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On March 1st of this year, Eva posted a beautiful poem titled “wolf summer”.    Much of her poetry stimulates strong visuals in my mind’s eye.  Sometimes she encourages me to try to illustrate what I see. I struggled with this and set it aside. Everytime I tried to draw wolf paws, they did not satisfy me.  The other day, I felt a need to do something wildly creative and had read a post on Creativity Journey where Myrna used an eyedropper and ink to draw her image. I had already drawn many “Lucy” paws and elongated them until I felt they looked like wolf paws.  I could not find adequate reference materials to feature wolf paws only how their legs might look while running, so my composition was designed using Lucy paws in all sorts of running/moving positions.

The above drawing was done with an eyedropper, but I did not blot my lines with a tissue as Myrna’s post described. I drew very quickly so the ink would still be wet and spritzed the surface of the paper so the ink bled irregularly from the marks. My hopes were to create the impression of dirt being churned up by the running feet.  I wish I had quickly snapped a picture of the drawing prior to spritzing. I liked the effect the eye dropper drawing created in my line work.  After this dried, I flung frisket across the surface (rather than tapping) to  create white streaks and dots to emulate movement and create texture.

Once the frisket dried, I began painting the washes. It takes some patience and acceptance to work with watercolor and ink. Even though I used waterproof ink, there is still some gray residue that gets lifted into the pigment that tends to gray the image a little.  I always have to do multiple washes to achieve the color I want in these. To finish, I brightened the legs and paws with white gouache and removed the frisket after it dried.

Eva also creates beautiful art!


  1. I am so AWED by your Art, Leslie! If my poetry inspires this Art for you, then by all means, use it whenever you like! Wowed and honored!

    • Your poetry has inspired visions in my mind’s eye many times. This one was particularly strong but I have tried, off and on for months. I guess it needed the right moment. I hope others take time to visit your blog and read the poem. It is beautiful.

  2. OMG! Love this! Color and movement. The places I can go with this; wolves dancing in front of the moon in the night sky, snow swirling as wolves prance in front of a camp fire by night, the symbol of native american dancers circling their fire, etc.

    Bravo, Les.

  3. I’ve read the poem and it’s beautiful, but your painting is beautiful too and I can connect more easily to it – I love this, Leslie! The flow and energy of it shines through and those colours!

    One question about something I’ve never heard of – unless it’s something we in the UK just have a different name for – what is Frisket?

    • Hi Val. Thank-you for this comment. I was hoping you would like something wild and free! Liquid frisket is the same as masking fluid. It is a liquid designed for artists to be able to save the white of the paper while they paint. You can either brush it on or flick and splatter it. It dries to a rubbery consistency and then can be removed by rubbing over it with your finger or by using a tool called a rubber pick-up that is a tiny square of rubber (not eraser) that can be rubbed over the surface to remove the frisket. There is masking or frisket tape that can be cut in larger pieces, also. These you just peel off.

        • Val Erde
        • Posted August 5, 2010 at 9:17 am
        • Permalink

        Ah yes, masking fluid. I used to use it for a few things. Got to choose the surface carefully, though or it can remove that too!
        Thanks Leslie.

  4. You seem to be an intelligent artist Leslie, it takes a lot of brains to come up with something inspired by poems,,This work reflects the beauty of the poem. Thanks for sharing your technique, it looks absolutely stunning with so much of movement.. I was planning to do this with horses.. now it may seem like a copy if I did haha
    What is an eye dropper/
    Sorry for my ignorance 🙂

    • Thank-you, Padmaja! Do your horse hooves! I think that would be absolutely incredible! Thank-you for the part about it reflecting the poem. I don’t know why, but Eva’s poetry often gives me very clear images in my mind.
      You are not ignorant. Eye droppers are found in the pharmacy section of a drugstore. You can purchase them in plastic or glass. They have a rubber top that you push to release the fluid in them. They look like a miniature turkey baster. I have the glass eye droppers because I often draw up ink with them. This way I can clean them with pen cleaner. The plastic ones are fine but a little more difficult to clean. They are not very expensive. This is the first time I have drawn with one but have used them to drop water or rubbing alcohol into a watercolor for special effects. I know you’d enjoy the blog, Creativity Journey, Padmaja:
      Myrna shares wonderful ideas.

  5. It shows that you put a lot of effort into this one and it differs from what we’re used to seeing.
    You definitely pulled it off

    • Thank-you, Richard. I think this one was all about think time because I struggled for weeks drawing paws that just didn’t fit what I wanted. I agree about the different. I want to experiment more, in the future, drawing with the eye dropper.

  6. Leslie, you never cease to amaze! Your creativity knows no bounds. And thanks to Eva for her poem and for giving you this inspiration. I love how you handled the lines. And the result you achieved with flinging frisket! What a beautiful, moving, exciting painting.

    • The frisket? I’m still rubbing it off the table and finding it on the pantry doors and kitchen floor, but it was worth the flinging. 🙂 Rather freeing, I think. Eva writes so well. Try drawing with an eye dropper with some black waterproof ink! I know you can do this. I drew the paws in pencil, first. The ink covers the pencil lines if you don’t draw too dark. Some of the lines come out thick and dark and some come out thin, then blot with a tissue unless you want to spritz it while it is wet. It gives a life to the line work. Thank-you for this comment. Makes my day! 🙂

  7. Fabulous! Full of vitality, energy and movement. Beautiful color, too.

    • Thank-you, Chris. I have to give you credit for continuing to post fantastic and fluid watercolors. They inspire me to attempt what I think might be impossible.

  8. This painting is so dynamic – full of action and movement. I like your color choices – they really increase the feeling of excitement. Thank you for describing the process. I had never thought of using this particular tool. Very cool effect!

    • Thank-you, Linda! I had not thought of using the eydropper to draw with before, either. I drew my pencil lines first because I was afraid of making a mistake. The ink line that is created by the eyedropper is wiggly, somewhat distorted and irregular so it introduces a new element of surprise for me to work with.

  9. This painting is incredible, Leslie! When I first saw it, with it’s magic and sparkle, my first thought was reindeer feet, flying through the sky at Christmas! What a great card that would make. I’m sorry that I saw hooves, since wolves don’t have hooves. I see paws clearly now. It was just a temporary hallucination.:)

    It’s amazing to me that this wonderful painting came from the blurred lines I see in the ink photo. I want to go play with ink now. I own some very lovely (yet unused) inks and quills. I really wanted to try ink, then got distracted and forgot about them. It’s my art supply addiction at work. *giggle*

    • I believe that reindeer feet and the movement of their legs are very similar to this image as I recall what I saw one Christmas Eve as a child. 🙂 I am fascinted by yours and my sister’s comment about snow and that this peace might transcend the seasons. Thank-you!
      I think you would be adept at drawing with waterproof black ink and an eyedropper, Beth. If you haven’t viewed Myrna’s site, take some time to go through her blog. There are incredible ideas on it that you will have a blast with I just sense that!

  10. The eye dropper has proved very successful in providing the ‘scratchiness’ of the claws. Coupled with the sense of movement – a very successful painting Leslie (and very informative!)

    • Thank-you, Lynda. I am going to try some more of this, for sure. I have always liked ink!

  11. I love this! so much movement..beautiful.

    • Thank-you so much! I am honored after having viewed your beautiful animal portraiture!

  12. Leslie, this is terrific! I can feel the movement and excitement of the wolves on the run. I can almost hear them! I LOVE wolves. The addition of the moon and gives it great mood. Well done!

    • Thanks, Kathleen. Perhaps there is a little hope for me and an abstract touch to a few things? I hope so. 🙂

  13. Leslie, I love this! The colors are so vibrant and there is a fantastic energy radiating from the piece. It’s really beautiful, looking almost like stained glass.

    • I think watching what you, artimagica and swiftriverarts do has helped me get outside my box and explore a touch of something more. Thank-you to you and others who venture into the abstract, Bree! I like that idea of it being a little like stained glass.

  14. Interesting and compelling work, Leslie. How many times have I mentioned that I love to look at your drawing?

  15. I’ll say it again. I love to look at your drawings.

    • Thank-you. That means a ton! I think we both understand how important those skills are.

  16. This is gorgeous! I love the movement and speed of these legs! I also love the fact that it is only legs: if there were faces, then muzzles and eyes would steal the show as they always do. Just legs running crystallize the idea. Bravo!

    • Thank-you, Alex! I agree with you totally because my first few attempts included more of the wolf and that was the problem. I even cut up drawings of running legs and paws and bodies that I had done to come up with this composition. Once I found that one under belly of one wolf was enough then all the other drawings fit to come up with this image. It has taken me two months, off and on, in the planning of this. The actual rendering and painting flew off the eye dropper and brush so quickly. Definitely an ode to planning on this one!

      • It is interesting how planning is so important, especially with watercolor. Not only creativity, vision and feeling, but down to earth old planning. I understand completely.

  17. Hi Leslie;

    I really like this. It is different and tells a story. Eva will love it. 🙂

  18. Reading about your past struggle and what you did this time to produce the desired effect in your work was great to read and inspires persistence. What an amazing result for a difficult piece! Love the sense of movement and color. cheers

    • Thank-you, Adam. Usually I am able to set something on the “back burner” but this one just kept coming back. I am glad I did persist. Movement and color is music to my ears. 🙂 Thanks.

  19. Leslie, your ideas never cease to amaze me, another well thought out interesting piece.

  20. Leslie – this is truly inspired work. The subject matter, how you came to it, how you processed it, and the resulting painting are all truly remarkable.

    The subtlety of the subject conveys more than if you had painted an entire pack of wolves.

    It makes my soul sing!!

    • Thank-you, Kate. I love how you worded this comment about subtlety of subject. That is what I saw when I read Eva’s poem.

  21. Leslie – this has to be the work I like most of everything I have seen you paint – It is so dynamic and full of sparkling technique – whooosh – a different level

    • Wow! You like it? It took so long for me to get this off the ground. I have to say my enjoyment, here was watching the ink line go down from the dropper and the challenge of how I was going to get any light into this one. Your praise means a lot. Thank-you.

  22. Not sure how I missed this one… but I bow to you with student to sensei respect!

    • What a wonderful comment, Ryan. I thank you for this and for the recent post of the Rhino and its’ link to me. You know I feel the same about you and your work. This painting was a long time in coming and I don’t for a minute think it would be half what it is without having learned about using an eye dropper to draw with. It is a cool drawing tool if you want to change simple lines to say a little more or include a little more feeling. Thank-you, again.

  23. I have to let you know Eva and I have connected. I think she is terrific. Thank you.

    • Hi Kate. Eva has me interested enough in the Native American experience that I am now reading history books about the two chiefs, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Eva’s poetry always inspires. I am glad the two of you connected!

  24. Wow, Leslie! Excellent work. I love working with ink. It’s so instantaneous, immediate and spontaneous. You’re never quite sure of what the end result will be, but there’s something so commanding about ink. I love how it fits hand in hand with watercolour. This is a beautiful piece Leslie. Congrats.

    • Hi Heather! How come I am not surprised that you chose this painting to comment on, Heather? 🙂 I thank you for your Congrats!
      May I venture to say that I was so excited that you are beginning to share your experiences in “SEEING” with us? Love your post about comparative measurement :

      • Haha, I guess you shouldn’t be too surprised. I do love the really vibrant or unusual pieces. You know me too well.

        I guess I never truly shared what I saw before, only what I’ve done. I only wish to share what I learn. Thanks Leslie!

      • Following artists’ blogs is a very interesting thing. Through their work and their postings, we begin to see a very special part of their growth. I embrace that in you and others. It helps with my own journey! I followed you because I saw something very raw and energetic about your work. I need to see work like that. I also am totally enjoying the fact that you are taking time to explore “seeing” which is what I try to teach with my drawing students. Your postings give me an inside view into what it feels like to learn these things. That is very special! Yes. I have payed attention to YOU!

  25. Hey Leslie! WOW! I’ve been away for so long that I’ve been sitting here reading and looking……I have so much more catching up to do or I’d linger longer. I LOVED the woodpile and Your epiphanies about being surrounded by wood and that it became an ode. That’s a great journey….and the picture is lovely and yes You captured the heat. The creek is gorgeous. I wanted to be there. And the wolf paws! THE WOLF PAWS!!! I have a HUGE connection/love for wolves. This one rocked my world. AMAZING. You can feel the power and the magic and the urgency. Thank You and Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

    • Hi Bliss! Yes. I’ve been dropping by your blog every few days to see if you were back. Glad you dropped over. Thank-you for catching up on my paintings. How come I am not surprised you like wolf paws? Something very spiritual going on here, prompted by Eva’s great writing. Hope to be able to re-visit this technique. Thank-you! 🙂

  26. I keep coming back to view this one – both because of the connection with 47whitebuffalo, and because it is one of my favorites of yours – until the next one!

    • Sometimes I just don’t know where something like this comes from. I hope the next time I try this technique I have the same exuberance to find a way to make it work. This was pure fun to explore like that last sky painting I did from your photo. Thank-you for coming back to this, Kate!

  27. this is spectacular, leslie…so vibrant…and i have to visit the blogger you reference here. her poem is amazing…

8 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] visit Leslie at and see her painting process and many other wonderful paintings and drawing.  Leslie has a great […]

  2. By Primal Dance « Leslie White on 29 Nov 2010 at 11:08 am

    […] above painting was done, following the steps in the post found here. I used an eyedropper to draw the wolf paws but an ink nib to make a finer line on the human legs […]

  3. By Great White Pelicans « Leslie White on 16 Dec 2011 at 1:02 am

    […] and then with a dark watercolor once the washes were dry. I have used this technique, previously, here and […]

  4. By Bald Eagle: Ink with Watercolor | Leslie White on 15 May 2015 at 1:34 pm

    […] begins to come together more as you add color. You can view two more eyedropper and ink creations here and […]

  5. […] drawing with an eyedropper and spritzing […]

  6. […] Another painting I worked on was one that I combined waterproof black ink and watercolor to create. I initially splattered the surface of the watercolor paper with white acrylic gesso and waterproof black ink ( I use india ink). I then drew out my composition and used two separate techniques to lay in the inking. I drew and scraped in the mane on the foreground black and blue horse with a razor blade. I also drew some of the fine lines on the background horses with the tip of the razor blade. The larger black inked lines were drawn with an eye dropper and spritzed with a fine mist from a spray bottle. […]

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