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This painting was a little more difficult for me. I rarely paint on hot press paper.  I need to keep developing some skill in this surface because I like how the pigment soaks in and stays. I also like that I can scumble and get neat wet effects with it. It carries a brushstroke very well as evidenced in Melati’s coat. If I was a beginner, this surface would not be very forgiving as I find that it has very little lifting properties. However, there is a positive way to look at that! It might teach us to look for ways to improve and to look for those “happy accidents” that watercolor often gives us.

Have a good week-end everyone! See you, Monday, for Richard’s Lighthouse Challenge!  Originally introduced, here.

Ichabod, has honored me by using Melati as an illustration for a beautiful poem he has written, here.


  1. Lovely colours Leslie! I love how you can zoom right into these paintings and see every little nuance and water droplet, even brushstrokes. It makes looking at them an even more enjoyable experience! I particularly enjoy the greeny/bluish background that offsets the ape – very atmospheric indeed!

    • You are a gem, Lynda. That unforgivingness of hotpress watercolor paper shows everything. It brings granulation to the eye and every drop of water, any brushstroke. I am going to try another, here. Another thing hotpress does is dry much lighter so that greeny/bluish background took plenty of pigment to achieve that tone, whereas the singular brushstrokes in Melati dried darker due to less water used as well as small individual applications of pigment. Thank-you, Thank-you!

  2. I love this, Leslie! There is something very fresh in the color choices and the breeze that blows ever so slightly thru the fur! I cannot get primate faces! I have tried and tried, but the faces just elude me. You did a beautiful job with this face!

    I received my Don Andrews book in the mail today and within the first 30 minutes of looking at it, I had so many AHA moments! Thank you for sharing! I am so excited to see what happens to my paintings this weekend! 🙂

    See ya Monday, for the lighthouse challenge. I’ve had mine done for weeks. 🙂

    • Believe me, I searched her face for the ins and outs and how to simplify the expression of somewhat sleepy/bored. Thank-you for mentioning the breezy aspect as I wanted to accentuate that she was not in some contained area. Thank-you for your comment, Beth.
      I hope you like some of what Don Andrews shares. I like both the books I have. I have the figure and landscape ones. Which book did you purchase?
      My lighthouse is done and can’t wait!

      • I bought the landscape book. I will probably have to have the figure book, too. He’s great!

      • He really is. I am glad I did not steer you wrong in introducing him.

  3. What an expression he has on his face! I love the colours in this – you do have a wonderful knack of bringing through colours that the average artist would just dump down and not think about. It has a vibrancy. Lovely!

    • Oh Val, thank-you. You complimenting me on color? That is an honor to receive as your pieces are so rich in color. Thinking of you and Bob and dear “Pitzy”.

        • absurdoldbird
        • Posted June 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm
        • Permalink

        I have an admiration for the way you use colour, yes. Mine – well, I just turn down the brightness on my monitor and whack the saturation up high!

        Pitzy went to bed early, rather alarmed at Bruce cutting the hedge! (Only the top and not by the bird). I’m hoping to get some sleep tonight, had four disturbed nights. Thanks for the link.

  4. I like it.
    It seems like a more interesting paper to paint on.
    Something i’d go for.
    the bigger the challenge the better. lol

    • Hi Richard. Thank-you for liking it. Remember when I told you Arches coldpress 140lb was a good paper to begin on because of it’s flexibility? Well, if you are interested in this paper, it is Arches hotpress 140lb. It is not as forgiving as the coldpress and has no texture to the surface. You might like it!

  5. I would call this fire and ice..I think I mentioned before I know nothing about art but this painting just tugs at me…something about the eyes..when I look at art I hear I hope you don’t mind someone like myself enjoying the conversations..

    • I think that is what art is, communication. I love the idea of fire and ice. When I look at her, I have to wonder what she is thinking. I believe animals have that capability. Thank you for the visit and the comment, D.S. I don’t know anything about writing but love reading, sooooooo, YAY!

  6. Thanks for sharing your great art work and keep it up. Love checking out your work its sooo fantastic 🙂

    Have a great SUNDAY 🙂

  7. I think this is wonderful. I have been fascinated by apes lately – especially bonobos, as I went to a lecture by Claudine Andre, who has opened the world’s first sanctuary for bonobos (just south of the Congo River). So much we can learn from our relatives.

    • Thank-you, Jennifer! Along with a comment you have taught me something. I did not know of bonobos or pygmy chimpanzees! How very interesting and I agree with you. I think, we, as a race do have a lot to learn. 🙂

  8. OH….He’s GREAT! I love his expression and the rich colours. I also like what You said about ‘happy accidents’. Very exciting…I just was able to buy some paints and brushes and was given some VERY big pieces of wood to paint. It’s been over twenty years since I painted a surface that large, and Your ‘happy accident’ comment reminds me that tomorrow, when I dive in, to just be a kid with it and let it flow! Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Bliss. I hope you are having all sorts of “happy accidents” all over those boards you were given! What medium are you using? Do we get to see them when you are done? I hope! 🙂

        • blissbait
        • Posted June 22, 2010 at 2:26 am
        • Permalink

        Hey! I’m using acrylics. I might use some oils with them as well. Not sure. Prepped one today and can run wild on it tomorrow! Yipppeeee! I am honoured You’d like me to share the finished picture and will most joyfully do so! Sleep well and Namaste. 🙂

      • This is totally awesome. Can’t wait!

  9. Leslie, great colors and his face is to die for! I have never tried hot press paper. Will have to try it one of these days when I’m no longer a beginner. 🙂

    You are always filled with art information. Thanks!

    • You? A beginner? I think not! I think you should try it. It is full of surprises if you have been painting on coldpress since you started. I warn you. Hide in your apartment when you try it the first time as it is completely different! I’m trying another one and am having a little more success with this one. Thanks for visiting and the comment!

  10. Oh my ! You have the darndest subjects !!! Do you live near a zoo ??:)
    This is so much fun ! I love the colors !

  11. Hi Leslie. Just to let you know I never miss a post here on Lesliepaints. And I always think, if I lived close to you I would have been in your class!

    • You just made my day, Cecily! 🙂 We would probably draw and paint together if you lived here. I like the project of drawing once a week in a sketchbook that you have started!

  12. Wow orang utan. I just love them, they are really clever and very human like. Seen them a lot especially near my hometown. He just look so relax. Juts love the color of his fur and the greens they blend very well.

    • Thank-you, Francis. Had to pull some other color cjoices into the mix as just orange wasn’t doing it. Have you ever painted on Hotpress? What did you think of it?

  13. Wow! Love the color in this one.

  14. Hi Leslie;

    It may have been more difficult for you, but you rose to the occasion as this painting has “character” in spades. 🙂

    I see a lot in it, maybe more than you may have visualized while working on it.

    The expression and pose is humanesque, yet not.

    I love the lighthouse themes but as I scrolled down, this caught my attention big time. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Ichabod! You know, Melati, that’s her name, always looks rather sad or bored when I see her in the enclosure. I have also seen pictures in the zoo magazine that I receive and she’s very happily painting or doing some activity with her caregivers. I think it must be hard to be in captivity; on display. I think I would look like her in an enclosure and maybe that is the humanesque you see.

  15. Hi Leslie;

    I copied it and used it on Swinging. There is another image I want to use as well, now that you have given me permission I will surprise you the next few days. 🙂

    Thank you for letting me use your art to accompany my words, I appreciate it muchly 🙂

    • Hi Ichabod. You are so welcome and I am coming over to read what you have written. You know I follow you, daily! I so enjoy reading what you have written! I will be pinging you back, I am sure!!! 🙂 I consider it an honor for you to use my work!

  16. He’s wonderful. Looks so relaxed – or hot! Love your discussion on technique. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank-you Kathleen! I don’t know how warm their enclosure is as it is indoors. When I have seen her, as when I have taken these pictures, she is usually sitting like this or has placed a blanket over her head. BUT! on an up note, I have seen photos of her enjoying activity times with her handlers and she always looks pleased and happy! Their faces say a lot, I think.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Swinging | ichabod on 24 Jun 2010 at 10:47 am

    […] Melati is painted by Leslie White […]

  2. […] Leslie wrote a wonderful post in which she reminded me to surrender to and enjoy the ‘happy accidents’ that can occur during painting. (Geez.  Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty FANTASTIC life lesson as well, huh?!) Pre-painting the above, when I was sanding and prepping this board, I was screwing an extra piece of wood onto the back so I could mount it with that.  I forgot to drill a hole first and ended up with one of the screws completely stripped, half in and half out.  I decided to just make this one a mixed medium painting and bopped off to World Market looking for something to incorporate.  I’m painting on all reclaimed materials, so I burst out laughing when I found a little pig magnet made in Thailand out of woven newspaper!  I brought him home and fashioned him some wings out of bits of screen and tissue paper and stuck him on the screw.  Pretty funny!  I’ll figure out how to take better shots of my work.  I’ve got to!  But in the meanwhile, he’s circled below. […]

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