Oil Painting Tips – How to Paint Leaves

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Painting leaves is one of the most important part in any floral or nature painting. Looking at leaves closely one gets to understand the structure and textures in leaves which would otherwise wise go unnoticeable. When you think of painting leaves remember they are not just outlines in green. Begin with close observations on different types of leaves and then begin painting leaves. Here are a few oil painting tips for beginners to get the perfect leaf.

First tip for painting leaves is to begin by observing different types of leaves. Go to parks, gardens and nature trails and observe different types and shapes of leaves. This will help you understand that a leaf is not just something that is filled with color green. From the observations select any types of leaves you would like to paint. It would be best if you are a beginner in oil painting to keep real leaves in front of you to get a realistic nature painting. If you are painting a particular flower then do appropriately choose their relative leaves for best results.

Since a new artist would not get the shapes of leaves correctly it would be better if you draw a leaf on your canvas or paper before beginning to paint leaves. Once you have the structure then you can also draw few ridges and dividing lines in between for guidance during coloring process. Now you begin coloring which is the most difficult part as many experienced artist's also have to try hard to achieve the best results while painting leaves. Keep the nature concepts clear and understand that there are no outlines in nature. Here you will make a light outline of your leaf with a darker shade of viridian green. This works best for many artists' as viridian green is a best green and also merges easily in any other hue or shade of green.

Begin with filling your leaves with lime green or sap green closest to your model leaves original color. Here there are no rules and each artist can select a different green or make a new shade in green to get the closest green of your model leaf. After the basic filling or color you can use another shade of green to paint the ridges in between and also sections with the main dividing line. Most important tip for painting with oil paints is that once the leaves are painted let it dry and observe the final effect, as many times the fresh oil painted leaf will look bright but on drying you may not get the same effects and you would like to over paint it with a darker color. Finally paint the outline with free strokes of a darker shade of your leaf to get the neat boundary of your painted leaf structure demarcating its presence in your oil painting.

Some artists also paint the inside first and then go painting the outline, whereas some prefer to begin from outside and then fill up colors while painting leaves. There are no hard and fast rules for techniques in painting leaves and any method works as long as you get the perfect leaf!


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