Leaf Vein Painting

In preparation for March’s Nature Art Challenge (beginning Thursday, March 1st), I wanted to share with you one way that artists have explored and interacted with nature through PAINTING–and this method dates back several thousand years, derived from Chinese shell paintings.

The process to make a Leaf Vein Painting is rather time consuming and technically difficult, but as you can see from these images, the result is absolutely GORGEOUS:

Traditionally, the Leaf Vein Paintings are created using banyan tree leaves.

Here is a look at the process:

1. Collect mature and vein-rich leaves.

2. Leaves are put into a special temperature and humidity-controlled container to ferment.

3. After the fermentation is complete, the green mesophyll layer is carefully peeled off of the leaves, leaving the veins and a thin, transparent layer of flesh.

4. The leaf surface is then smoothed and leveled up to create a thin leather texture.

5. The leaf is then carefully painted–as the ink and paint is very easily soaked up by the leaf (so mistakes are easily made).

The traditional Leaf Vein Paintings, while absolutely beautiful, are a little more time consuming than would be feasible for my monthly Nature Art Challenges. However, they provide excellent inspiration for similar leaf painting projects. Here are a few more:


I hope you’re getting as excited for this month’s challenge as I am! Tomorrow I will post a few more ideas in preparation for the challenge–which begins in two days!

‘Til later…happy explorations!


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