Beauty in Life and Death

Today after finishing a nice, pre-sunset run, something caught my eye. The sun was hitting the leaves just right, causing them to glow as they shimmered on their branch.

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As I continued to walk towards my house, I happened to notice a beautiful leaf on the ground. It had begun to develop beautiful spots dark spots–no longer part of its life source, yet still holding onto some of its color. It was breathtaking.

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Walking through an alley way, I discovered the beauty of a leaf as it became one with the earth.

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Nature in all stages offers such beauty. Take the time to enjoy it this week!

‘Til later…happy explorations!

Nature Watercolor Challenge: DAY SEVEN!

Well, we once again find ourselves at the end of another challenge. I must say I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the watercolor explorations! 

For today’s challenge, I focused my attention to interesting leaves (on the ground!). About 2 minutes into my walk, I stumbled upon an interesting little leaf. The thing that grabbed my attention most was its shape. It was bone dry–bent and twisted into a dance-like position. So, taking that leaf home–as well as an extra emergency leaf of the same type, I painted the following:

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Once I began exploring the leaf, I decided to use the interesting, jagged edge of my emergency leaf as a stencil to create my background–focusing on the dancing leaf as my main subject. Very enjoyable exploration!

I hope you all have enjoyed this challenge as much as I have! As always, if any of you gave this challenge a try, I’d love to see your resulting explorations! And now…off on my trip! 

‘Til later…happy explorations!

Nature Painting Challenge: DAY TWO!

For today’s challenge, I focused on painting the TEXTURES in the natural environment. Specifically, I concentrated on the textures of branches, leaves, and rocks–adding touches of my explorations into my painting. Here is my resulting work:

Here is a close-up of a few of my texture explorations:

For tomorrow’s explorations, continue building your painting using PATTERNS that you find in nature, such as repeating lines, dots, bumps, or ridges. Find one specific natural pattern to really study and focus on for tomorrow’s investigations.

‘Til tomorrow…happy explorations!

 

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!

The Amazing Leaf Art Of Kazuo Akasaki!

This evening I happened upon the beautiful work of Japanese artist Kazuo Akasaki, who “paints” incredible images using nothing but fallen leaves. After looking at his images, my mind began racing with possibilities for explorational learning art projects. Here are a few of his beautiful works for your viewing pleasure:

Enjoy! 🙂