Turning fallen leaves into works of art.
Some of the Year 5 children at my local primary school were looking through my artwork portfolio and become incredibly excited about three paintings I did while on holidays a few years ago. I had run out of watercolour paper so the paintings were done in acrylic directly onto dead leaves picked out of the resort's garden. There were two simple little seascapes and a silhouette of a Whistling Kite on a sunset background.
I was a little distracted at that moment and without really thinking about it said, "Yeah, I probably could."
A few minutes later five of the kids had returned with leaves for me to paint.
Now, I have orders for a butterfly, a mermaid, a cat, a surfboard with a tikki on it, and a fairy - actually three pretty fairies in a garden, one with blond hair and a purple dress, one with brown hair and a pink dress and one with black hair and a blue dress, all holding wands in one hand and a basket of cut picked flowers in the other. (It's nice to know exactly what you want) Mind you this is all to be painted onto a gum leaf less than 20cm long so the fairies will end up being about 15mm tall.
I had to call a halt to it there or half the school would have turned up with leaves for me to paint. As it was, there were quite a few disappointed kids. One commented that she wished she could do leaf paintings herself.
Not a bad idea.
The technique is simple enough for children to pick up and you don't need a wealth of artistic tallent to do them. Some very simple designs can be very effective. I started to put together a step-by-step tutorial on leaf art, gearing up to run a workshop for the children interested in learning how to do the paintings themselves.
I soon discovered, it wouldn't take too much more effort to expand the tutorial into a fully fledged how-to ebook. Along with the basic techniques, I'm going to document the process of painting the leaves for my Year 5 kids - from brief, to design, to finished painting - as part of the book.
I have completed the first commissioned leaf, the butterfly and its new owner was ecstatic with the result. Her mum is getting it framed for her so it won't get damaged.
I will post a link to the tutorial, one it is complete.