I selected a leaf that had decayed to the point where it had become part skeleton. This is part of the process of decomposition when the softer tissue is decomposed, usually by fungi, leaving the tougher leaf skeleton behind. The remaining skeleton reveals the elaborate transport system for water and nutrients running through the leaf...it's like a network of interconnected hollow tubes. Dried leaves make great subjects for beginners simply because unlike live material they don't move and can't wilt or curl up!
To find skeletons look in the leaf litter. I found these holly leaves while wandering around Queens Park, Longton, where I collected a bag full of old leaves, twigs cones and flowers that fallen or been picked and discarded.
|Queens Park, Longton. I used to visit this park as a child 40 + years ago! It's much the same today.|
|I continue to build up the dry brush work in layers, gradually modelling the surface of the leaf and working carefully in between the main veins. There were various layers and darker patches, probably degrees of decay caused by fungi.|
|The skeleton network is painted using a combination of small brushes for fine lines. Initially with raw umber and then adding shade with same darker mix as used for the leaf.|