Art Elements Theme Challenge – Foliage

Welcome the the September Art Elements theme challenge which is hosted this month by Caroline Dewison and the theme she chose is, very appropriately for the time of year, Foliage. Autumn is my favourite time of year so I love the gorgeous colours that it brings with it but leaves are wonderful at anytime since they have the ability to completely change the landscape.

The header photo for this post is a watercolour sketch I did a few months ago but it did inspire a new piece for this challenge. At the beginning of this month I was feeling a little off colour so spent a couple of days camped out on the sofa in front of the TV. I can never watch TV without having something to do with my hands so I found big A3 pad and started sketching out leaf shapes with the aim of completely filling the page. Once done I broke out my Inktense pencils and started filling in batches of leaves. Once each colour was done I painted on water to bring the ink to life which is a lot less messy (and safer) than trying to use watercolour paints whilst sat on a sofa.

I continued using different colour combinations until the page was completely full and then embellished each leaf using Posca paint pens and Gel pens.

It’s a very simple process but effective and very therapeutic if you’re not feeling one hundred percent but need some sort of distraction.

Next up I did some very simple layered water colour pieces with stylised foliage motifs, again using paint pens. I often do these simple design as a way to warm up before a painting session or if I’m stuck for ideas and just need to get in the flow.

Later in the month I was feeling the urge to do some bead embroidery…it’s been a while and leaves throw up plenty of ideas. I found a large teardrop Labrodorite cabochon with gorgeous flashes and inclusions and dug out some beads to complement and enhance it. I kept the design very simple so as not to detract from the stone and I love the way it turned out.

However, once finished I did realise that the veins are actually running the wrong way, not that it matters but I decided to do a second one just to calm my pedantic brain. This time I used an asymmetric oval Jasper cabochon and more earthy tone which I really like – although I can’t help thinking it looks like a turtle or tortoise!

Then I got my sewing kit out planning to do some embroidered foliage but as you may have seen from my post earlier this week, I couldn’t make my mind up what to do. In the end I decided to stitch some samplers on Khadi paper just to play around with stitches that could give a foliage effect. If you’d like to see all the ideas I had check out the post here.

I never actually got around to transferring these to a final piece but I did finish up having a little play with some printed Khadi paper I found while rummaging.

I was just interested to see what could be done with the paper so I stitched motifs resembling the design and it held up really well. I really enjoyed stitching with paper…it kept me more loose in my approach and I may explore stitching with different materials in the future.

So thats me for this month. Many thanks to Caroline for choosing such an inspiring theme and please now join in with our blog hop to see what all the other participants have created.

Art Elements Team

Lesley  you are here












Beth & Evie  















25 thoughts on “Art Elements Theme Challenge – Foliage

  1. It’s hard to choose a favorite here. I loved the leaf/turtle. :). The earth tones really spoke to me. The embroidery on the paper with the painted leaves were such a cool texture lesson that I think I liked those the most.

  2. I love what you were able to create just sitting on the couch! I’m not good at being idle either, and that looks like a perfect way to deal with idle hands! I’m not sure what you mean about the veins running wrong on the Labradorite piece, I’m too stricken with how beautiful it is! And, your stitches are really lovely as well.

  3. I have so enjoyed looking at (more like staring with my mouth hanging open) the work you created for the foliage challenge. I find myself particularly drawn to the leaves done in pencil/pen and the layered pieces. The beauty of the layered works lies in the the simplicity of the designs along with the stylized motiffs . This is a wonderful example of less being more. Until I read your post, i was not aware of the existence of Inktense pencils – I need some of those!

  4. Wow – the large leaf piece with all the different colors is really cool. I like the idea of just sitting there and making leaves to fill up the page and then color them a different color. Seeing your drawn pieces makes me wish I could draw – just don’t have the patience, so I will enjoy what everyone else creates 🙂
    Love the beaded pendants – the colors are amazing!
    I would have never thought of sewing on paper – that is such a cool idea and loved how they turned out!

  5. Lesley, LOVE the beaded Labradorite and I don’t think it’s running the wrong way. That said, your sketch with the purple eaves (3rd one I think) makes me smile. And that’s what it’s all about :).

  6. Wow!! You were definitely inspired by foliage! I especially love the stitching on paper and the one where you embellished the printed one! I love the look of the white paint pens on the water color, Great Idea!
    I do have questions, what is Khandi paper? I THINK it may be thick handmade by the look of it. And what are Inktense pencils? I have watercolor pencils that I just started playing around with, I imagine they are water activated Ink pencils? (Sorry, I know you didn’t think this was going to involve Q and A session!!) Your creativity is inspiring!

  7. I love everything you created this month. The multi leaf inktense pencil piece is just so soft and beautiful. The blocks of watercolor with the simple leaf design is so effective and definitely a great way to warm up for some painting. I love your beaded pendants. It doesn’t bother me that the leaf veins are going in the wrong direction. With the shape of the labradorite it seems to work for me! What really amazes me is the stitching on the thick rough paper. What a delightful contrast. I am going to go dig through my handmade papers and find some pieces to practice on. I may even have to dry doing some eco-printing on some then some stitching;-)

  8. Oh – stitched paper. Have you ever stitched over your watercolors? If you have – I am sorry I missed it. If you haven’t….. I love the simple drawing on the color blocks – and I really love your sense of color. You really did a lot this month.
    The beaded leaves are very cool!

  9. I really enjoyed seeing everything you created. Your watercolors are especially pretty. My favorite is the necklace that you made with the large teardrop Labrodorite cabochon. Stunning!

  10. Wow! Everything you did is beautiful! I am most intrigued by the piece you did as a warm up with the Inktense pencils and paint pens. Painting is something in which I do not excel, but I might be able to manage this.

  11. I always love seeing what you’ve been up to! Some really fun things. I love what you did with your inktense pencils in that first piece (and some of the leaves really remind me of the leaf pendant I used from Erin Priais-Hintz) but that bead embroidery with the labradorite is just fabulous!!

  12. Everything is beautiful and what draws me in to each piece, whether it’s painted, beaded, or stitched, is the harmonious color combinations. The stitch samples on paper are brilliant and I am especially intrigued by the fanned botanical shapes you created with the buttonhole stitch. Must give that one a try.

  13. Your watercolours look great. I hope you are planning on turning them into cards for the holidays. The embroidery on the paper with the painted leaves is also quite interesting.

  14. Your projects are awesome, Lesley! The pendants are beautiful, but I especially loved how you made beautiful art just sitting on the sofa trying to feel better. 🙂 I like how your stitching on paper turned out – that’s something I’d love to try sometime.

  15. Your watercolors are so beautiful and it’s interesting to see how they evolved 🙂 Love the beaded leaves, especially the colors you’ve chosen but most of all I like the effect of embroidery on the printed paper!

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