DIY: Fall Leaves on Canvas

September 18, 2009

Five years ago, Mr. CG and I toured New England in mid October.  We started in New York City, drove through Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod, and ended our trip in Boston.

Boston.  October 2004.  Ring a bell ?  Imagine trying to get a room in Boston in October of 2004 when the Red Sox faced the Cardinals in the World Series.  Ooops, didn’t see that one coming in my advance travel plans.  For hours, we dialed every hotel in town.  We lost count of how many operators said to us, “You do realize the Red Sox are playing in the World Series at Fenway tonight”.

Sinking further into stupidville with every call, again and again I replied:  “Yes, we are aware. **Sigh**  Do you have any rooms available?”  But like Mary and Joseph, we were turned away.  There was simply no room at the inn(s).  At one point, I even begged, “I have an eight month old baby.  Take pity on me.”  After several hours, and a crazy stroke of luck, we finally found the very last hotel room in town at the Hyatt.  Exhausted, we watched the fourth and final Fenway game from the lobby bar.  Reinvigorated by the beers, we became Red Sox fans.  Well, just for the night.  I’m a little off topic.  Where was I ?

Oh yes.  Throughout our New England tour, we were privileged to witness the fall foliage show.  Amazing aspens.  Magical maples.  I loved it all.  And let me just digress again.  You New Englanders seriously know how to prepare some chowda and lobstah.  I must have gained five pounds on that trip, between the New York bagels and the chowda.

While we were touring Newport (I heart Newport), we ran right into John Ratzenberger.  Wait, Kate.  Stay on topic !  Okay, while in Newport, I picked up one of my favorite Christmas ornaments:  a maple leaf covered with gold.  It was the source of inspiration for this next fall themed art project.

fall leaves on canvas

Some of you may recall that I have a bit of an eyesore in my foyer, known as the alarm control.  Over the summer, I designed what you could call a ‘James Bond’ approach to disguising this eyesore – hiding it behind a homemade painting.  Summer’s version was turquoise blue with cherry tree branches.

So for fall, I decided to make two new seasonal canvases, again inspired by nature, but this time I wanted to add a textural element.  I went outside to my yard, and picked three kinds of leaves from a bush, a tree, and a hedge.  I really really like it when supplies are free.

snowball bush

tree 1


Overnight, I pressed the leaves mostly flat between wax paper and heavy books.

press leaves

Then I gathered these supplies from my craft cabinet:  two discount canvases from a craft store, leftover acrylic paints, some metallic Mod Podge and metallic glaze.

art supplies

First, I mixed up some shades of green, one bluish green, one lemongrass, and painted them on the canvases.  Don’t ask me how I achieve these colors.  I just keep blending and mixing and adding white till it looks right.  There is simply no method to my madness.

paint canvases

When dry, I applied my flattened leaves to my canvas with the silvery metallic Mod Podge.

modge podge leaf

modge podge to canvas

When all the leaves were attached, I used some bronze glaze to add shimmer, and highlight the already beautiful colors in these leaves.

bronze glaze

I experimented with some swoops and accents to mimic a blustery day.

add accents

add more accents

Then I mixed some burnt umber craft paint with the bronze metallic and played around in an abstract way.

blend glaze and paint

abstract swirl

I let them dry and then hung them on the wall.

on the wall

Up close, some of them are pretty darn gorgeous.

big leaf wrapped around canvas

favorite leaf

Me likey texture.


My girlfriend dropped by, and asked the question that under any other circumstances a woman never wants to hear, nor answer.

“Are those real?”

gorgeous color

“They’re real.  And they’re spectacular.”

(Bonus points if you get the reference.)

I dub thee Blustery I and Blustery II.

blustery two

blustery one

Fancy in form, and functional too.  They make a great disguise for the alarm control.

hide alarm

And a seasonal backdrop for this week’s yard clippings.

foyer glow

fall arrangement

Fall leaves on canvas.

leaves wall art

Pretty.  Simple.  And pretty close to free.


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