I don't know about you, but the first thing I think of when I think of fall is leaves. All the amazing fall colors are so inspiring, so I thought I would take this week to pay homage to leaves. Plus leaves are a favorite subject of mine and I love to recreate them in my work. Hopefully you can find the same inspiration this week. There are so many shapes, textures and colors of leaves , that the possibilities are vast. The life cycle of a leaf is incredible to watch and offers so many different inspirations; from the first glimpse of a sprouting leaf to the soft, smooth, bright green baby leaf, to the mature leaf in all its dark green splendor and distinct shape, to the dying leaf as it changes color to reveal something completely different. Even a dead, dried up leaf or the "skeleton" of a leaf can provide interesting textures, shapes and patterns which can be translated into some form of art. Of course you can also use the actual leaf in your work, or as the subject of a photo. Here are some leaf items I found on Etsy. It was very hard to choose just a few, there were so many gorgeous leaves (I told you they were inspiring). To see more work by the artist or purchase one of the items, just click on the photo to be linked to their Etsy shop! The skeleton leaf photo above was found on Flickr, and is titled "Delicate" and was taken by Kit, the 2nd is a photo, titled "Fallen" was found on Etsy and was taken by annwidner.etsy.com .
So take a little time over the next couple weeks to study leaves, especially as they begin to change into their fall colors. I love to see the leaves that are just beginning to turn or are halfway there. You might find vivid bright greens next to bright yellow or red with a little brown. They truly look like watercolor paintings at that point. Look carefully at the structure of the leaf, it's shape and it's veins and pay careful attention to how they connect, and the patterns they create . Look at how the leaves are arranged on the tree and
it's branches. For example think of the fern and how it is leaves are very symmetrical and made up of many tiny leaves. Pay careful attention to texture as well, like the texture of my favorite, the ginkgo leaf, or the texture of a dried leaf and how it contrasts with the smoothness of a new leaf. The best way to study leaves is to get out in nature and observe them in their natural habitat. Take a walk in the woods, or just look at the leaves in and around your neighborhood or yard. I make it a practice to collect interesting leaves whenever I take a walk. I dry them and save them for later when I need a reference or a little inspiration. If you can't get out to see some leaves in person, then get a reference book from the library or check out the amazing photos in these Flickr groups: One Leaf, Leaves, Leafs and the Like, or Leaves.
A great way to share a little inspiration with your little one is to do leaf rubbings. Gather some leaves and place them under a piece of paper and rub crayon over the leaves to see the impression. This never ceases to amaze kids. They think it's magic and they get to create a beautiful piece of art.
So get out there and jump into a leaf pile for a little inspiration. You may never look at raking the leaves the same again. It may seem more like a treasure hunt than a chore!