I love every season of the year, but my favorite has to be fall. I have made many past visual journal pages about fall. I can’t help but be inspired by the vibrant colors of the changing leaves, crisp smells, the cool twinge that appears in the air.
Nick and I are incredibly lucky to have a massive, old ginkgo tree in front of our house. Every fall it reminds me why I love the season so much. I watch as the fan shaped leaves transition from green to yellow. Sometimes it feels like it happens overnight. I wake up in the morning to a beaming, glowing tree, covered in golden yellow leaves.
This ginkgo tree has not only inspired my visual journal, but also my artwork. Every year I find myself in my front yard, crawling around on my hands and knees, collecting the best specimens of fall ginkgo leaves. I press them in my sketchbooks, allow them to dry, then layer them into my encaustic works of art. I love having this piece of the year captured forever, preserved between layers of paper and wax.
- Visual journal
- Rubber cement
- Watercolor pencils
- Paint brush
This visual journal page was fairly simple to make. I have to admit, it isn’t one of my favorites. I aimed for simple in order to put focus on the leaves, but I think I missed the mark in portraying the beauty of the leaves. Although it isn’t the page I am post proud of, I still wanted to share the image, story, and process. After all, both our failures and successes are all important steps in the learning and creating process.
I started by sketching out the ginkgo leaf shapes on watercolor paper. I wanted them to transition from large to small, to look almost like a single leaf floating in the wind, moving away from the viewer. Once I had the outline roughly (and lightly) drawn out, I began adding color with watercolor pencils. I wanted a sense of fluidity to the leaves, but I still wanted them to be defined. The watercolor pencil was a good solution, because it allowed me to emphasize certain areas, while allowing other areas to be loose.
After I marked out color, I went in with a wet paintbrush, painted over the colored edges, and moved the pigment toward the center of the leaves. I kept going back and forth between adding color with the pencil, and smoothing it out with the water. I did hit points here and there where I would have to be careful with the damp surface. The tip of the watercolor pencil would periodically want to melt into the water, and add a large, dark spot. It is always best to start light and build color to avoid this.
After getting a base of color, I allowed my leaves to dry. I added more detail, various shades of yellows and oranges with the pencils, and added more water. I kept the process going until I was satisfied. Once the leaves dried for the final time, I cut them out using scissors. I used rubber cement to glue them in the book.
Once I finished placing and gluing the leaves, I took a step back, and decided it still looked empty. To try to fill space I added “fall” with sharpie and a few watercolor pencil lines bled out underneath the text. I decided I was satisfied and stopped. Looking back, I still think the page looks incomplete. I haven’t yet decided how to improve it, and until I figure that out, it will stay as is.
Create a visual journal page about your favorite season. Try out your own set of watercolor pencils in the page.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing with others, I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by! Interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.