This fun autumn leaves art project is perfect for grades 1 & up. It’s easy to do, everyone can feel successful and the results are beautiful. Try one yourself!
Autumn Leaves Art Project with Crayon Resist
inspired by Andy Goldsworthy
• 12×18 white construction paper
• black crayon (or oil pastel), broken in half with the paper peeled off
• watercolor set and brush
• real leaves in a variety of shapes and sizes (Leaves will stay “fresh” for several days after collecting if you put them in a plastic grocery bag in the refrigerator and mist with water each day.)
Texture – the actual way a piece of artwork feels when touched or the way it looks like it would feel.
Composition – the arrangement of the parts of a picture.
Contrast – the use of opposites together, such as light and dark colors or rough and smooth textures.
Pattern – a repeated design or sequence
Andy Goldsworthy – (born 1956) a British sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist (living in Scotland) who creates site-specific sculptures in both natural and urban settings. His art involves the use of natural and found objects to create both temporary and permanent sculptures that draw out the character of their environment.
1. Lay leaves one at a time under the paper and rub with the side of the black crayon. Let some leaves overlap. Don’t stop until the entire paper is covered with leaf rubbings! (Make sure to sign your name with crayon before starting to paint.)
2. Choose a color to paint the background (blue or brown works well). Paint the entire background with this one color before painting any leaves.
3. Next, paint leaves using a variety of colors, but do not use your background color on any of the leaves, and do not use black!
4. You will know you are finished when your entire paper is painted and there is no white paper left showing!
Through this project, you can teach the concepts of foreground, background, and contrast, as well as techniques for working with watercolors. You may need to remind younger students that the reason they call it “watercolor” is because you need to add water to the paint! Knowing the right amount of water to pick up with your brush is a skill that is not necessarily intuitive and usually needs to be learned!