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This is a close up version of a scene I painted in July, here. This one was completed in one sitting while the other was one I started on site and finished at home.  The wind was whipping and the sun was shining brightly. Light flickered off one area of the pond that seemed to catch the wind. The foreground tree would change from silvery to light green everytime the wind chose to gust and toss the  branches.  Not only did the leaves flicker on the trees on the far shore but it filtered down through gaps and lit the trunks that were of a lighter color. All I could assume was the loss of leaves on some of the trees created larger gaps in the foliage and allowed for the light to filter through the canopy. The hawk was there once again. This time he circled and dipped very near me several times. No. It was not in a menacing way.  He came so close, twice, that I witnessed the slight change to tail feathers that helped him to maneuver and turn. I had never seen that before.


  1. i like this.
    Especially the needle like appearance of those tree trunks

    • I think the appearance of the slivers of light on those tree trunks under the canopy is such a significant difference between the summer version of this scene and this one. Thank-you, Richard!

  2. WOW! This is magical, Leslie! I especially love the water and the tree reflections. (especially the one on the left) The light is amazing and I can feel the sun on my face and the whipping wind. I am enjoying your plein air paintings very much and hate to see winter coming. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Beth. I am really glad you picked up on the tree reflections that were more like shadows that day. The light fascinated me as the wind controlled the trees. I know. We must enjoy these cooler days to the max! It was so hot this year, I didn’t get my fill of outside!

  3. I’ve set on the banks of many lake and ponds, just watching the sun flicker on the lake ripples. You have done a excellent job capturing this and the reflections. Again, it just needs me in the picture fishing!

    • I was thinking just that! How lonely this seems without Ryan fishing! 🙂 I’m going to have to improve my skills and do one like that, just for you! Thanks, Ryan. I always appreciate your visits and comments! 🙂

  4. Leslie has been “hawked”! LOL. I mean that in the most friendly of ways. Apparently the hawk figure you pose no threat and flew accordingly–hence giving you a close-up view of –well, not exactly the bird’s eye. Okay, I’m pushing it–but–isn’t interesting where your art leads?

    • HA! 🙂 Leave it to you to describe it such! I felt, oddly, as though he was greeting me like he knew me from before. I tend to do that with animals and it may mean he finds me an imposter. What I like about painting on site is just that. The surroundings affect how I see things.

      • I rather doubt he found you an ‘imposter’. I think he/hawk knows just which species you are–and are not. Grins and tail feathers to you this day.

      • Hi Eva! 🙂

  5. This is lovely. Painting trees can be a real challenge. It’s so easy to become bogged down in tiny detail and loose site of the bigger picture. Your work is always so neat. Your use of colour for me, is the key to how accomplished you’ve become. I always spend a great deal of time looking at your colour work. Beautiful.

  6. I should have mentioned in my last comment the colour of your trees. Tree trunks are difficult, deciduous trees have a wide variety of textures and colours, and they’re never brown. The shifting light and shadow of the canopy can make it hard to pin down any one specious. Shape is easier for identification, but finding the right colour is more taxing. You however, have mastered this skill!

    • I have noticed that about the trees. A lot of them have grays to them. Some of them are warmer in tone and some just plain appear white to me from a distance. The other phenomenon I noticed when I painted this was how the wind played havoc on all moving things above the trunks and made the light on them appear as though they were dancing legs! Thank-you, Keith! On the color? I squint. Much more than capturing the exact color, I try to see warm and cool and then try to decide from my palette which warm and cool colors they appear most like. I do this with shadows and values, also. It doesn’t usually come out a “true” representation, but turns on something a little special about what I see.

  7. There is so much light in this scene ! I would want to be there, the water is inviting! (it is 100°F over here !) Again, you manage to play with a whole symphony of greens with total mastery ! Beautiful !

    • Thank-you, Isabelle! 🙂 You got it. There was tons more light than what I remember from painting this scene the first time. I can only figure that it was due to the dramatic loss of leaves that these trees have gone thru due to our extensive dry spell. The pond is low, also. At times the leaves dazzled to silver in the wind and glow. I am still working on my greens. I have struggled with them from day one. No system as yet. I try to read warm and cool, dark and light the best I can and go with it.

  8. Something about the trees on the right reminds me of a few Klimt landscapes I’ve seen. Perhaps it’s the way the color and mark differences suggest different kinds of trees?

    • Wow. Thank-you, Al. I don’t know the answer to your question. I just looked Klimt’s landscapes up the other day when a friend suggested the same thing as you. I find it hard to render a tree in swishes of a brush unless the shapes are like that such as in a willow. These trees appear “dotty?” because of their leaves, so I try to emulate that, and if they are dark or light or warm or cool. The tree in the foreground? That one has little tiny leaves in compound structure and the branches grow out into thin willowy trails. I swished it because the long stringy tendrils were whipping in the wind.

  9. I love the tree in the foreground. It seems to be caught in a gust of wind and twirling around its branches. This painting appears more dynamic than the previous one. You are like Monet, going and painting the same scene in different times and seasons, I admire that. That’s the way to really see things.

    • Thank-you, Alex on that comment of the foreground tree. That is a hard tree to know what to do with in watercolor. The branches were doing just that, twirling around in the wind. I changed a few things from the first one. In the first one, it was still and hot. The air was dense and Everything stood up as shapes and value, to me. In this one, everything moved. I also lied about the color of the pond in this one. It appears much darker. I like this little bit of sparkle and blueing it up some. It seemed that that would support the yellow light I saw, better. I’m going to have to do winter scenes from photos, though. 🙂

  10. What a great experience Leslie – and a great painting! I love the quality of the water in this picture and the bit where the brush barely touches the picture is inspirational! Its knowing what to leave alone and what to put in that makes for a good artist I think. I also like the texture of the trees. The big one in the foreground has such a tactile quality – I could stroke it:) Really GOOD!

    • Thank-you for that about what to leave alone and what to include. That is an ever-present thought when I sit out there and try to paint a scene. This little painting is growing on me, daily, as I stare at it trying to “see” what I did differently. I followed some suggestions by Frank Eber here on his post:
      Yours and several other comments let me know I caught something in that foreground tree. Thank-you so much! This helps!

  11. I love your blue trees the best!!!!!

    Actually it’s nice to compare the two paintings, one from summer and this one with the trees turning colors. I also really like how you handled the tree trunks.

    • Those trees right there by the warm colors were either blue-green or purple-green and I went with the blue because of the pond. Just green would have been so blah, don’t you think? Thank-you about the comparison thing, Carol! I guess that is one of the joys of painting the same thing again. I never draw or paint anything the same way a second time. Thank-you for visiting and commenting!

  12. Your paintings are so beautiful, I always look at them in awe hoping, more like dreaming that one day I can scratch your level.

    You have total control of the medium your using I know that watercolor is a very challenging medium to use, much less to control.

    • Oh you most suredly will! Thank-you so much, Alonso, for this comment. Paintings like the above sort of have a will of their own after I put the brush to them, as you have experienced. Sometimes I think a watercolor is about watching what the water does once I give it some pigment. That’s what really takes the time to learn: how not to mess it up! 🙂

  13. Capturing the changing light and colour is a life journey – foliage and water can become completely different as the wind rises and falls – the real joy is seeing this – and the hawk – seeing the control of feathers is such a special observation. I so enjoy your descriptions of being out there. The hawk probably has a nest nearby.

    • I’m getting that feeling with the hawk. He or she has dubbed this her territory and is checking me out. Perhaps she nests in the pines that towered behind me dumping their needles all around and that is why he came so close. Don’t know. I have enjoyed what time I’ve been able to get outside and paint. I wanted to go this week-end but weather is not permitting. Will hope for next week-end. I will also be painting this area from photos I have snapped. Thank-you, Stephen! 🙂

  14. I like how you describe the scene, i feel i’m into the painting. The shadow of those several trees falls on the stream really catches my eyes. Nice painting.

    • Thank-you, Francis. The shadows were one of the last things I placed and I am so glad I saw them because the water was too bland until I did that.

  15. I can’t give you a “professional” comment, but I am simply at awe at the natural beauty that you have created here.. 🙂 I was filling up an application yesterday and noticed at the end how my hand writing has deteriorated in recent years.. 😦 And on the same note, I wonder how many times you lifted your brushes and made all these wonderful strokes so perfectly each time. You are gifted Leslie!

    • I have to think longer when I fill out forms, also! I am a pretty slow and methodical watercolorist compared to most and appreciate your comment about my brushstrokes as I was pushing to finish this painting in one sitting like some of my blog friends do. Time. It all takes time. Thank-you, Rachana! 🙂

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