Skip navigation

pinks   Pinks

Rose  Rose

It never ceases to amaze me that a teacher is often taught by her students. On my first night of watercolor class this year a student asked, “You mean we have to do a drawing first?”. I think I answered something like I’d prefer that you did so you have a guide to follow while you learn to use the techniques and manage the water. That question nagged at me. Then I viewed a post on watercolor bubbles by June Malone. She had practiced using her new watercolors by painting bubbles. I saw no graphite in her images. I set aside time to try painting in watercolor without drawing first. I chose flowers and concentrated on painting the shapes I observed. In order to stay organized as I painted, I worked the composition from the center out, hoping I’d have something harmonious in the end. The above two paintings were painted without drawing, first.


  1. Are you doing speed? You are posting like a madwoman.
    For someone who didn’t draw these first they came out really, really well. You must have had an image in your head though, and I think since you do have a drawing background you were able to paint well-formed flowers. It would be interesting to see you try something even looser, a wet on wet splodge (reference to June) and make it look like a flower. The reason I say this is that in class last night we did some trees that were just paint splodges and spatters. (I’ll post them shortly.)

    Nevertheless, The key thing was that it was great that you were able to be open minded enough to take a question from one of your students and turn it into a learning experience for you!

    • Hi Carol. Thanks for this compliment. I am lucky to be able to teach because my students have taught me so much.They teach me what to include and not include as well as to look very closely at their wonderful images. There is so much to cover in such a short period of time, I am always glad when they return to continue their journey. The best teachers are those who are educable themselves. I had to concentrate on painting each shape as an individual and lay them next to each other much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. After the flowers and leaves were in, the background was easy. Looking forward to the splodges!

  2. I love this Leslie! I paint without drawing sometimes. However, mine do not look this good. I enjoyed June Malone’s post, too! Thanks for sharing. I think I want to try the bubbles with some new colors I recently got. Oh boy!

    • Thank-you, Beth. I find it amazing how much you and I get into of the same techniques. I follow you for ideas as well as to read the quotes and find an art “goodie”.

  3. I like how you’ve used so many colors but the flowers still look pink. I wouldn’t have thought of that. But then again, I can’t paint… 🙂

    • Thank-you, Deva. We artists are more limited than “Mother Nature” who includes every color of the rainbow in everything she does.

  4. This is just stunning. One of the best I’ve ever seen. I love the graphic quality of the top one.

    • Thank-you, Jay. I thought you might like these because I remember you suggested I draw with a brush. Wonder if I could use this to do an oil?

  5. theres always something new to learn off someone.i agree completely. they look really nice

  6. I LIKE them, Leslie. A Lot. There’s life and light here. mm. lovelies

    • Thank-you, 47. And thank-you for posting more of the historical things about the reservation. I am following that.

  7. The white spaces in between the rose petals add sparkle to the painting.I have seen an artist use white glue to keep the paint areas seperate.The purple, red and pink colors mesh very well. Love your loose take on this painting.

    • Thank-you, Raji. I think I’ve seen some acrylic painters line out shapes before. It was the only way I could tell where I was with my flowers and I didn’t want everything to all run together. I kind of wish I’d made my lines narrower in the rose.

  8. Fan-flippin’-tastic! These are a wonderful example of how to do wet on wet properly…and make me realise that I need an awful lot more practise.

    These paintings are fresh, free and lively and I was most interested to read how you went about creating it, starting from the center.

    • Thank-you, June. I don’t think our wet-in-wet is different. You had a few colors that granulate is all. That made our paint lay different. The white lines were important or all I would have had is a big pink blob. I never would have done this had I not seen your bubbles!

    • heatherslalaland
    • Posted September 18, 2009 at 7:53 am
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    I think it’s good to be able to do both. For my more expressive paintings, I just work alla prima, but if I want a lot more control over what I’m painting then I will do an underpainting, and possibly block in sections. I mostly use oils though and I stay away from watercolours as much as possible unless its a mixed media painting. You’ve done a great job though!

    • I will keep practicing only because it is kind of an interesting approach that I’m not used to.

  9. I’m not surprised ! You can do anything with paints !!! Fantastic. I love the pink and the dark green, they really enhance each other !
    Painting without drawing first: I like it ! gives me hope 🙂

    • Thank-you, Isabelle. I think you do great! I have yet to understand abstract and getting a composition that’s pleasing.You’ve done that several times. Maybe I could use what I learned here and try my way to an abstract in the future?

  10. Wow! That sure concretes the difference between drawing and painting; no lines just color, although of course the absence of color creates white lines. I really like these!

    • Thank-you, K. I really felt out of my element on this. I didn’t realise how much I rely on my drawing. Of course I had to pay attention to the same things I would have if I’d been drawing. This was hard because it was sort of like “taking a pacifier away from a baby” thing.

  11. Leslie you are working so hard – and so full of joy it seems – I love these. There is so much skill in each petal (and in the leaves and darks) inspiring stuff. Stephen

    • Thanks, Stephen. Your comment means a lot on this one because I don’t tend to do spontaneous, much. This was like painting blind for me……but I will try it more.

      • Well I hope you do – this has a spring in its step – with all your experience, risky approaches like this will take you to interesting places.

  12. beautiful shades! what a great capture! thank you!

  13. Beautiful, Leslie. The Rose especially has wonderful depth and dimension.

  14. As you know, I know very little of technique, even though both my father and brother are accomplished artists — father’s primary was pen & ink, brother can work with any medium.

    Despite that, I have an eye for color, shape, and lighting and this one is very pleasing in all three categories. While I like both, the complexity of the first one appeals to me.

    • I like them both, also, but the top one was more fun because I kept getting lost and had to find a way to salvage it each time. It made it like a hard crossword puzzle. Thanks for the visit, Kate, and the comment.

  15. I guess you learned freedom from that student.

    • I did. That’s a good way to put it. Thanks for visiting, Bill.

  16. Thanks for painting my pink roses!

    • Well, you’re welcome. That must mean you have pink roses in your new home? Fantastic! Must be because we are sisters.

  17. Hi
    I agree that this gives a good fresh result.
    Many years ago I used to always use watercolour without pencil & I think it’s true that the white lines work as you get the purety of each colour. Now I still often find it’s best not to get too involved at the drawing stage though there are certain essential lines that you choose to emphasise.

    I guess as a teacher you have certain objectives of what it is you want your students to practise.On the other hand I find it’s a constant balance between that & allowing freedom so as not to stifle creativity. But then again without techniques you are also curtailed in your freedom. Like trying to write a brilliant novel with hardly any vocabulary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: