Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dogwood Sketch & Time-Lapse Video

I've painted quite a few fall leaves in the past couple of weeks, but I was especially struck by the deep, rich colors of these leaves from the Kousa dogwood tree in our yard. It seemed like every possible autumn color was right there in the leaves on this one twig - deep burgundies, rich golds, and shades of green ranging from chartreuse to teal.

Two-page spread in 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" Stillman and Birn Beta Series sketchbook, ink & watercolor

The leaves had layers of color which I tried to capture by layering my paints in multiple washes. Colors used were:

Yellow ochre
Raw sienna
Permanent rose
Ultramarine blue
Olive green
Hooker's green
Burnt umber
Burnt sienna

I did a little bit of scraping with an Xacto knife to pick out a few vein lines.


The rough bark was a lot of fun to paint.

 Aren't these seed pods cool-looking? And they're edible!

The drawings of the twigs and leaves were done with a Noodler's Nib Creaper Flex Pen filled with Noodler's Walnut ink, which was permanent on this Stillman and Birn Beta paper.

The border design and lettering were drawn with a brown Pitt pen, then painted with colors that echo the tones in the leaves.

If you like this border, you might want to check out my new Pinterest board that features an ever-growing collection of borders from the pages of my sketchbooks. Stop by to be inspired! (You must have a Pinterest account to see the page, but it's free to sign up.) I also have a Sketchbook Page Layouts board with lots of great ideas to jazz up your pages.

As a gift for reading this far, here's a time-lapse video showing the process I used to paint this page from my nature journal:

Total time to paint the dogwood leaves and border was about two hours, not counting a few breaks that I took to let things dry. I hope you enjoy watching it!


  1. I love this page, Leslie. Such rich, luscious colors! Love the border too, and am now following you on Pinterest.


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