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My Grand daughter came running in the front door this morning saying, “Grandma! It’s  SNOWING! It’s SNOWING!” No matter how tired I am of snow by the end of winter I always love the first day of snow. The quiet,  like the snow is insulating the sounds of the earth, is the first thing that I notice. I guess that is why I don’t mind living in a part of the world that the seasons change with such magnitude.

This painting is another gouache resist and my favorite so far. The subject material lent itself to the technique better than the ones I’d chosen previously.  It also took me the longest to fill in all the spaces between the branches with the qouache.

Directions for this technique may be found here.

This technique can be found on YUPO paper on Sandrine’s Blog here.


  1. Leslie, this is fantastic. I love how the top half of the painting is like stained glass. And the “fractured” portions of your painting give it a dynamic quality.

    I mostly hate the snow in the city. But the first snow is lovely and I, too, notice the quiet. All the city noises are slightly muffled.

    I must go back and read about gouache resist. You’re really doing great paintings with this technique.

    • Thanks Carol…and yes to what you said about the fractured portions. With this technique, you never know what you are going to get. Also: This is a technique you do in steps so it is a nice one to have on the side to keep working on.

  2. This is wonderful, Leslie! I love the pink on the snow, too!

    • All things nice..
    • Posted December 7, 2009 at 2:04 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Beautiful painting, we don’t get very much snow here in Ireland but I always like it. The countryside looks so pretty in a carpet of white snow.

    All things nice…

    • I wish for you a little snow so you may enjoy it Allthingsnice. Thank-you for the comment!

  3. Hey Leslie – this is so beautiful. I love the warm glow in the snow and the cool highlights and the colourful shadow. And it is all so full of different textures.

    • Thank-you Stephen! The textures come by accident where the ink was able to penetrate the gouache. All kinds of fun when the mediums you work with have a way of their own!

  4. Lucky Leslie! Grand-daughter’s joy, beautiful art created, and what fun with your blog’s falling flakes.
    Thank you for lightning my heart with all of this today.

  5. Oh, Most Precious!!! Leslie, I lOVE that You’re a grandma! I think it would be so super-fantastic to be a grandma. I just laughed when I read this and my heart is still smiling both at Your painting and Your words. Beautiful. Thank You! Cheers and Namaste and Happy First snow!!! 🙂

    • It is, most of the time, super-fantastic to be a grandma. We shoveled this half inch of snow(my driveway requires this as it is steep and all snow that doesn’t melt turns to ice) when she got home from pre-school and I don’t know who taught her how to make a snowball but I got one right at the back of my neck with her giggling. I had to explain to her what the target areas were for snowballing and they don’t include head and neck. She’s only three! Anyway. We had a great day in the snow even if it was only a little bit.

  6. It’s always nice to find a great post on a blog one day and then when you come back the next time you find an even better post. This is fabulous

    • Thank-you so much Silindile. This was wonderful to read from you.

  7. i dread snow.
    But this does look good

    • I will dread it,also, Kokot when it is deeper and I’m shoveling away in the cold. Thanks for the comment!

  8. It is lovely. Like a stained glass window. Love the granddaughter story too.

    love first day of snow
    insulating sounds of earth–
    I don’t mind living

    (See, you are a poet)

    • Thank-you, Yousei. Thank-you for the gift of pointing that out to me. Makes me feel very good.

  9. Love the look of the light in this – that tree has a haunting quality, for me.
    And it’s snowing on your blog…brr

    • Thank-you for saying something about the light, Sarah because I had to scumble the leftover gouache and very light washes of the blue in the background of the tree ( between branches) to get that. It’s how the sky looks here when it’s clear and cold.

  10. Astounding! I can’t believe how you just get better and better Leslie, you really do.

    Your trees are ALWAYS wonderful (and I have a real thing for trees) but now this – with the added bonus of using this fantastic gouache/ink resist technique, at which you clearly rock. I simply cannot express my admiration enough. I keep thinking to myself “this is my favourite one to date” but honestly, this one is. *caresses image on computer screen*

    • What a wonderful compliment, June. This is my favorite of the gouache resists, also. I think it was mainly a matter of selecting a subject material that the technique suited. The more I look at this one, the more I’m amazed by the things that occur that have nothing to do with me. They are like gifts. It is evident in this one. The faded worn look on that branch that didn’t take the ink well. The lines that segment the composition that didn’t take the ink well. I think they were my pencil lines? Don’t know. I could have filled those areas back in with ink but chose not to. For some reason I felt that was the way it was meant to be. I like the paintings that aren’t all me, I guess is what I’m trying to share with you.

  11. Here it’s not snowing yet 😦
    I keep looking on the window to see if it was start snowing every morning 😉
    Your painting it’s wonderful,Leslie.
    I just love it!!

    Keep painting!!
    Enjoy your day,my friend!!

    • Thanks Alina! Can you hear me laughing, still, over the poem you posted about the bag lady?

        • alina1985
        • Posted December 10, 2009 at 9:24 am
        • Permalink

        Your welcome,Leslie!
        I appreciate your passion for art.
        I still hear you laughing,my friend :)) I’m glad that you was like it 😉

        Enjoy your day!!! 🙂

  12. This might be one of my favorites of all. I love the edges of the hillsides, are they torn paper or the way the qouache resist works.

    • Thank-you Ryan. It is also one of my favorites. I did a line drawing in pencil, first. This 300lb paper I used must be super sensitive because those landscape lines are the pencil lines and the ink didn’t rest on it as planned.It is a happy accident! I was upset when I saw they ran through the tree and then decided I liked them when my daughter went nuts over this painting. It always takes someone else liking something doesn’t it? I then painted in the hillsides. The gouache affects the color of the watercolor and makes it look lighter and creamy, not like gouache or watercolor but a new medium. That’s why I like this technique so much. A lot of the outcome is a surprise. The artist just works with what he/she gets.

  13. Leslie, this is delightful. such wonderful composition!

    • Thank-you Rahina. I actually did move the tree left of center, thinking about composition as I drew this out. In the photo reference it was sitting dead center.

  14. You really captured just the right blue tint in the tree’s shadow on the snow!

    I like how there are different “swaths of time” (that’s as best as I can describe it) in the background…


    • Thank-you Joshua. I like your swaths of time better than what I was really doing. I was trying to represent that thin layer of snow that falls, oftentimes first, and only accumulates like an inch. The yellowy-green swath was like a field of tall grasses and the green area a hillside where you really can’t see the snow on it? Still like your swaths of time better so that is what it’s gonna be from now on. 🙂

  15. seems like its been snowing in all regions of blogland lately. looks nice on dark backgrounds. I really like the shadows of the tree in the snow.

    • Thanks Otto. I think snow would look OK on your blog. We would see an occasional flake land in your hair. lol I think it would be rather fun.

  16. I agree with Carol on the stained glass and fractured effect. There’s a great separation in the painting. Beautiful work Leslie. I love looking at snow, but now when it goes all slushy and mucky. I just don’t like being out in the snow lol i.e. going to work or college. It’s just too cold and slippery. Although, the sounds are lovely. – love your wording of it insulating the sounds of the earth.

  17. I especially love the branches at the top of the tree. The ink that seeped through the gouache layer between the branches resembles a spray of fine twigs. And those lines which segment the tree add to the charm. At first, I thought they were clothlines! I am glad to know that you have finally decided to keep it as is. You are really exploring gouache resist technique.Great going!

    • Thank-you Raji. ….and thank-YOU for introducing me to this technique. I think, the more of these I do, the more I want to leave of the original resist.

  18. Just delightful, Leslie. I, too, love the fractured portions of the painting. So lovely. One of my favorites of yours.

    The first snow is always special, and if it is a good one, I really love it. The quiet is different than the quiet of the night, or a peaceful summer’s day. I have had one already, but didn’t really leave enough to get the quiet I so enjoy.

    • Thank-you, Kate. My sister just visited and commented on those fractures, looking at the original and asking how I did that. I told her that I guessed I was learning how to leave those “happy accidents”that occur in the process of creating. Sometimes we just have to let what the water and paper gives us be the upper hand. It has taken me several years to learn this.

  19. This is gorgeous. It also makes me wish for snow.It gives me that sense of wonderful stillness.
    I know I’m always going on about composition, but I think that here every aspect of it is so perfect that this could explain why I feel it has such harmony. Ok the subject matter is appealing to me too, but it’s not just that, it’s how you’ve approached it. Maybe it’s also one of my favourites.

    • Thank-you, Sonya. I agree with you.There are some things that just come together. I don’t think this would have been so strong had some of the special things not happened like the graphite lines not taking the ink and that crackling of ink that seeped through the gouache between the tinier branches. I think, in this case, the artist needs to learn what to leave alone and just “let be”. I was able to recognise some of those things in this piece.

  20. That’s so true – sometimes I think the recognising is almost the most essential part. It’s easy to see how to alter or keep certain elements in someone else’s work. Doing that with your own work is I think something that takes longer to learn.

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