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This was a painting I did last Saturday during that spell of nice warm weather we have had.  These two cottonwoods stand on the southeast  shore of the pond. They stood out starkly against the backdrop of the woods.  They each had a few large yellow leaves clinging to the ends of their branches.  The leaves actually flickered as the breeze tossled them every once in awhile.  No hawk today. Caught a glimpse of him as I drove up. He flew from a tree into the woods. I soon found out why. The entire time I sat and painted I could hear gunshots going off from several types of guns. Must have been target practicing. I can’t imagine the amount of ammo they went through. Sounds like that are enough to quiet a woods.


  1. Awesome! They make a cute couple! The pinks that you have brought in makes a nice contrast with the greens.The reflections in the fore ground makes the composition more interesting.. well done Leslie!

    • Ha! I never thought of that but the are a couple trees. I wonder if one is from the other as the one on the right is much younger. I agree with you, Padmaja, the reflections had to be there to make this whole composition work and come together. There was actually a huge tree back there that was still GREEN! My neighbor’s oak is still green so maybe it is an old oak. Thank-you! 🙂

  2. I love the autumn (fall) colors that are starting to appear in the woods!

    • Thank-you, Kirsty. I am taking a few liberties, here, as we have been so dry, but there was color for the taking. Many of the trees look like the two in the foreground with leaves already gone. Evidence of the HOT summer I would say. Just saw you are planning something new for your blog. Can’t wait!

  3. Oh wow.
    This is one of my favourites.
    The simple reflections in the water add so much to this painting

  4. there is a sense of magical beauty in this, Leslie.

    i think that was a wise hawk to fly off at the sounds of shooting. i’ve noticed that if i hike a wooded/mountain trail i occasionally see wildlife. however, if i step off to the side of the trail and sit for 15 minutes or so, that after that the forest comes alive with all kinds of wildlife. i think they are just very wise beings that know when dangerous creatures are active in the woods.

    • Why thank-you, Wrick. I have stared at this since I finished it. I do think the simplicity of it somehow makes me wonder about what else is there.
      I know what you mean about sitting down and being quiet in nature and I totally agree with you. We humans have disturbed a lot of it, even things we don’t know about. I think animals have voices but most of us don’t take time to listen.

  5. This is lovely, Leslie. I think you really captured the feel of a bright, warm, fall day. I love the juxtaposition of the bright light with the richer fall colors. This might be my favorite of your plein air paintings so far.

    • Thank-you, Karen. I have to give Don Andrews credit for pushing the right buttons to help me succeed with allowing light to enter my paintings. I have also been following Frank Eber, here: who does an incredible job of painting light. I try to soak up everything he says. Thank-you for making my day! 🙂

  6. Absolutely beautiful, and you got to love the colors. I’m hoping the trees around here will turn and not just die and drop the leaves, but it is extremely dry. Your painting might be the only colors we see this year.

    • Oh Ryan, it is the same story, here. However, last Saturday and Sunday, the light was so bright on everything it lit up anything that did have the least bit of color. I really believe those two trees lost their leaves prematurely this year. My climbing vines never did change color but just dried up and dropped off. Not a good color fall. I took a lot of pictures to paint from last week-end so I will be bringing a few more. Thanks Ryan, as always! 🙂

  7. Ohhh, I love the reflections in the water! The pinks and oranges are read fluffy and cozy somehow. It creates a feeling of a warm day, which it was I understand. Nice work of catching that!

    • You describe this property adequately in the word “cozy”, Alex. I am glad I was able to portray it that way. I have yet to paint the entrance drive through the woods that you drive to to get to this special property. It can not be seen from the road. Thank-you! 🙂

  8. Love the colours in this painting Leslie! The reflection is quite remarkable! The beauty of Autumn captured 🙂

    • Thank-you, Lynda. As I begin to become familiar with this area, I see a little more each time. I would actually like to do a study of reflections sometime.

  9. Leslie this is so pretty! The colors are so vibrant, and the scene peaceful. Beautiful reflections in the water…

    • Thanks, Amber! Peaceful if that guy was not having an afternoon target practicing session somewhere on a neighboring property. The blue in the water is a new one, to me, that I rather like called june bug and put out by American Journey from Cheap Joe’s.

  10. Gunshots–how would one paint ‘gunshots’?
    And we would never know of them if you had only posted your lovely painting. Peaceful scene shattered by faux gun fun. Hmmm. Hi.

    • Yep. It is the reason for no hawk. At least that is what I believe. There is someone in the neighborhood who has at least an arsenal of two different kinds of guns. One is very loud. I suppose I could paint trees quivering as that is how loud it was. It BOOMS! like a shotgun of some sort. The other sounds like something that can fire many shots quickly like bang,bang,bang,bang,bang,bang. I have heard it while I’ve visited previously but not everytime. In between these sounds there is deafening silence. Other times when I’ve visited and he isn’t practicing his marksmanship I get to hear the birds and the chipmunks and squirrels scuttling through the woods and may see a deer or two run across the property. The only wildlife were fish jumping on the pond this time. The owner even remarked about how constant it was on this particular afternoon. Ha! You just made me chuckle. Perhaps those BOOMS shook the leaves off my trees! Thanks Eva!

      • Well, one good thing about those BOOMS! They act as a warning system. Hi.

      • Hi Eva! Yep……hopefully they all know what to do; HIDE!!!!!!

  11. Hi Leslie – this is much softer than usual – I like it so much – and I like the rock in the foreground – mmmm Nice!
    I have just read Bill Bryson – a walk in the woods – and have new respect for your woods – No bears there I take it???

    Will you ever be able to paint your friend the hawk?

  12. This is a very pretty painting, Leslie! One of your best for a long time!

    • Thank-you, Val. Your comment prompted me to think on that thought that all artists have in the process of creating. “How do I create something that is memorable?” I think it is that search for the ever elusive images that propels us. 🙂

  13. This is so gorgeous, Leslie! I admire your use of color and light so very much! The little dab of purple on the rock grabbed me and moved me into the painting. I just loved looking at all the different parts of it. So many things to entertain me!! Thanks for this adventure to get my day going! 🙂

    • Thank-you, Beth! You followed the rock in? YAY! I actually thought about my format and it looked like that rock was pointing at the two trees, so I knew I had to include it. Then, thank-you for mentioning the light. Once again trying to capitalize on what I learned in my summer workshop. I keep hoping that I am getting more light into what I do.

  14. The branches on your tress really sing. I love the way you’ve managed to highlight them. Did you use a medium or is it gouache? Either way, I love the way you’ve painted this scene. The shadows in the foreground and in those trees in the background are really well worked. I find painting reflections difficult. Your technique with wet paper is to be envied!

    • Hi Keith. I used masking fluid on the light side of the tree trunks and branches. They glared white in the bright sunlight and were no longer shaded by a crown of leaves like before. These two trees stood out like skeletons against the backdrop of the woods. I wish I could do those reflections better so your comment makes me feel GREAT!!! I find them difficult, also. Thank-you!

  15. A great one!

    I am getting positively giddy with the anticipation of you doing a really epic fall one! Reds, yellows, oranges and browns!

    • Thank-you so much, Posky! I’ll see what I can come up with! Have a couple more in the works. 🙂

  16. The colors in your painting are so clear like the air has been of late. One of the few benefits of it having been so dry is the low humidity which contributes to the clarity. We finally received a little bit of rain last night…but we need more. Can’t be fun hearing that target practice!

    • You are so intelligent about the things of nature, Al. The light is so different in the fall and so much brighter this fall as the trees drop their leaves. Never thought of the dry air and the clarity aspect, but I know you are right. Thank-you for this comment. We had a few spritzs of rain, too. Nothing soaking, yet. Dislike the target practice, “muchly”.

  17. A lovely, beautiful, wonderful landscape. I love the white lines in the tree trunks in the background. I, like Ryan, think this may be the only fall foliage I get to see. Rain, rain, rain and high winds here are blowing all the leaves off the trees before they can change colors. Bummer. I love fall foliage.

    • Due to the heat this summer and the dry spell we just had, this is not the bursting out fall color we usually enjoy, but it sounds like I should be grateful for what color we are getting! Thank-you for the words of praise, Carol!

  18. ooo///lovely colors…i love watercolor as a medium….

  19. Such an excellent painting, Leslie. The water and the colors you use are mesmerizing. The shadow and highlights of the trees in the water—nice touch. Cheers!

    • Thank-you, Adam. Enjoyed that you featured young Marinela today!

  20. Really beautiful colors and the reflections in the pond are stunning. Your palette continues to be a delight to the eye.I know how you feel when we have a really gorgeous fall day in Indiana. They seem to shimmer.

    • Thank-you, Linda. I don’t think I’ve ever quite sat and thought about Indiana being beautiful. This has been a nice ongoing project for just that reason. 🙂

  21. I love the autumn 🙂
    Really an amazing work, the reflections in the water its just stunning!
    Love your creative work!
    All the best
    Marinela x

  22. Really, really beautiful! I so love the colours!! You’re one very talented person.

    Learning to do watercolour painting is in my wish list and, after seeing yours, I think I’d get serious about learning how to do it.

    [Found your site through souldipper.]

    • Thank-you, Anne! I have to share with you that I was told last week that taking a watercolor class was on one of my student’s “Bucket List”. I can’t tell you how good that made me feel! To know that watercoloring could make a bucket list is music to my ears and a reason to strive even harder to help artists achieve their goals. Now, a wish list! I hope you get a chance to explore with it. 🙂

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