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I drew the above drawing in a life drawing session about 2 years ago.  Every once in awhile, I enjoy taking a line drawing, like this, and creating a painting from it.  The drawing was smaller than what I wanted so I  placed the acrylic cross hairs I use to lay over a photo and laid it on top of my drawing.  I discussed this in this previous post. I then drew the two cross hair lines on a larger format watercolor paper and re-drew the lines  of the drawing. This enlarged my image.

Knowing that I would need to stay focused to paint this image using my imagination, I  opted to play some sort of music in the background. The figure appeared rather restful and contemplative, so I chose two CDs of  Adagios. One was Mozart and the other Vivaldi.

I followed what I had learned in my workshop this summer about carving out a pathway of light along the figure’s form and allowing that to remain the white of the paper.  I chose colors that seemed to fit the music I was listening to as well as the mood of the figure.  The above painting is what I ended up with.

It seemed only fitting that I post a drawing and a portrait painting, today, as my first session classes ended tonight and they were in  Beginning Drawing  and Watercolor Portrait.  You may view some of the students’ work here

Thank-you to all my students who contributed to the Student Art Page.


  1. You are really clever! This painting is very evocative and delicious.

    • Thank-you, Kirsty. You absolutely got it so you have made my day! 🙂 How do I just suggest enough to bring this form forward without giving away everything? That is what I kept telling myself. I kept saying, “Shhhhh” to that part of my brain that said I needed to show the viewer more.

  2. She is luminous! Lovely work, Leslie. Do you pay attention to the music as you work or does it gradually fade out of conscious attention as you become more engaged with painting? Your music selections are interesting as they seem geared to inspire rather than relax. Hi.

    • Good question, Eva. At first I listen to it and stare at the drawing. With this particular figure, I wanted that adagio feel and to slowly build to the darks. I don’t forget the music. It is always there but I use its effect on me rather than to listen to every nuance of it. I think I relax into a painting rather than relax into the music, so, yes, the painting begins to take over, at some point. I think it may both inspire and relax. Thank-you!

  3. Oh,my, how lovely this is. I look like this in my dreams. You are a dream maker.

  4. Music has its own power and it is visible in this lovely art! Fabulous!

    • Hi Padmaja! Oh yes, the music. I have to have some kind of music playing when I do this. It sets a tone, for me. I generally select something that helps me to say a little of what I want to bring out in my work. Thank-you!

  5. I enjoy both the drawing and the painting. I also appreciate that they are unique from each other, sharing only the element of their basic shape. You have allowed the painting to develop character of its own.

    • When I sat and looked at my initial drawing under the crosshairs, I saw my mistakes. It taught me that I can use that tool to see where I have missed it in the original drawing much like turning it upside down. I tried to change my line just enough to correct some of that. Had I simply traced it, I never would have seen that, Chris. Thank-you for this comment!

  6. Beautiful and graceful. I like the way you left out some of the contouring lines of the line drawing, and the wonderful soft colors of the painting. Lovely!

    • Thank-you, Ryan. Sometimes I get caught up in the detail of too many things. Creating like this helps me to see what I don’t really have to include. I don’t really know where those colors came from but they sure were fun.

  7. Excellent work as always Leslie.

    • Hi Debbie! Thank-you for this. Are you home from your sojourns? I’ve missed you posting.

  8. I love this painting! Love the wonderful Monet colors, love the lines of her body. Especially the lines of her left forearm and the knee. I always have trouble with lines of a knee, in my drawings you would only recognize a knee by where it is placed, not by its helpless lines. And because it is a struggle for me and I have given it much thought I can so appreciate the exactness and lightness of your lines.

    Anyway, your painting makes me think Monet, Renoir and Courbet. Not a bad company I would think. Just beautiful!

    • I jumped for joy reading this! Thanks,Alex. What I wouldn’t give to be tutored by the great artists that have come before. They’d probably rap my knuckles for some of what I do. I think what I really like about painting from a simple line drawing is it allows us the time to explore how to bring things forward that we have learned. The first time I did this, I wanted to go running for references until I learned to be quiet with myself and use the information I had gathered, over time, studying the form or a scene or exploring colors. I remind myself that it is only a piece of paper I am working on and to enjoy myself and lose myself to the experience. Thank-you for the comment about the knee. I drew figures for quite some time before I fully understood contour and what to use in my simple line drawings. I do remember a time when I learned I could follow the contour of a muscle, tendon or bone shape and cut into the form. I think that is what helps with knees and elbows and places on the figure that curve in and out. Thanks! 🙂

  9. awesome lighting and color in paint Leslie. i can see why this line drawing would be so appealing to paint because i find the forms in it beautiful – the forms being created with line and shape of course – and you kept that in your painting while adding the element of color – way cool on that as well as catching a sense of the contemplative mood that the pose itself evokes. wow would be a good term to use now i think. wow.

    • Thank-you, Wrick! I have to say I may have really botched the lighting if talking to a purist, but I did the best I could to describe where the light was coming from and that was ever so much fun. She was a beautiful model, as I remember. Every pose she selected was something an artist could use and build upon.

  10. I love your pathway of light Leslie! I can tell you painted to music on this piece – the lyrical colours playing upon the figure and the way the light plays the flesh – brilliant! a virtuoso piece 🙂

    • Thank-you, Lynda! I like that about lyrical colors! Never thought of them quite that way but you are so right in saying that! Color talks….

  11. WOW! This painting takes my breath away, Leslie! The path of light is absolutely working and I found myself following it to see what surprises awaited me at each bend and turn. I love the light on the front of her hair, the way it dances with the color on her face and hand! Oh my! This was an amazing post! I enjoyed your response to Alex about just being quiet with yourself and using the information you have gathered over time. Beautiful… just beautiful!!

    Your students also did a great job! 🙂

    • Thank-you for checking out the artists on the student page, Beth. They are a great group!
      Thank-you, also, for your comment on that pathway of light as I know you read Don Andrews, also. Sometimes I struggle to know where to go with it and it not be too much. 🙂

  12. i checked out the studants work.
    impressive, you are clearly a good teacher.
    And i like this portrait of yours

    • Thank-you for taking time to check out the student work, Richard!…and thank-you for the comment on the figure. 🙂

  13. Bloody masterpiece! (Excuse my Welsh)
    I simply love this, I also love the life drawing above. While studying at art college, life drawing was always my first love. I so wish there was a class I could attend close to where we live. I need to try and find where all my old drawings went! Brilliant!

    • I “dig” the Welsh. Thank-you so much, Keith. It is so unfortunate that there are not more places that have figure co-ops. Mostly, people find them in big cities or University towns with art programs. I, too, enjoy figure work. Don Andrews suggests keeping a small sketchbook around and drawing quick gesture or line drawings of people so we have a log of different poses doing different things. You, though have done that, I think, judging by your inclusion of people in your work. Thanks again! 🙂

  14. wow!!!!! you are AMAZING!!!! I would love for you to check out my site Social Muze. 🙂 We are all about art in all forms and your stuff would make such a wonderful addition! You can click on my “Creative Playground” tab on my blog to access it! 🙂 I sure hope u will at least take a peak! 🙂 I will be back!!! 🙂

    • Thank-you for the comment, Kellie, and letting me know of your site. 🙂

  15. Very interesting painting, Leslie… kind of contrasty and blendy at the same time! (Sorry, my vocabulary has departed for elsewhere tonight…)

    • I like the “contrasty”…”blendy” comment. That is, afterall, what we seek. Thank-you, Val!

  16. Once again I’ve enjoyed the journey through your process to the final painting. This time we have a soundtrack. Fun. Thank you for sharing this.

    • It would be very cool if I knew how to do music with a post, but those skills are beyond me at this time. Thanks, Yousei. 🙂

  17. Loved learning about your pathway of light. And I adore studying it in your exquisite painting. Being a writer, I’m going to now consider my pathway of light.

    • Hi Souldipper! Am I to call you Amy? I just peeked at your blog and I think your whole project is about bringing the light forward for us to study….. You already have it. Thank you for the visit and the comment. Light transcends everything in life as you have pointed out. 🙂

  18. Love the contours of the lines in the drawing, Leslie, and the colors in the painting are wonderful. The student art work is very nice. Like your selections of music for concentration & inspiration!

    • Thank-you for peeking at the student art, Adam! They work very hard in these six week mini courses. Classical had to be the way to go with this one. Thank-you for commenting and continuing to follow me, Adam.

  19. I like the simple lines of the drawing. The painting has a luminous quality. I can picture you listening to Mozart and Vivaldi and painting this.

    • Thank-you!! Frank Eber said, in a recent comment that simple is always better. Had to try this line drawing in paint.

  20. Beautiful gentle lines and soft colors, not too detailed… lovely indeed !

    • I haven’t attended life drawing for so long! I guess pulling this out was my desire to try to make time for it next year when I will have more time. Thank-you for that about gentle and soft! I was trying for that. 🙂

  21. I think this also shows your growth as an artist Leslie. The drawing in the watercolor is much more assured and you can see this in the figure’s bent arm. Like your musical choices too!

    • Thank-you, Al! Huge insight! I noticed, as I re-drew her, where I had botched on proportions. The arm was definitely one of them. The back of the head another. I’m sure there is more but I’ll get there. Sometimes I think we stress out a little too soon in our learning process. We are a society that wants “right now” not giving ourselves time to mature and learn from our mistakes. It helps for someone like you, the observer, to notice these things. Sometimes it goes “woosh” over our own heads. Thank-you for this. I am not very learned in classical music but have chosen some for listening. My collection grows as I hear things I like.

  22. I realise that you enjoy Mozart and while supporting writers you can also paint people live. How can anyone excel in more than one art? Love the lady in contemplation, such beauty!

    • Hi Rachana! Oh, I enjoy music of all forms except some of the rap and that’s just my age showing through. I am an avid reader and sit in awe of those of you who can juggle words and entertain my thoughts. I tried writing and came up so short. Thus, the reason I visit so many writers and include them in my blogroll. You all tantalize me with images! Thank-you for your visit and comment!

  23. such wonder here. i hear this and feel it…so lovely…

    • Thank-you, Jruth. Sometimes a peaceful moment, a little drawing and some music can come together in color. 🙂

  24. I love this one, it lends itself to poetry.

    • Thank-you, Charles! I wonder what she is thinking?…or is she just stopping to catch the weather on the TV before dressing and rushing off to work? Poetry and painting, painting and poetry; aaaah the endless combinations we can make. I appreciate your visit and your taking the time to comment!

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