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This is a painting I just completed inspired by a photo I took a year ago. Have you ever had a photo that sits and screams at you to be put into paint? I have a collection that tell stories.The stories of everyday life, and I don’t paint enough of them.Β  I think it is one of the most difficult things an artist ventures intoΒ  because the moment and the story need to find a connection. That said, I praise all illustrators who sit down to work each day and try to emulate what someone has written and make that “special” connection that they do.

I am going to let the painting speak for itself. I just drew and painted, nothing really special about technique, just enjoyed the translation of the moment.


  1. I have removed tons of splinters for my kids so this brings back a lot of memories. Their fear of dad’s pocket knife and the pain removing the splinter was much bigger than the splinter itself. But several can be removed by using Duct tape if they are sticking out far enough. Great painting!

    • I think that same fear spurred the little girl in this painting on to remove it herself. She was determined! Thank-you, Ryan!

  2. Beautiful painting!! πŸ™‚
    I like the colors a lot!Also the theme that you chose it is very interesting.
    I wait next painting πŸ˜‰
    I like your style a lot,dear friend!!!

    Enjoy the moment! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Alina! Thank-you for the comment and dropping by! I love visiting your blog. It is my entertainment and feel good place and I don’t have to surf the web for that! I just click this:

  3. Oh Leslie, I remember that! I love the way that you captured the light that day. I also remember Grannie being calm and sensible and “helping” with a splinter that Kim had gotten. Too cool. Thank you.

    • πŸ™‚ Hi Jeannie!

      I know you have your mouth open giving her suggestions, sorry, but it added to the moment. What I really liked was your hand reaching out to help. It was wonderfully fun to paint!

  4. Yes! The moment is important – thats what cameras do. But we can do this with life drawing too. Its quite interesting – the moment when it has been passed down for future reference and future interpretation. Interesting to see your take on that moment Leslie. Good painting and a lot of food for thought there. Good mind provoking post!

    • I like drawing and painting from life. It teaches me about form, about how to tackle nuances with the human body. Try as I might, it is difficult for me to pull those figures from nowhere and create my own without the model. I have worked with ellipses and squares and dimension and still can’t pull it off to completely suit me. BUT!!!!! You have given me an idea for a future post about that. One thing, for sure, it is a talent I wish to possess and that is one of the reasons I am so into learning more! Thank-you for your thoughtful comment. Hugs!

  5. beautiful!!!!

  6. Fantastic,
    i have nothing else to say

    • πŸ™‚ You are all worn out from all that reading of musical poetry, right? That was a fantastic post, by the way! Thank-you so much for the “Fantastic”, Richard! πŸ™‚

  7. Wow, both the women and the child really shows their expression. Reminds me of my mom taking care of me all the time. I really like how you have captured the light, it shows on the lady face, hands, her dress and on the child hair. Full of life.

    • I’m working harder on trying to give the effect of sunlight on things in my paintings. I left the area behind the figures hands a sandy color and darkened the rest, hoping to draw the viewers’ eyes there. Thank-you, Francis!

  8. Amazing sense of space and narrative. I’m beguiled by this painting. S’s hair flying up like that…

    • Thanks so much, Jay. I need to do more of this, I think. It’s fun and it’s different. I always wonder how people get more of a contemporary feel in their work and then realized it might have some to do with painting the now? S’s hair does that when she’s in the wind and has been swinging and sliding and hanging upside down on jungle bars.

  9. OMG! you have captured that little girl perfectly! And I love the woman’s expression looking at her daughter. The playground background is perfect and the foliage past that rocks.

    • Thank-you, thank-you, Carol! The woman is her Great Aunt. I know, she doesn’t look a day over 30!!!!! Shame on her! I was going to try to do this and cut the playground out, but then thought, heck no! that’s part of the story! This is the playground in my subdivision and my grand daughter thinks it is hers. I let her.

  10. Oh how I wish I could paint children like you do! Her little fingers are so “right on”!!!! This is really a beautiful painting and I couldn’t help but notice how naturally all that white is happening for you!!! Bravo, Leslie!!!

    • Thank-you, Beth. I am experimenting with getting somewhat simple about the faces. I am kind of realizing that I need to include some features like the puffy cheeks on the little girl, the open mouth for instructions given by the adult, but in a story picture like this, it is not so important to be perfect but representational? I read a wonderful article in “Watercolor Artist” magazine about the figures of Jeannie McGuire:
      I hope to, someday be able to develop my skills far enough to include the drama and the richness she achieves in her work. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…….Check her out. I think you will like what you see!

      • Oh wow, that site is wonderful! I love the one called “Gems” of the two red headed girls! Her work is truly incredible! Thanks for sharing that, Leslie!

  11. Lovely painting with lots of freshness in it.

    As for photos that scream out to be painting, I’ve far too many – and it’s one of the reasons that I colour them instead!

    • Thank-you, Val. Of course, you begin with a photo on many of the pieces you do. Forgive me as I spend as little time as possible in photoshop. However, I think what you and Jan and Wrick do with your digital programs is phenomenal.

        • absurdoldbird
        • Posted July 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm
        • Permalink

        And I spend very little time these days on watercolours – which I regret. I must do some more, I really should.

  12. Genre scene painting is one of my favorite art forms! There is such immediacy in it, a quick peek into someone’s life, a moment in time separated from before and after. You did this so well – I feel that I am a third person in this little scene, just outside the frame :).

    • Thank-you, Alex! That is what I wanted to portray! I wanted the viewer to feel as though they were there and observing the sounds and the wind and whatever pieces of conversation was going on in the moment.

  13. You know, the best photos are slices of life. Not the posed, and contrived ones. I love to see a moment frozen in time: a fire being put out or someone working in the kitchen – something that tells a story or is a social commentary. This is a lovely painting, and it looks like the little girl is holding something in her hands and the woman wants to inspect.

    • Why thank-you, Heather! I was just over at your blog learning about neo-expressionism:
      I was chuckling about how we have followed each other for months, me soaking up all you were learning and going thru at school, the differences in our approaches to art and I feel enriched by the “alphabet soup” of artists we have sharing here in blogland. Have fun with that painting you are going to do! Can’t wait to see it.

  14. Teehee, it’s so true. We learn so much from the artists we surround ourselves with in blogland. It can be just a little nugget of information, or just inspiration or dedication, but it is all invaluable.

    As for neo-expressionism, it’s raw and full of emotion, and you have to go to dark places in order to paint it, but it is so much fun and very playful – like being back at school!

    • I found your post very interesting and I still don’t want to know the old man.

  15. aww I love the little “tow” headed girl reminds me of my youngest who had that same hair..this one captures a priceless moment…when did it happen when things I used to stoop down to her level she now does the same for me..yet I think I would write this one as though the two were the same person just facing different ages kneeling and standing upon playgrounds in the sands of time where bars don’t divide but protect…this one contains volumes..nice work of art!

    • Hi, D.S. Thank-you! I know. They grow up so fast, don’t they? Maybe, someday, she will look back at this painting Grandma did when she is a Mother, like you say, and knowing both sides of the story. That’s the best! Love your take on it!

  16. I LOVE this, Leslie! I immediately wrote what was going on. You have made them so clear. I’m particularly fascinated with the little girl’s hands and the way she’s looking down. Gosh. I’m getting tears in my eyes. This stance reminds me of when my son was very small and longing for something, not quite understanding something, and none of my words were adequate. Crystal clear is Your painting. And as always, I’m in love with the colours You use. Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. πŸ™‚

    • Great memory, Bliss. You are right. That stance is a common one. Sort of like they are concentrating on trying to figure something out. It is special to know that something I draw or paint can communicate in such a way as to bring up memories. Thank-you, so much, for that.

  17. Hi Leslie;

    “I think it is one of the most difficult things an artist ventures into because the moment and the story need to find a connection”

    You have to do that more often, put out what screams at you to be portrayed, as you bring it to life.

    I have seen photographs which are compelling and pull you into them, but painting has another side to it that a photograph can never touch.

    I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but the artist molds the image.

    A photographer only captures what is.

    There is a big difference.

    • Oh, Ichabod, you bring up such a good point about photograph versus art. I am taking a workshop right now and the man teaching it says the artist gets to portray just what is important about a scene by how he uses and places his subject, values and definition. He/she manipulate the space to draw the viewer to what is important. I think writers and musicians do this also. Which brings me to another point. There are photographers who also manipulate what they do….how incredible. Many of the photographs you choose to post? Very artsy! Sorry I haven’t been over these last couple days. Will be back at visiting after tomorrow! Been workshopping..:) Thank-you, Ichabod!

  18. You’ve so perfectly captured the comfort and safety of having a mom around- something about momma’s extended hand that says ” show me- I’ll kiss it and make it better “.
    The little girls’ ouch is not for long.
    Wonderfully, emotionally painted.

    • Thank-you, Bonnie. You do this so very well in your paintings and it is your story-telling in oil that has inspired me to try some of these types of things in watercolor. People sitting and talking and the lady with the parousol…. those were lovely!

  19. Well this tells the story – lovely. I agree with Bliss – you are so good at creating distinctive colour.

    • Hi Stephen. Thank-you for this about color. I’m trying to learn more right now as I am currently in a 3-day workshop with Don Andrews. I hope to pass on some of what I learn.

  20. My daughter would have said I have an owie

    But just try to remove it.

    Great painting as always.

    • πŸ™‚ Love it! You know, they have to do this kind of thing for themselves. At some point, they begin to learn they have a little more control over themselves and then th “fun” really begins! Thanks, Richard!

  21. i didnt read all the comments so i’m probably doubling up on them… i think you caught particularly well that pose of the child addressing a splinter.

    yeah. i have photos i want to get at with paint. i tend to do it on the computer now tho.

    i like too that you’ve just let yourself do this without trying to hold yourself to a particular technique. i think when we approach a work that way and freely modify to suit our own aesthetic, that’s when we start to evolve from copying to really creating. i like that. cool.

    • Thank-you, Wrick! I think some of your postage stamps you are turning out, lately are awesome!

      • thanks Leslie – i have a lot of fun with those faux artistamps – and other stamp creations too… i’m sure there will be more. fun.

  22. Reading through the comments, I like what you say about drawing and painting from life. Sounds like it’s such a wonderful learning experience for you. As for the painting, it’s a scene that says aww (& ouch). The positioning of the child’s hands are perfect. Great color blends in the clothes and hair too. thanks

    • Painting from life is like the paramount experience. The artist becomes in control of the environment. What is there is there for the taking in order to communicate with the viewer. It is the same as what you do with words and, really your camera as you have learned so much about all the ways you can manipulate photography. Thanks, Adam, for the visit and the comment.

  23. Such a sweet capture. You got the moment here perfectly. I love the pointillistic trees in the background, they help to focus on the children. Do I recognize that wee tow head?

    • That wee tow head is my Grand daughter. πŸ™‚ I think this was the point that I recognised she had grown into that time of being able to problem solve. She was not going to allow any of us to remove that splinter and was going to do it herself! What fun! Thank-you, Kate!

  24. it’s always so amazing to me how your paintings flow, alive with movement. wonderful expression…

    • Thank-you, JRuth. I had so much fun painting this one. It must be akin to the joy you feel when you write something and tell a story.

  25. The thing I envy about your work, is your unique style! That’s what what we all aim for, you have it nailed! I really love all of your work, it’s an inspiration to me, but you know that!


  26. As always you are an inspiration. Yes, there are photo, et al, that I have long thought of collaging or (gasp) trying to paint. I need to take the time to give it a shot. This is BEAUTIFUL! YOu are so talented.

    • Thank-you, Kathleen. You made my evening with that comment. I would think you could create a fantastic collage, complete with texture and tell a fantastic story! I just know you could.

  27. Love this one. You are prolific!

  28. wonderful colors, I like your work.

  29. Now that I tried watercolor I have even more appreciation for your immense talent πŸ™‚

    • What a wonderful thing to say, Alonso. I thank-you immensely for this. Keep playing with the watercolor. Start light, let it dry and then put in some more color and let it dry. Let the water help youand let the paint becarried by the water some. Play. πŸ™‚ Don’t be serious at first. Wet the areas you want to work on and then another area. You will get it.

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