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This week in watercolor plus class we all did a saran wrap print in watercolor. The above is my print plus my beginning stage of figuring out how I was going to use it. We turned our prints around looking at it from all 4 sides until we saw something we could work with to create a picture or an abstract to enhance. I always like to use the forms of the original print and try to build on them. I began by building on the moon, outbuildings and foreground flower shapes I found. The moon was filled in with gesso as white didn’t quite eliminate the color from underneath due to the transparent effect of watercolor. The shapes of the flowers and outbuildings  were there, I just painted them in. I wanted this to appear as though I was peering through foliage, from a distance and began laying out different colored leaf forms I tore from rice papers. I used acrylic matte medium to adhere the leaf forms to the paper.


In the next step, I finished the leaf forms, detailed the foreground flowers and changed their color from orange to red as I thought the red brought them into the foreground better. I finished the outbuildings and had to use some gesso in them because they began to disappear.  I began selecting tree shapes from the print and painting them in as well as the greenish hill forms that ran across the paper. Note that I painted the shapes that were in the print and did not add my own. This is what gives this a stenciled cut out appearance.


In the third step, I filled in the tree shapes, brightened the moon and furthur accentuated the foreground flowers and leaf shapes.


In the final stage, I balanced the white in the moon with adding white rice paper flowers to the bushes that looked like a dark blobs in the foreground. I also painted in all the little printed shapes in the open meadow area in front of the outbuildings. This exercise is fun but very time consuming and really tugs at your ability to be creative.

Joshua Sellers has posted this painting along with a Haiku by Issa. I am becoming more and more interested in Haiku by following this blog.

Beth Parker has tried this same technique using fluid acrylic paints here.



    • Thanks for visiting Sister Nancy! Doesn’t this kind of remind you of the Trattles barn across the cornfield as you stood at the end of Corey Lake road? Gave me deja-vu. So, naturally, I had to leave the harvested field.

  2. Oh, what a coincidence! I just have RIGHT now, wrap on my paper, and I am checking your site while I am waiting for it to dry !!! I have no idea what I am going to do with it.
    This is very delicate and very beautiful; Quite mysterious too! I love your colors and the fact that you painted the shapes created randomly by the wrap;

    • Hi Isabelle! Must be that great minds run together! Ha! Seriously. How cool is that? These are always fun because you really have to approach them with an air of creativity. Hope yours is fun!

  3. The concept is interesting, the outcome reminds me of some far away fairy like dreamscape

    • Thank-you, Francis. I agree with you. These kind of exploratory techniques seem to lend themselves to distant lands.

  4. Very effective! And you call me creative??? This is such an imaginative approach, one that you obviously had a lot of fun with.

    Most suitable for Halloween – it gives the impression that the viewer is sneakily waiting in the bushes to jump out and scare some unsuspecting walker.

    Whichever medium you use your foliage is always exceptional. Those red long stemmed flowers are wonderful.

  5. Hi
    I like how the moon has this central point & the other elements seem to rotate around it.

    • Thank-you, Sonya. I consider that high praise indeed coming from someone I consider the “master of shapes”!

  6. Full moon:
    my ramshackle hut
    is what it is.

    I really like this, Leslie– peering through the foliage in the foreground gives it some depth. Very magical!


    • Joshua. Thank-you for the Haiku for this. I love it. Thanks also for the magical. Love your “Banksy” video.

  7. the details are brilliant.
    You did well with this one

    • Thanks Kokot. Kind of like trying to do things with photography images? Your last was too cool.

  8. Wow! I like this technique! Amazing what you get with Saran Wrap and then more amazing how you’ve taken what was there and ran with it!

    • Believe me. My comfort zone is rocked when I attempt something like this. Thanks for the “Wow”, Carol.

  9. oh, I just love them … the colors! I could eat it!

    • Thanks, Jay. They are the subdued earthy colors aren’t they? Sort of with the exception of the flowers and the moon. I’m going to have to remember that.

  10. Leslie, you are so incredibly talented!

    • Thank-you, Deva. What a wonderful comment to wake up to this morning.

  11. This is a really interesting and instructive posting! I have never done the plastic wrap and with your instructions I am going to try it.

    thks, alix

    • Thanks Alix! When you do your print I find it helpful by using more, not less, saran wrap. I wet the whole surface with watercolor and quickly apply Saran wrap, smack a board on top of it and heavy book on top of the board.I leave it for 24 hours. Some people lift their wrap too soon and wonder why they don’t have a clear print.

  12. Hi Leslie, sorry I haven’t had a chance to stop by this week, but this is absolutely stunning! The colours are so vivid and very autumnal. I’ve heard of saran wrap but have no idea what it is. Whatever, it looks fantastic anyway 😀

    • Thanks Heather. Plastic wrap like you put over a bowl of food you stash in the refrig to lock in freshness. If you apply a wet wash of watercolor to your paper, and press large amounts of crumpled saran wrap on top of it, lay a board over that and weight it down, the next day, after paper dries, you’ll have an abstract print to design a picture from. I’ll take your visits whenever! Good to see you here.

      • Aaah cling film! You know my large mixed media painting I just completed? I have collage pieces on there done in a similar manner. I diluted acrylic paint to make ink and splashed it over watercolour paper then covered with cling film and crumpled it. I left it overnight then removed it leaving lovely textured paint on the paper!

  13. WOW… I missed a few days and you have been so busy!! I am fascinated by this whole process. You really made it gorgeous!

    • We are doing some pretty time consuming exercises in watercolor plus and the creative drawing classes right now. I feel as though I should be doing this the week before so they know that I am dedicated to the projects I ask them to do. It also helps them to see something finished and what to shoot for. Thanks, Beth!

  14. I like this very much. It’s like a sort of intimate viewing from a distance.
    Interesting your continuing and growing connection with haiku–and the poetics of at via Josh’s blog. smiles…

    • Thank-you 47! It kind of looked like there was foreground stuff going on in the initial saran wrap print.

      I really like Haiku. It is so bold and hits me with images I can see so readily. Thanks to you for introducing it to me in the first place. I even ordered a book Joshua recommended and am awaiting its arrival.

  15. I love this beautiful painting and I can see how it would support haiku very well. I love a good haiku!

  16. Enjoying browsing your archives. This is a beautiful series

    • Thank you, so much. I think this one began my journey into being able to explore some more abstract approaches to working with watercolor. It also began my interest in using collage in my watercolors.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By October « Leslie White on 18 Oct 2011 at 8:15 pm

    […] painted something similar before.  It was not the same but had many of the same colors and was an October piece with much the same composition. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", […]

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