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I found this scene on the property where my daughter boards her horse. I think I was pulled in by the similarities of both subjects. Both the door and the tree looked as though they had weathered a lot of life. Oh the stories they could tell!

In creating the piece, I tried several techniques. Some of the clumps of leaves and grasses were rice paper glued on with acrylic matte medium and then drawn and painted on. The tree was covered in textured acrylic white gesso. I drew in the gnarly lines in the tree with black and brown waterproof ink and spritzed them with water while they were still wet. This causes the ink to run and create even more texture. I then went to work painting with watercolor and detailing the door.

Just found a beautiful poem written about a tree on jRuthKelly’s Blog found here. Enjoy!

Stephen Kellogg has been inspired to write a poem about this painting here. Thank-you Stephen!


  1. This is beautiful, Leslie. I have to say my favorite parts of the painting are the cool little small branches and leaves that are magically flitting about the tree, especially at the top. Love it! 🙂

    • They do flit and they are so pretty moving in the light with a gentle breeze. Thank-you, Beth. 🙂

  2. This one is absolutely wonderful! I love how you used so many different techniques and the texture you created. Excellent work.

    • Thank-you, Jackie. You are the texture genius and I really want to try more of that. So much to explore!

  3. This is great!
    I almost expect a children’s story to come leaping from it. There has got to be a story about the red door. Maybe that’s my next challenge… writing about one of my paintings or possibly yours if permitted. Hmmmmm my small brain thinking!

    • Thanks, Ryan! Absolutely. You may write from anything I create. I am such a poor writer and usually rely on old family stories if I share any.

  4. I really like the freshness of this painting and the quality of the light really makes the painting sing! Quite lovely Leslie!

    • Thank-you, Lynda! I did try to capture the light. It was hazy and humid but enough light to cast a little shadow here and there.

  5. Hi Leslie! It’s a great watercolour. I like the appearing lights on the fence and in parts of the tree. This is a real mixed media work! It’s interesting all the things you added!

    • Thank-you, Martin. I agree about it being a true mixed media. I like playing around with different things and adding them to my watercolors every so often. I would probably do so more often but get lazy.

  6. Very beautiful! Love the light bleached parts of the tree and the door. Also love the different planes of the foliage – very dimensional.

    Very interesting techniques – adventurous 🙂 – thank you for describing and sharing them. We all learn from one another (at least I try to learn from everybody), your descriptions are very helpful for me to expand how I think of the media and what is possible.

    • Thank-you, Alex. One thing I haven’t tried is drawing with graphite on a gessoed surface. I saw a graphite drawing that was done on a surface that was gessoed with a bristle brush and not sanded. It had the streaks left by the bristle brush in it and was quite fascinating. I’ll bet you could do a stunning drawing on a surface like that. I’m going to give it a go at some point or another. 🙂

  7. For me I like the gate plus the idea of the connection back to the living tree. It’s true how wood gets you thinking about all the experiences it’s undergone, both as a tree & then when it’s been made into an artefact or whatever.

    • WOW! Thank-you, Sonya! I never thought of that. You are so good at seeing!

  8. I like the way you have captured the feeling of age and experience. I always appreciate the information you share describing your process. I would never have thought of spritzing ink. Also very nice job on the glow at the top of the painting and on the delicate leaves.

    • Thank-you, Linda! 🙂 That is truly what I saw when I viewed this old tree and old door. I read about spritzing ink in John Lovett’s book titled “Getting Started”. I have found that book inspiring for years, now. It is jam packed with ideas and is truly not just for those starting out.

  9. This beautiful painting reminds me of the tree from my grandparents garden 😉
    I like a lot the colors and the idea! 🙂

    Would you like to join us? 🙂

    Have a great day,my friend!!

    • Thank-you, Alina! How lucky your grandparents are to have a tree like this for shade! 🙂

      • You have right! 😉
        They like very much in summer to rest in the shade tree.

        Enjoy the moment,my dear friend!! 🙂

      • Happy Easter to you too,dear Leslie! 😉

      • Happy Easter, Alina! 🙂

  10. Ooh – this is so lovely, Leslie! I love it! Especially the colours and the amount of detail you’ve captured here.

    • Thank-you, Val. A fitting tree for “Hasslebob” to sing to you from? I loved that story. 🙂

  11. Wow…beautiful painting just amazing your talent is.

    I have given you my blogger friend a gift that will give to others to see it click on the link:)

  12. You’ve captured that old, gnarly feel so well.

  13. It’s a very…nostalgic and serene picture. 🙂 I like it.

    • Thanks! I used to climb trees when I was young so nostalgic I like very much. You are right! 🙂

  14. Leslie, as soon as I saw this painting I knew it had more than watercolor. I like the illustrative feeling of this. Like others have said, it sort of begs a story to go with it. I want to ask “why is that barn door on the tree? How old is that tree, it’s so weathered and thick!”

    Another beautiful piece.

    • Thanks, Carol! You know. I don’t know why the door was there. I also don’t know which of the two barns on the property it came from. Maybe it was an inside door to a feed or tack room. The tree has to be ancient as its’ trunk was big. It had broken off limbs but new growth sprouting everywhere.

  15. hey Leslie, i love the way you use sucha variety of materials! and what a wonderful artistic result. i love the previous post too of the poppies, just delightful

  16. With your techniques, you have successfully rendered the age of the tree. One question – can you use regular white glue (Elmer’s) to glue the rice paper on watercolor paper. Is it acid-free?

    • Thank-you, Raji. I don’t know the answer to that. For a while I used a craft glue that was labeled archival. Then I read something in a collage/ watercolor book that recommended the use of the acrylic matte medium because it dries less shiny and is archival and non-yellowing. She also recommended the use of matte medium on both sides of clippings from newspapers or magazines as they will deteriorate if not coated. I’ve followed those directions when using collage in my watercolors.

  17. Love this one! Looks like a lazy day and you captured it well.

    • Thank-you, Nancy! What’s that song? Lazy days, just right for a stroll in the park?

  18. Hi Leslie, i think your skill must have improve exponentially, first impression of this painting is it must have been done by some professional artist. The weathered wooden gate, the trees, the fence the grass and the sun light they all come together very harmony and nice.

    • You came over here and said these nice things to make my day! Thank-you Francis! The thing I was really worried about was the yellow, but thought it was kind of fun and edgy to try and show the weird light of that humid day.

  19. beautiful texture! as always, love the colors. I agree with you, the yellow in the sky works. Looks like a lazy summer day.

  20. Hi Leslie,
    I like the freedom you have achieved in this piece. I like your idea of adding on rice paper patches of leaves. It must create an interesting texture.
    I’ve not tried any of those effects in my work. It gives me an idea to try!

    • Thank-you, K. When I do these things like ink and rice paper, it gives a whole new dimension to the look of a watercolor.I think it is the same with acrylic. One thing leads to the next as I create these. They are difficult to fully plan out because changes occur on the paper. YAY! Try some of these things. 🙂

  21. Wow. They do look like old companions with much to say…I love how the door leans on the tree. Doors hold a special place in my heart. I had fun reading about Your techniques. In digital land, You can easily mix all watercolour and acrylic and oil and airbrush….I’d no idea You could mix watercolour with other mediums in real life. That’s amazing. The tree looks textured. You can feel the bark. Really lovely. Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Bliss. You and others have commented on the door and the tree both being of wood and, now, you are suggesting the door leans on the tree. I didn’t have any of these thoughts and I love it that you and others have brought it to my attention. SMILES!

        • blissbait
        • Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm
        • Permalink

        Still loving it. And looking at it today….brings up a longing to be in such a peaceful place. You just may be inspiring a road trip, Miss Leslie! I hope You’re having a Wonderful Weekend! Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

      • Road trip sounds great! Thank-you for the comment on peaceful as that is how I originally saw this tree and door; resting.

  22. Hey hey! This is such a pretty painting! When I buy a house, I want something like that against a white wall, beautiful!

  23. trees…get me. this is a beauty. the lines on the trunk/branches really move.

    • Thank-you so much! I just linked to your beautiful tree poem. Trees are wonderful subjects. 🙂

  24. I come here to look at the amazing beauty of your creations and I’m never disappointed, instead you keep getting better

  25. I really like the running ink here Leslie, and I like your use of mixed media. Very effective. Beautiful work!

    • Thanks, Heather. This ink running may be something you want to try for some effects for your work. Try it on scrap paper first, and use waterproof ink. I used a misting spray bottle, not one of those that shoots a stream. The ink disperses in a thready manner.

  26. WOW Leslie. Beautiful. It was very interesting and helpful to read your process behind this one. Neat technique letting the ink run is a nice touch.

    • Thanks, Adam. I need to play with this ink process a little more as I’m always intrigued with the thready patterns that appear.

  27. Leslie,

    Looks like you can turn your hand to anything and paint it beautifully, so talented 🙂 I haven’y been blogging as much lately as I have been busy but I wish you and your family a wonderful Easter

    All things nice…

  28. I like the entire sum total because of all those parts. How lovely a weathered red on the barn door. I’ve used thinned out oil to dribble and wash back grounds- maybe an influence of water color paintings.
    Mixing the mediums is a way to keep it interesting and it’s evident you’re inspired.

    • Thank-you, Bonnie. The barn door was actually the most difficult part of the painting. Detail, I guess. The tree was a blast because you can’t control a spray bottle too awfully much. You are so right. Mixing it up once in awhile is just plain fun and I usually do it when I feel I’m treating my work as though paper cost a 100 dollars a sheet and I need to tell myself to “get real”.

  29. Leslie,
    beautiful painting, you really captured the moment well.. It inspired me to write a poem… Thanks!!


  30. It is amazing to me how many colors you used in this to achieve this beauty. I had to go look at it in the large size!

    • This was such an effort in just “letting go” that I didn’t pay too much attention to exactly which colors I used. I know that some of that pale blue in the tree’s trunk came from the brown ink when I wet it with water. There were more colors as it separated. Thank-you, Kate!

  31. Hi Leslie;

    door is protection
    for those who shelter
    behind its mass

    it’s meant to stop
    the fool
    the doer of ill will

    the door is propped up
    by that
    which it once was
    a tree of life

    there is nothing
    for this door to stop
    for one can see
    there is no doorway

    its existence is not
    of futility

    it is there
    to let us know
    nothing lasts
    an eternity
    for every doorway
    once closed
    shall be opened

    and every doorway
    once opened
    shall be closed

    Thanks for visiting my place Leslie. I quit blogging, but will be around to visit my friends from time to time. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Ichabod. What a beautiful poem. I really love the open/closed aspect of the thought and I will miss you. Please do drop in!

  32. Oh, that looks so tranquil.. Who wouldn’t want to spend a summers day lying in the grass looking at the clouds…?

    • Thank-you, Camilla. I agree! I’ll cloud watch with you!

        • Camilla
        • Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm
        • Permalink

        Cool! Let me know when summer reaches you. I just found the first spring flower today, and I didn’t even bring my camera with me. I was walking to get my son at daycare, and then suddenly I saw lots and lots of coltsfoot. It made my day!

      • Summer is a ways off as yet.My flowering pear tree just blossomed out yesterday. The little hard maple in my yard that I doctor every year just sprouted those red pod things and some tiny droopy leaves. We have spring thunderstorms today. 🙂

  33. That’s an awesome pick of subject! And all the colors, and the texture, that’s really beautiful, Leslie!

  34. ha! this is the kind of photos i like to take – with the barn door – rusty red! thank you!

    • Thank-you, “Y”. If you saw my photograph I used for this, you’d laugh. Photographer I’m not. 🙂

  35. I love the red door…the effect makes the entire painting really alive. Your work is stunning.

    • Thank-you for the visit, Robert and the nice comment. I will be back to visit your site! Love the painting from real life that you do!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] } This poem was inspired by a painting from Leslie White’s Blog. For the full impact, open the painting and view it prior to reading […]

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