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25 May 2011


by Regina Sabiston

Leaf paintings 1Leaf paintings 2Leaf paintings 3

(click the pictures for larger versions)

This is an actual leaf I picked in Pemberton, B.C. while visiting my son. I was amazed at the size of these leaves and picked several although I did not know what the name of the plant was from whence they came. If any of you can help me out with this information I would be appreciate your input.

The largest of the leaves is 12 inches across. I very carefully placed them in between two pieces of cardboard and brought them home where I then put them between wax paper and placed a small round patio block on top. I allowed them to dry completely, checking on them periodically. When they were completely dry I discovered that I could bring them back to life. How you might ask? Well the secret is in the medium I used.

I had been told that one can paint acrylic gel medium (matte or glossy) onto both sides of torn paper napkins etc. and then iron the overlapping bits of paper between parchment paper to make a collage. This got me to thinking. Trees are used to make paper so is this dried leaf not what paper is made of? If I paint both sides of this leaf with the gel medium (several coats) it will be equivalent to paper that I could use in a collage. I had seen leaves painted before, but the artists always struggled with the fragile leaves, sometimes having them crumble before their work of artwork was done so I decided to try this little experiment and that is when I discovered how pliable the medium made the leaf and how easily it allowed me to paint on it's surface.

Imagine my excitement at the discovery I had made. Now I could bring back to life each of the leaves I had dried and they would become canvases ready to be painted any way I wanted. The red bird in the first picture above is one I photographed while touring Vancouver.

I photographed the leaf painting before I put the glass into the frame. The glass holds down the leaf and protects it from the elements. Of course, this has got me thinking again of all the other ways I could use these leaves in a piece of artwork and as you well know, children love to pick leaves and press them.

Have I got your attention yet? Are you, too, not thinking of ways you could use this information to your advantage? Discovery as a result of experiments has its rewards. I urge you to play, live, love, laugh and finally share so that others might benefit from your discoveries.

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