Leaf on Stone

The Story Behind the Painting

Sometimes nature just presents itself to you, as I opened the door of Possum Cottage I saw before me on the stone brick wall a leaf. The leaf had small rain droplets and I thought to myself that this would make a wonderful painting one day, if only I could paint rain droplets.

As alway I like to challenge myself and it so happens I have a painting hanging in my bedroom with a rose that has fallen out of a glass leaving water droplets around. This was good enough for me to study and gave me the confidence to try to painting a leaf with rain droplets.

My Painting Process

I knew that this artwork would be a challenge and wanted to make it as detailed as possible so I used smooth hot pressed paper for a change.

I started painting with a range of pastel colours as this was a white brick wall, but the more I looked the more colours I could see in the stone work.


All the fine cracks in the brick needed an equally fine brush to paint them with, this is why I like buying lots of brushes as you never know what you’re going to paint and what brush you will need.

I was using a mix of black and dark blue the paint the cracks and lighter browns, blues and greens to paint the stains around the cracks.


The more I studied the photograph on my iPad the more cracks and colours I could see. I must have worked the background for about 12 hours, this is the most I’ve spent on a painting this small and I haven’t even started the main subject, the leaf.


In this photo you can see the undercoat of the leaf on the left and an almost complete colouring on the right.

I love the way the leaf has been eaten by caterpillars and almost has a rust colour on the edges of the leaf.

I have found a light green wash is a good base followed by hundreds of little dots using the very tip of my paint brush works best for me.


Another few hours and I’d completed both sides of the leaf and was very happy with the painting, even though it had taking me about 16hrs to complete.

Now I had a decision to make, something that I hadn’t come across in any other painting, this painting looked complete there was no areas of unpainted paper. I could cheat and not paint the rain droplets and nobody would know.

In my head I had two voices one saying “stop it looks complete and you may stuff it up”. The other saying “take the risk, paint the rain droplets, you can do this, it’s going to look awesome”.


So I put my big boy pants on and took the challenge to create greatness and studied the water droplets one more time.

I held my breath as I placed a small amount of paint on my brush and hovered for a while before finally touching brush to paper.

I waited too long and the small amount of paint had already dried on my brush. This happens a lot with white and cadmium yellow, not so much with other colours so must be something in the binder.

I then realised that I was still holding my breath and let it all out and once my nerves had calmed a little I attempted to paint the droplets once more.

After the first droplet was complete I was sure this was going to be a painting I would be very proud of for years to come.


I can say that I’m more than happy with this painting and I love showing it off to people as they step inside Possum Cottage foyer where I have possibly the worlds smallest gallery and shop. I point outside the screen door and show them where the leaf fell a few months ago.

This small painted deserved a beautiful frame with UV anti reflective glass so you can see all the fine detail it has to offer.


Gouache Colour Palette

Winsor & Newton Gouache on Arches France Watercolour Paper, 300g Hot Pressed.

My painting come from my own experiences that I have lived and photographed while traveling. By reading this blog, you as a viewer can now hear The Story Behind the Painting. Where, when, what was happening while I was photographing the wildlife.
If you want more details about my adventures checkout my travel blog website www.ChrisOsborneAdventures.wordpress.com 

Enjoy, Chris Osborne

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