Painting Leaves – What To Look For

by Neadeen Masters on November 24, 2012

When Painting Leaves what do artists look for?

Leaves are the accessories of the flowers and fruit that we artists love to paint. They usually play a supporting role with in any floral composition and provide us with opportunities to repeat and carry color for harmony and contrast. In any painting they frame the flowers or fruit and create color balance, create interest and add amazing detail. Note the way that the leaves in this fruit composition below, radiate out from the main stem, the artist and Mother Nature sure knows how to create!

Painting Leaves - What to Look For? - Art Apprentice Online

Look for Shape and Details when Painting Leaves

When we study leaves, it is important to look at their shape, details, edges, and color. Study their veins too… as the vein pattern on the front and the back of the leaf are very interesting to observe. Note the way the veins grow in relation to the outer edge and type of leaf.
Leaves come in all shapes and sizes, as a result the vein patterns and details will often be different on each leaf. Compare different types of leaves to see the variety of edges and details. Observe how they are attached to the stem.

Painting Leaves - Look for Shape and Details in Leaves - Art Apprentice Online




It was once said, that leaves are only green petals. The same basic principles of good art theory also applies to painting leaves. The artist will handle the flower petals in the same way as they paint the leaves. Relative to form, leaves are ‘cylinder-like’ shapes of turning, twisting, receding and advancing forms. All of which are described with shifting ranges of value, intensity, and temperature. The individual characteristics of each kind of leaf will also be taken into consideration.

Here’s an Important  Tip when Painting Leaves

In order to create depth and dimension in your painting, flowers and leaves positioned in the background of the painting should fade into the background. To do so the artist should understand the concept of lost and found edges and can paint them with softer edges. Some important flowers and leaves will come forward into the focal area, these will often have greater detail and more found or hard edges. The elements in the focal area should have crisper and sharper edges than the rest of the composition. Its all about contrasts between groupings, and leaves and flowers are no different from each other. As previously mentioned… leaves are just green petals. That is so very true.

Painting Leaves - Painting Pattern - Art Apprentice Online - Sharon Hamilton Painting Leaves – Painting Pattern – Art Apprentice Online – Sharon Hamilton

E-Book – Introduction to Painting Leaves with Sharon Hamilton. 

This short booklet is an in-depth study on the importance of how leaves impact a composition.  Sharon covers leaf structure including the many serration characteristics of leaves, vein development and how to work with turned edges.   There are a multitude of photos and illustrations throughout the text.  The artist uncovers some of the secrets to painting your own beautiful leaves.

Sign up for free our newsletter to recieve tips,

specials and keep inspired to paint!

Email Marketing You Can Trust

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Unrulywitch April 30, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I’m trying to add this to my wishlist, how do I go about that?


Linda Schneider September 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Beautiful leaves


Neadeen Masters April 4, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Thank you,


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: