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This painting was started on one of the last warm days we had last fall. I sat on the near side of the pond at Lakeside park and began painting the big orange and green tree on the other side. The geese and ducks were walking around me because I had scattered bits of bread and crackers for them. As I was laying my initial washes in, three ladies walked past, stopped to take a look at what I’d done, continued on around the bend and sat down on the bench under the tree. One of the female ducks, eyeing them, waddled down to the pond,  swam across  and waddled out on the far shore. I snapped a photo as she shook her feathers. Little did anyone know they would become part of this painting. About a week after painting this, I began a colored pencil class. The teacher had stated that colored pencil works nicely to brighten up a watercolor. I pulled this painting out and  gave it a try. This was the end result. I think our last warm day was earlier this week. A chilly wind is blowing, rain pouring down and the leaves are falling all around the neighborhood today. The weather forecast calls for more of the same.

Beth Parker has tried this technique with colored pencil on a watercolor.


  1. So soothing and warm, its bitter cold now here in england

    • Thank-you Kokot. Is it abnormally cold in England? We are below avg temperatures for this time of year. And rain, oh the never-ending rain.

      • non stop rain but close to freezing between 9 and 9 already. but thats normal

      • O’kay. You are colder than us.

  2. Love the water reflection Les…

    • Thanks, Tracey. You know me and landscapes. I have to work at them.

  3. Nice reflection and shadows from the trees. It gives a feeling of calm with a gentle breez.

    • Thank-you Francis. Yes, warm and a gentle breeze. Not much noise because school wasn’t out for the day. Lazy afternoon. Smile.

  4. I really like how you painted the colors of the leaves on the trees. I went biking through the woods earlier this week and got some great pictures to paint, but I wasn’t sure how to tackle all the leaves and the colors.

    I also really like how you did the reflection in the water, I think that’s always my favorite part of a landscape painting.

    • Thank-you Little-Lynx. I usually think of my trees as bouquets or clumps. I look for the darks and lights in the clumps. Sometimes the clumps look jagged, sometimes round and clumpy, sometimes wavey. That way, I get variety.

  5. Vibrant fall colors and also the reflection on the water. I especially like those three ladies deep in conversation. Is there a bench near the tree?

    • oops! I looked at the enlarged picture. It is a great place to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

      • Thank-you, Raji. So you enlarged it and saw the bench I take it. It is a very nice park complete with playground, pond, bridge, fountain, tennis courts, rose garden and reflection pool. Many artists from Fort Wayne paint and draw here. There are many weddings and family reunions held here.

  6. Must be going nuts – so sure I already commented – probably rushing off somewhere.

    Very pleasing picture showing the start of the leaves turning and like the long shadows. I can just see where you’ve added the watercolour crayons and they do enhance it – as does your little story about the duck and unsuspecting models.

    • Thank-you, June. The colored pencils did help to brighten this particular painting. The only thing I didn’t like was how tedious it was to work on coldpressed paper with them.

      • Yes, I suppose it would have been hard going, didn’t think of that.

  7. Everyday adventures make beautiful watercolour stories – the painting glows with the warmth you describe – I trust you are ready for the big freeze.

    • Thanks, Stephen. I guess I’m ready.. Winter coat out and car has had oil change. Furnace checked.Snow shovel at hand. I do love the change of seasons. I lived a season in Arizona and thought I’d roast.Also I missed what I think is the smell of trees. Don’t know how to explain it.

  8. Hi Leslie, This is a beautiful fall landscape. I think what I find most interesting is that the reflections of the trees in the water are different than the trees on the land. I don’t know if you set out to do that, but I think it gives the painting a mystical quality. It’s very, very beautiful.

    • Thank-you, Carol.I guess I should have talked about the shadow/reflection thing. The reflections were one way and then another. The duck was about an hour after I started. Note the funny shadows under the tree where the ladies are sitting, etc. I painted what I saw as I got to each element.You have a good eye. When I don’t work from a photo I put down what I see as I get to it. With the exception of the colored pencil to brighten it, I did this outdoors. I’m not near as fast as Stephen.This was a four hour paint from about 1PM to 5PM. It’s no excuse, but when I get to get out I just paint what I see. I probably have all kinds of quirky things going on! LOL

      • I LOVE the quirky things going on!!!! That’s what makes it so great. I think those reflections are wonderful!

      • Thanks, Carol.I knew you meant that.I just thought you or someone else might like to know how I proceed if I’m outdoors painting a scene.

  9. Tremendous sense of light and I love the brightened colours.

    It’s not bitterly cold in all of England yet – at least, not where I am!

    • Thank-you, Sarah. The light and brightness was what I was trying to capture by adding the colored pencil. The painting was a little of all the same value and it needed a punch of something. I think that is what the pencil did.

  10. I like it. So vivid. I wish I could just step inside.

    • Thank-you Shiraz. There is a path running right behind those foreground trees just for your walk. I did try to keep that sunlit.

  11. I, too, enlarged the painting so I could see all the colors in the one tree. Such beauty!

    • I don’t even know what kind of tree that is, Kate, but there are several in this park. For some reason they change color in clumps. I watched other trees, since I witnessed this, and I mostly see the color start in the top leaves. I thought it was very interesting. Thank-you for the comment.

  12. This is gorgeous, Leslie! I have a painting I did over the weekend that could use a colored pencil update. Thanks for the tip! I’ll post it on my blog when I finish it.

    • Thank-you, Beth. I found the colored pencil work to be more time consuming than the painting.

  13. The glowing look to the painting makes it look warm to me. And the colors do just pop right out!

    • Thanks for visiting Jack and the comment.If you are not done with that collage seascape, I definitely want to see the finished piece, Please?

  14. I love the brightness of this that the colored pencils added to it. The color is fabulous, so reminiscent of a summer day. Lovely!

  15. This is such a lovely scene. The vibrant colors are wonderful.

    • Thanks, Karen. With the exception of the red and green tree this came out rather dull in paint.It was probably due to my not paying attention to lights and darks outdoors. The colored pencil over the top truly did the brightening.

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