Framed Leaf Art

I created this artwork on 20”X16” framed canvases, then bordered them with metal frames. The wall paint in the room was incorporated into the art to create the leaves.  Otherwise, only three acrylic paint colors were used: rust, gold, and olive. Each of these are the dominant color on one canvas, but all are used in varying shades in each picture.
The leaves on the canvases are created with the same small stencils used in my 3-D Wall Leaves Project.  The stencils are scanned into the computer, then enlarged and printed out in sections. Photoshop or a similar program is needed to enlarge the stencils.  See the complete directions below.
The enlarged image on the left allows you to see the many different applications of color.  The secret to this finish is to keep adding color.  If you end up with too much light in one area, you can go over it again, with a darker shade.

Directions

Creating The Large Leaf Stencil

step 1 - Using the small leaf stencil featured in my 3-D Leaves Project, place a dark page behind the stencil and scan it into your computer.  Open the image in Photoshop. From the image menu select “canvas size” and change it to 16”X 20” inches. Drag guides to create a 1.5” margin on all four sides. Also drag a vertical guide to 10” and a horizontal one to 8”.  These divide the page in four sections, left to right and top to bottom.

 

step 2 - If the leaf image is part of the background layer on the screen, copy it and paste it into a new layer, then clear the background.

step 3 - With the leaf layer selected, go to “transform” from the “edit” menu and click on “scale”.  Hold down the shift key (which constrains the image proportions) and drag a corner of the leaf until the image fills the space inside the 1.5” guides.

step 3 - With the leaf layer selected, go to “transform” from the “edit” menu and click on “scale”.  Hold down the shift key (which constrains the image proportions) and drag a corner of the leaf until the image fills the space inside the 1.5” guides.

step 4 - Draw four short lines across the center guides.  Since you will be printing the four sections of the image separately, these lines will help you to easily line up the four printouts.

step 4 - Draw four short lines across the center guides.  Since you will be printing the four sections of the image separately, these lines will help you to easily line up the four printouts.

step 5 - Drag the rectangular tool from the upper left corner of the toolbox to the center point of the page where the vertical and horizontal guides meet.  From the “edit” menu select “copy”, then open a new window.

step 6 - Place what you copied in the new window.  Select “page setup” from the edit menu and click on landscape orientation.  Now print the page on white card stock.

step 6 - Place what you copied in the new window.  Select “page setup” from the edit menu and click on landscape orientation.  Now print the page on white card stock.

step 7 - Go back to the original leaf image and repeat these steps, copying a different quarter section of the page each time.

step 8 - When the pages are printed, match up the short lines, cutting away excess margins that overlap.  Tape the 4 sections together.  Using an Exacto knife, cut out the color sections, to create your stencil.

step 9 -Rust Canvas Painting Directions Cover the canvas entirely with the rust paint.  When it dries, center your personally crafted leaf stencil on the surface. With painter’s tape secure the outer edges in place.

step 9 -Rust Canvas Painting Directions

Cover the canvas entirely with the rust paint.  When it dries, center your personally crafted leaf stencil on the surface. With painter’s tape secure the outer edges in place.

step 10 - I suggest wearing plastic gloves for this project.  Pour the wall paint in a shallow container.  Apply it to the stencil with a paint dauber or a sponge.  Be sure the sponge is only lightly coated with paint so it doesn’t run and seep under the stencil borders.  It may be worthwhile to give it two light coats instead of one heavier one.  Hold down all edges of the stencil as you work.  When the paint is dry, remove the stencil.

step 11 - The paint colors in this project should not be used as they come, but mixed together to create different variations on their color. When mixing paint for this project, work toward subtlety. The amount of one paint you add to another will determine the final color, so play with different combinations to see what appeals to you.  

step 12 - Put down the darkest colors first - in this case olive with rust. Next try rust with some olive added to create another shade of rust.  The gold can be mixed with the rust, then with the olive giving you two different lighter shades.

step 13 - Cut up and crumple a square of kitchen plastic wrap, measuring about six inches.  You should use a new piece of wrap for each different color paint.  The crumple lines will create interesting effects on the canvas.  Re-crumple the wrap when it goes too flat.  Touch one side of the crumpled plastic wrap to the paint.  Do not “load” it heavily.  With light pressure dab the wrap on the canvas.   Pick up and move to another area dabbing, and picking up more paint as needed.  Also, change hand positions so the final product doesn’t look uniform.  Initially, the canvas may look overly speckled, but as you add layers of different colors, it will become more blended.  Be careful not to add so much paint to the leaf area that it loses definition.

step 14 - When the paint has dried, it’s time to outline the leaf edges to give it dimension.  Using the darkest rust color you blended, (on other canvases it will be darkest olive and darkest gold) trace around one side of leaf edges with a small paint brush. Do not completely encircle the shape.  Imagine a light is shining down from the canvas top. Only the undersides of the leaf would be in shadow. Look at my close-up photo on the right as a reference.  Use the above steps to create the two other canvases.


Supplies

Craft Store

  • 3 canvases 20”X16”
  • 3 silver frames
  • 3 colors acrylic paint
  • paint dauber or sponge
  • exacto knife
  • painter’s tape
  • laytex gloves
  • small paint brush

Lowe's

  • stencils

Miscellaneous

  • plastic kitchen wrap

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