Fall Color in Pastel!

Welcome creative friends! I hope you are all enjoying Autumn. It’s come rather late to our area. I took the photo below last week, and our trees only began losing their leaves a few days ago!

Since autumn has lingered in our area, I wanted to take the opportunity to gather up some inspiration from the color that surrounded me. But how? I haven’t had any time to paint, but I did have time to do a little color research.

Ever notice how the color of leaves can look so very different depending on how they are lit? Well, I wanted to record some of these observations….so here’s what I did.

First, I gathered up a variety of leaf specimens from a few trees in full color.

Here are a few of the leaves: these are from Japanese maple, oak, and tulip trees.

Next, I took photos of the leaves held up to the light as if they were being lit by the sun. Then I took photos without this backlight. In the photo below you can really see how the leaf’s color is dramatically changed by being lit!

Not backlit

Once I had my photos, I took a little time to select pastels in colors and values that I saw represented in the leaves under the various lighting conditions.

I used those pastels to make color swatches on white index cards, along with the tree’s identification for future reference. Then I enclosed the cards in self-laminating sheets to protect them.

Here are a few examples!

I loved this idea because it not only got me playing with fall color, but it was a great way to see if my pastel selection was up to the challenge of some autumn painting!

Let me know if you try this!

Till next time, stay creative friends!




3 thoughts on “Fall Color in Pastel!

  1. What a great idea! Color swatching is so fun… and satisfying. 😛 Also, the trees in the first picture are GORGEOUS! Fall was late here too, but the leaves are past their peak now. :/


    1. Yes, color swatching is fun and satisfying! Making a color chart is often the first thing I do with ANY new art supply. Doesn’t take long for the leaves to be past their prime…as I look to see the dusting of snow we received this afternoon…. Take care!

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