Mixed Media Autumn Leaf Painting

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Mixed Media Autumn Leaf Painting

We've continued to experiment with doodled autumn leaves in combination with other fall arts and crafts ideas just because they are so fun and beautiful. These fall paintings were recently made by Maia and Daphne on canvas with paints, leaves, and metallic sharpies.

The sharpie drawings were more of an afterthought on this particular project, but such a nice one. I'm starting to think that every art project needs a little silver or gold sharpie addition…

Kids Fall Leaf Paintings 05

Maia requested paints in fall colors, so I got out our
BioColor paints
in red, orange, gold, yellow, etc (tempera or acrylic paints would work, too). She painted graduated rectangles around her canvas…

Kids Fall Leaf Paintings 03

…and Daphne painted hers pink and orange and then covered it all over with red. They both added (pressed and dried) leaves to the wet paint. Daphne used small red leaves in a random design while Maia created a frame around the edge of her canvas with larger leaves.

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Once the paintings were dry, I set them out with metallic sharpies as a simple after school art project.

Kids Fall Leaf Paintings 18

Maia carefully traced the veins of a couple of her leaves.

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Daphne circled the canvas with her sharpie and then added smaller drawings directly on some of the leaves and also on the painted canvas part. 

(As usual, I lovef seeing how the two of them approach art projects so differently!)

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I added a coat of
mod podge
to the leaves to help preserve them and also to make them more vibrant and shiny.

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I love the look of the leaves in combination with the canvas paintings!

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Love it! I don't know why we didn't think to add autumn leaves to our paintings before now. We've added just about anything else you can think of—glitter, salt, tissue paper, construction paper, 3D objects… 

Have you tried anything like this? Or have any other leaf arts and crafts ideas for us? I'm in the mood to try anything leaf related!

P.S. Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for 1 of 20 copies of my autumn crafts ebook! You have until midnight EST.

P.P.S. If you haven't signed up for my weekly newsletter yet, I hope you will consider subscribing. While I link to the blog posts from the past week (a great way to stay informed if you don't check in on the blog regularly), I also include personal updates, a kids' art activity (sometimes new–as it was this week–and sometimes from the archives), and a list of artful ideas from around the web. 

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  1. gwen ottinger says

    Hi Jean,
    My fourth graders are currently working on acrylic paintings inspired by local (Asheville) artist Brad Stroman. Their theme for the first quarter is change over time, so we are talking about the slow and fasts changes the leaves go through over time. I think you would enjoy his work, basically the paintings are very textured backgrounds with trompe l’oeil leaves and other natural objects arranged on top.

  2. amanda says

    I was looking for some after school art to do today. I have two canvasses just waiting to be used. It is 1:30 and I have the supplies set up for when we get home. All except the leaves but we will get those on the bike ride home.
    I am a little disappointed that art at my son’s school is on Tuesdays and he only goes Mon , Wed and Fri. Though now that he is in a more structured school environment he seems to desire our free art activities and free play at home a lot more.
    Thanks as always for being an amazing resource.

  3. says

    These are great! Love the colors – those bio colors seem so vibrant.
    ps. Ada and I made the chocolate chip pumpkin muffins today. They are all gone already. :)

  4. amanda says

    No leaves at all ended up on the canvasses. I was amazed at the two different approaches. Gaius (4) painted his entire canvass red and then added blue to make purple on most of it and used brushes to make texture. Apollo (2) used much more colour and the most amazing thing was his use of the brush water. He very carefully poured the brush rinse water on to his canvas, it had an amazing effect, he asked for more water and repeated his process three times.
    It was a great day for art in our house today. They have both chosen people they would like to send them too but I want them both for my walls.

  5. pınar says

    is it really autumn? we have lots of sunshine still in İstanbul:)the idea is great, I’m gonna buy some canvas today and start to work with my 6 year old right away..

  6. Megan says

    This looks like such a fun project! I love to see how the different ages approach the same materials.

  7. Melisa Jaenisch says

    This looks like fun and we have leaves! Just wondering what kind of canvas did you use for the biocolors/tempera paints?

  8. Fleur Magick Dennis says

    Hi, I tried this with my sons and we had trouble getting the leaves to stick in the paint – any pointers?