 minutes. Or call your mom and head to lunch and the fabric store for a few hours to make sure it’s reaaallllyyy dry.
Meanwhile, select a shape for the leaf. I found this maple leaf shape in my Silhouette Studio Library and cut it out of a piece of silver metallic scrapbook paper with my Cameo. It’s hard to see in this picture, but the leaf dimensions are about 4.5″ x 4.25″. The dimensions of my watercolor background are 6″ x 9″.
If you don’t have a Silhouette or Cricut or similar machine, you could find and print a shape online.
Once the leaf was cut and the paint was dry, I used photo squares to adhere the leaf shape to the background. Then I popped it into a frame and called it a day!
Oh, and when the hubs got home from work, he asked where I bought this print! So, not only is this project simple and quick to create, but you might fool someone into thinking you bought it! That’s a win-win-win in my book (wink).
Love this? Then you may also like…
This other simple pressed leaves art I made using real leaves from my backyard! Or, if you’re looking for other abstract ombre paintings, check out some canvas acrylic paintings I’ve done here and here.