Best Leaf Painting Technique and Process by Ayesha Zaheer/2023

Meet The Artist

About The Author- Ayesha Zaheer

I am from Islamabad, Pakistan. I have been creating art since I was young and took art classes for over 3 years in high school. I took part in Art Exhibitions and won a few times. Initially, my sister inspired me to start creating art but my teacher Mr.Ball was a great motivation since he let me experiment a lot during that time with various mediums. And I often remember him to stay motivated to keep creating art.

My Leaf Painting Inspiration!

I am trying to find my own style in Art so I have worked with many mediums like acrylic paints, oil paint, pen, plaster of Paris, foam, usually made on canvas, pressed leaves, glass bottles, and other mixed media arts.

I personally love painting on pressed autumn leaves. These leaf paintings started in 2016 when I was just pressing leaves for my art journal and started to paint them. Since then I have learned how to preserve them and paint them using acrylic or oil paint.

Autumn leaves are significant to the theme of my Art that all this beauty does not truly last, such as landscape painted on them.

I love painting nature. I feel closer to nature when I am painting on leaves or painting landscapes. It reflects on the blessing we have and that are often taken for granted sometimes.

Leaf Painting Technique and Process

I want to share the leaf painting process with you because I often get asked how I paint on something as fragile and delicate as a leaf!

Materials You Need:

  • Leaves
  • Books
  • Paper
  • Acrylic or oil paint
  • Varnish or gloss varnish

Collecting leaves:

  • Find flat fallen leaves in the autumn season or collect them from a nearby tree.
  • It is necessary to ensure the leaves are clean from dust and debris before pressing them.
  • If the leaves are not clean, then clean them in a water bath and remove any soil or dust on the leaf.
  • Let the water dry on the leaves.
  • Make sure the leaves you have collected are flat. If you want an antique look, damaged leaves are okay to press dry.

Pressing leaves:

  • I press the leaves in thick books between pages.

Drying period of leaves:

  • Depending on moisture in the surrounding environment and the temperature the leaves should dry within 2 weeks approximately.
  • It is necessary to keep checking on the leaves, and to keep them away from humidity and moisture because then the leaves will get molded.
  • You can place each leaf in white printer paper or pages then place in between the book.
  • It is also necessary to place leaves every 8-10+ pages apart in the book depending on paper thickness. This will create better drying environment for the leaves.

Putting gloss or varnish on back of the leaves:

  • Make sure the leaves are fully dried.
  • Stick the paper tape.
  • As I was experimenting with leaf painting, I learnt that it is important to paint the back side of the leaf first because this will preserve the leaf to some extent and make it sturdy.
  • You can either use gloss varnish or varnish of your choice.
  • Make sure to dry properly.

Covering leaf with gesso on the front side:

  • It is important to cover the side of the leaf you will paint with a layer of gesso.
  • Make sure to dry the gesso for at least 15-30 minutes.

Painting the leaf according to imagination, observation of images or any other way you would like to paint the leaves:

  • In this step, you can paint the subject matter that interests you on the leaf.

Apply oil based varnish on the final leaf painting after at least 1 week of drying period:

  • Make a mixture of varnish and turpentine oil

Explore more of my work on social media! Thankyou!