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I couldn’t resist painting this picture of a mother camel and baby posted in the camels section of wet canvas. Most of the time, I refrain from using white in my watercolors.  I don’t know why; something about saving the white of the paper? I say ” do what you have to do! ” for the outcome you wish to receive.Too many rules really stunt growth. I have left the white of the paper. I have used yellows in place of white areas…….and I have painted with white. When using white, I wait until I have all my other colors down.  I sometimes feed other colors into the white. Remember that white lightens that particular color  and, if you don’t want that effect, make sure you have your value pattern down on your painting , first. I have used Winsor Newton whites and white gouache but usually prefer American Journey titanium white watercolor. It is opaque enough to appear white and does not dry shiny. Another example of a painting where I added white at the end is found here.


  1. That finished well, very nice color, I like the fluffy head on the baby….

  2. There is such gentleness in the gesture and expression of the mother. Very nice.

    • Thank-you Yousei. This reminded me of that giraffe picture that has seen much commercial use; the one wherethe mother is kissing the top of the baby’s head? Have you seen it? I liked how this mother camel looked connected to her calf as well as the softness of her eye.

  3. You’ve been very clever here, expertly demonstrating that white is actually filled with many colours.

    Aw! Touching image of mother and baby. I so agree with you about doing whatever it takes to achieve the outcome you desire – ignore the so-called ‘rules’ – does that make us both revolting? In the revolutionary sense 😉

    • Thank-you June. I don’t know what it makes us, but the watercolor purists might not follow our blogs if I talk like this too much. I’m sure you will agree, oh she who paints with coffee, that some rules are just made so we stretch our artistic muscles a “tad” bit, anyway!

  4. I like your watercolors also… the camel is very beautiful!!!!

  5. White is pure just like your painting,my dear friend!
    Thank you for sharing it!

    Enjoy your time!!! 🙂

    • What a lovely thing to say, Alina. You truly live up to the title of your blog. You see so much beauty and pass it on wherever you chance to leave a comment. Thank-you.

        • alina1985
        • Posted December 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm
        • Permalink

        I appreciate your hobby and in the same time i admire your paintings a lot 🙂
        Thank you,Leslie!!!

        Take care,my friend!!!!

  6. Woooow

    • thank-you Kokot. I’m so glad you didn’twant to cook them like the bird pictures. 🙂

  7. This painting has a bit of a fantasy quality to it! I love how you interpreted the photo. You have such a way with selecting the most important parts of the image and translating that successfully to the watercolor paper. And you used white! Without making it look chalky. This is lovely, Leslie.

    • Thanks Carol. American Journey titanium white is not chalky if you don’t water it down too much. Also, the white work comes lastso you don’t lose the darks.

  8. Nice snow effect on the web page, Christmas is definitely on the way. I like the rendering of the baby camel and the mother, they are very well done. I think i really like how you render animal. I try to do them but can’t really get a good outline out of them. Practice make perfect i guess.

    • Thank-you Francis. When you try an animal again, concentrate on them like you do when you paint people. You do people, so I know you can do an animal. Remember, every little hair doesn’t have to be painted.

  9. Aww this is so tender. Beautiful work Leslie. I use white a lot but it can really take the lustre out of your painting. Some say never to use it. I disagree with that. As you say, do what you need and don’t live by too many rules. If it works, it works.

    • Thanks, heather. Yeah, do what you have to do. There are many watercolor artists that would say this is a huge “NO-NO”.

  10. Geeezzzz Leslie. This is pure magic! I don’t know what You do for a living, but I tell You what, my jaw would drop and I don’t think I’d ever be able to pick it back up off the floor if You’re not making Your living with Your art. You are seriously amazing. Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Bliss! This comment makes my day! No, no living from drawing and painting but I do think it helps me stay sane……and that’s something. 🙂

        • blissbait
        • Posted December 13, 2009 at 7:27 pm
        • Permalink

        Yo tambien, Mon Ami!!!!

  11. Leslie, lovely camels.
    Question: do you scan your work then upload to your site or do you photograph it digitally then upload? curious…you have such wonderful ‘quality’ of image presented.

    • I photograph my work, digitally. I then resolute it Photoshop Elements so that it is stored for entering shows. I resolute to 300 and there are adjustments I have to make in the size to do this. I then sit with the original and adjust the levels until the image I’m seeing on the screen looks like my picture. I had to hire a tutor to learn how to do this. It was well worth the expense. They then end up in the form that I can easily adjust to each show’s requirements for submission digitally. I take my photographs in sunlight. I do have a lamp set up and tripod, but find the ones I take in sunlight come out better. Thank-you for asking. e-mail me if you have furthur questions. I’ll help if I can.

      • Leslie, thank you for the information on how you’re doing all of this. MUCH appreciated. The images of my work were scanned by someone else–a professional with all the right ‘toys’ and know how. I’m very interested in learning to do all this for ‘myself’ in the future. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  12. nice colors. The pink in the body of the baby works.

    • Thank-you, Jay. I know I went out on a limb with this one…..but it was fun.

  13. Stunning! What a gift–I envy you your art. Wow. And all that fun, too.
    Pam B

  14. This is such a beautiful painting, Leslie! I like what you said about rules. Too many rules can take all the fun out of painting. Your whites are amazing!

    • The rules are helpful when one is stumbling and not really understanding how to move forward with something, don’t you think? Most of the time I like to take the advice of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman when he said, “when you get tangled up, you just tango on”. Now I’m really in trouble with the critics……. I like that statement in regards to life, in general, as well as art.

  15. Graceful camels! I like the colours in this very much.

    • Thank-you, Sarah. I wanted to save those oranges and yellows and had to go with the white on this one because much of the undertones of the camels ended up similar values to the background. It was either keep them white camels or make them brown. White won out.

  16. What is more to talk about this painting is the moment of affection being caught on a canvas. Red , pink, orange and white make it strong and yet a soft visual to look at.

    • I agree with you, Lily. I liked that line of connection between the Mother and the baby.

  17. Very nice, very nice colors 🙂

    • Thank-you Shiraz. I consider that a huge compliment from you. I admire your work.

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