Autumn nurtures the creative spirit.

Now is the perfect time to find the best leaves for pressing and then use to doodle, an easy, relaxing art project for anyone. While walking in your neighbourhoods the coming weekends, look for colourful dry leaves. Sandwich the leaves between newsprint or paper towels and then add weight with books. Leave them for a couple of weeks and then take out your paints and have fun. Or if you are in a hurry, paint directly on the leaves on the day you pick them.  They may curl but they will still be beautiful. This post was previously published.

painted maple leaf in red and white

I would like to think that fall, more than winter, is Canada's season. And October, is arguably the most beautiful month of the year.

The cooling breezes of October are a welcome relief from the sweltering, humid summers. We are ready for the apples and pumpkins that will be made into pies and muffins, ready for family gatherings at Thanksgiving, and all the other rituals associated with fall.

October is perfect to collect fallen leaves

The leaves that have fallen to the ground are easy pickings for art. Last year, I painted leaves and made cards that I gave as gifts to friends and to a blog subscriber.  Giving Thanks...and a gift for one of my subscribers.

I also collected and pressed leaves in an old flower press.

creating a lacy pattern on autumn leaves

acrylic doodles on autumn leafI had forgotten about those leaves until I saw the press a few weeks ago, and opened it to find these little treasures ready to be used.

Another distraction!

I have never attempted doodles on leaves, and this was a welcome diversion from the portraits I was struggling to paint.

Supplies needed to paint fall leaves

Here is what you will need if you want to paint a few leaves or if you would like to try this with your children or grandchildren:

- acrylic craft paint or acrylic ink. Acrylic craft paint is available in most dollar stores. Gold and sepia are very attractive on leaves but children will probably choose more vivid colours such as Christmas red, or pumpkin orange.

- cheap brushes also from the local dollar store. Smaller brushes are best to fill in little spaces; however, for young children, bigger brushes will be easier to handle.

- old clothes to wear while painting. Acrylic will stain if it gets on clothes.

- newspapers or drop sheets to protect the surface while you are painting.

- water

Instructions for painting fall leaves

The leaves should be pressed and left to dry for a few weeks before they are used. Pressing makes the leaves less waxy and the paint adheres better to the leaf. If you don't have time to press, you might try using a layer of clear gesso which can be bought at a craft supply store such as Michaels. The gesso will seal the leaf and create a bit of a gritty texture which is perfect for the acrylic doodles.

gold and black acrylic on autumn leaf

Children could get involved too. Make sure their clothes are well covered though. I found out that acrylic paint doesn't come off clothes once it has set in.

painted leaf transformed in app
Painted leaf transformed in app.

A painted leaf can be made more appealing by softening some of the more obvious little splotches here and there within any number of apps. Try uploading the leaf and test the app's different features after you have finished painting it.

There are many free apps that will allow you to experiment with various "looks".

Glaze is a good start as it is easy to use and has some free features.  You will be amazed at the transformation to your leaf achieved by playing with this app.

If you do paint leaves this fall, upload them and send them to me.

Sharing is part of the spirit of giving thanks isn't it? I will publish your leaves in an upcoming post.

Happy Fall!

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