Posted in pastel painting, Uncategorized

Fall Color in Pastel!

Welcome creative friends! I hope you are all enjoying Autumn. It’s come rather late to our area. I took the photo below last week, and our trees only began losing their leaves a few days ago!

Since autumn has lingered in our area, I wanted to take the opportunity to gather up some inspiration from the color that surrounded me. But how? I haven’t had any time to paint, but I did have time to do a little color research.

Ever notice how the color of leaves can look so very different depending on how they are lit? Well, I wanted to record some of these observations….so here’s what I did.

First, I gathered up a variety of leaf specimens from a few trees in full color.

Here are a few of the leaves: these are from Japanese maple, oak, and tulip trees.

Next, I took photos of the leaves held up to the light as if they were being lit by the sun. Then I took photos without this backlight. In the photo below you can really see how the leaf’s color is dramatically changed by being lit!

Not backlit

Once I had my photos, I took a little time to select pastels in colors and values that I saw represented in the leaves under the various lighting conditions.

I used those pastels to make color swatches on white index cards, along with the tree’s identification for future reference. Then I enclosed the cards in self-laminating sheets to protect them.

Here are a few examples!

I loved this idea because it not only got me playing with fall color, but it was a great way to see if my pastel selection was up to the challenge of some autumn painting!

Let me know if you try this!

Till next time, stay creative friends!





Rhonda is an artist, violinist, mountain dulcimer player, composer/arranger, homeschool mom, and chicken/goat farmer. To purchase her fine art, visit

3 thoughts on “Fall Color in Pastel!

  1. What a great idea! Color swatching is so fun… and satisfying. 😛 Also, the trees in the first picture are GORGEOUS! Fall was late here too, but the leaves are past their peak now. :/


    1. Yes, color swatching is fun and satisfying! Making a color chart is often the first thing I do with ANY new art supply. Doesn’t take long for the leaves to be past their prime…as I look to see the dusting of snow we received this afternoon…. Take care!

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