With the arrival of Autumn, colourful swathes of leaves inspired artist and tutor Veena Scialo to bring her own version of natural art into the classroom. A delicate, realistic fallen leaf bowl made beautifully using air dry clay and poster paint.
The first stage of this project involved life drawing leaves, to learn their outline, pattern and shape. The children copied or stencilled around their leaves using pencil, then applied a simple watercolour interior using a highly selective Autumnal palette of rusty oranges, evergreens and golden yellows.
The artists allowed the watercolour paints to bleed into one another using wet-on-wet technique. The watercolour paper is weighty and can withstand the use of layer upon layer of paint.
Watercolour is the perfect medium for learning to let go and allow the paint to move freely on the paper, using a medium sized soft brush, traditionally made from sable hair, but nowadays commonly made from sustainable imitation soft hair.
To do this, the tips of the leaves were carefully curled upwards and inwards and the edges smoothed out. The veins from the leaf transferred their pattern onto the clay in print, bringing the clay to life. Each pair of small hands had their individual way of recreating the leaf in clay, giving every bowl it’s own character.
Once the artist was happy with their bowl, they left the wet clay out to dry for a couple of weeks.
The final stage of this project was to add the surface paint to the now dry clay. Using poster paint, the children carefully blended and mottled their leaf bowl, until they were happy with the result.