More New Leaf Prints

I’ve been working on leaf prints, and I have some new ones to show you. These are all on 140 lb. cotton rag watercolor paper. They’re created by pressing leaves and flowers against the paper and steaming for two hours, then removing the plant material. The leaves and flowers leave their imprint on the paper. Sometimes I do some overprinting or additional painting with natural pigments and dyes, but most of the color comes from the flowers and leaves. What do you think?

Camellia flowers and elm leaves, 10 x 8 inches
Camellias ecoprint

Camellia flowers and elm leaves, 10 x 8 inches
Camellias ecoprint

Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? 13 x 10 inches
Tree ecoprint

Wisteria leaves and overprinting with juice from Oregon Grape berries, 13 x 10 inches
Wisteria ecoprint

Don’t know the tree on this one either, overprinting with juice from Oregon Grape berries, 8 x 6 inches
Tree leaves ecoprint

Orange tubular lily flowers and peach leaves, 7 x 5 inches
Lily ecoprint

Camellia flowers, ivy leaves and painting with juice from Oregon Grape berries, 10 x 8 inches
Camellia ecpprint

Camellia flowers and painting with juice from Oregon Grape berries, 11 x 8 inches
Camellia ecoprint

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4 Comments

  1. Hi! These are lovely! I especially like the camelia flower prints, so soft yet clear. I wonder whether your first unknown leaves are callistemon or grevillea? They are Australian plants but If you are in California I am sure they would grow there.
    Can I ask, other than pre-soaking your paper in water do you treat it with any mordant like they do with fabrics? I have followed your instructions once except that I coated the papers with soy milk, as I read it was used with cotton fabric. My results were ok but not as good as yours. I was using rose petals and leaves.

  2. Hi Amanda!

    The first unknown leaves turned out to be silk oak, which I wasn’t familiar with until now. The second unknown leaves are bauhania, or orchid tree.

    I don’t use any mordant on the paper. Sometimes I add a little white vinegar to the soaking water, and that tends to give prints with brighter colors. I have also tried soaking in soy milk, but it didn’t seem to make any difference.

    The key to getting good prints is good contact between the paper and the leaves. So I flatten the leaves for a day or so before using them, and then I weight the bundle with heavy bricks while it’s steaming.

    Hope this helps!

    Best regards,
    Cassandra

  3. Thanks Cassandra! Ah, yes now I recognize it. Although in Australia we call it Silky Oak. The timber was used a lot in colonial furniture.
    All the best!

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