Variety in leaf forms

Leaf forms of common houseplants

Leaf forms of common houseplants

Ficus Benjamina

Ficus Benjamina – leaf

Chamaedrea leaf

Chamaedrea leaf

Dracena Marginata

Dracena Marginata -leaf

Leaf forms of common houseplants

Leaf forms of common houseplants

Some line drawings of leaves of some of my indoor plants.. got side tracked from the petunia again but I figured….it will happen when it has to happen…

By the roadside…



the background leaves..


             Here is a photo of the rest of the foreground leaves. They look very light but this will help in pushing them forward from the background plane. I`ve also started on a couple of veins for the main fg leaves. A fine dark line on one side will make the central vein look more prominent. For the rest of the veins I`ve used DS chinese white tinted with a yellow green.


                  Here I`ve done the bunch of leaves on the right side, they are somewhere in the middle layer; in shadow , so of a dark value. Done wet on dry, with few details like central veins here and there and a couple of shadows to establish some form for a few of them. 


             Started with a few of the background leaves..


                I`ve put in a very dark value in between the background leaves that I had painted (photo above), so this forms another plane. I`ve given the wall behind the foliage a rose-grey tinge instead of a neutral grey. Red is the complement of green and using this contrast makes both the colors (green in the leaves and red in the wall) appear more vivid than in any another combination.


                   Here (the portion to the right of the wing and above the larger rose), I`ve used another method; I took a dark value and put in that first, leaving white shapes for the leaves by negative painting.  Now I can either bring in the dark value of the bg into the white areas with a damp brush or use other colors (using other colors can be a bit tricky, you have to make sure that they are subdued enough so they don`t jump forward into the fg plane). You can also gently lay in a clear water wash over the bg leaves and drop in darker values (like I did on the right side of the buds). Whatever method you use, the aim is to create the illusion of foliage growing in multiple planes, one behind the other. Every area need not be perfectly understandable to the eye, that is not how you would see it in nature. Bits of information here and there lets the viewer construct reality but also give room for imagination.  


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† If you would like to follow along, here are my references….. The roses looked so beautiful that I just took pictures from every angle so now I have been able to construct this scene, but still I had missed a spot …….ha haaaaaaaa and I don`t have information for an area (top part, above photo) guess I`ll have to improvise..

red roses and rose leaves..


               I have started painting the roses in the foreground in the somewhat loose style as they are not the main focus here in this painting. In the first wash, I dropped in S ruby red(cool) and WN winsor red(warm). 


                 In these second washes, I`ve left the areas or petals having the lightest value (from the first wash) alone and strengthened the  remaining areas.


                   Here, I`ve put in shadows with S madder red dark and also with a mix of  ruby red with S cerulean blue tone.


              This rose is nearest to the viewer and has more of details to it than the others. I used some S translucent orange too, for the sunlit petals.


                    The first washes for the leaves contain DS hansa yellow medium, S cerulean blue tone and a bit of the reds. Mix three puddles Рyellow green, green and blue green and also puddles of the primary colors. Now you can add any of the primaries to any of your three green mixes to get the exact tone or shade of green that you need in each area. You need to add the red too to these particular green mixes to tone them down; if they were new, young leaves they would have those bright colors but not here. I`ve left a fine white line for the main veins. 


                 I`ve layed in stronger colors and also started with shadows. The shadows make a beautiful pattern here on the leaves, its a good idea to draw them in first. Shadows too have colors, they are not grey but they should always be duller than the sunlit areas. Add more of the reds for them but not so much that they dominate the greens and start looking grey. 


               Strengthened the shadows a bit more with the same colors.

the leaves..


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Leaves are flat and one dimensional but the way they twist and turn makes the¬†shadows within them which can be used to define their form.¬†The ultramarine blue and new gamboge¬†make nice yellow green to green¬†mixes without¬†having to dull them with a compliment. Schminke`s indigo (this is quite opaque)¬†can be added to give the blue greens.¬†A bit of ruby red added to the UB blue and yellow¬†mixes gives some nice darks for shadows. Since these are small areas, they¬†can be most conveniently done by the wet on dry method. Leave a fine line for the¬†central vein in the first wash and gently blend it in with a¬† yellow green in the next wash.¬†It won`t look right if you u paint it in after the leaf has completely dried.¬†While doing the individual leaves,¬†the overall form of the plant has also to be kept in mind… the upper leaves catch the light, they¬†have the most yellow in the yellow greens, the leaves at the bottom are in shadow and they are the¬†darkest,¬†a few leaves which are flat and without details will give the illusion of depth. In my reference, there`s very little interest in terms of the value arrangement and¬†all the values¬†lie almost exclusively in the mid range. By making the lights lighter and shadows darker, I`ve extended¬† this range a little.

            The lilac leaves right under the lilacs reflect a little of the flower color, so drop in a bit of the reds in the leaf washes. This adds interest to the leaves and ties the flowers and leaves together visually. The peony leaves actually do have a bit of the warm red in them at the edges. I`m going to make them a bit darker and cooler since here the peony bush is placed under the lilac tree. Always check whether the veins are opposite are alternate flowing, here they are alternate.