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This painting was both tedious and FUN!!! Our Watercolor Plus class worked with wax resist this week.  This class is studying many of the different things that an artist can do with watercolor. We discussed wax resist, sgrafitto (scratching into the painting and salt effects). I drew the scene in graphite, first. Next I pulled out a box of crayons and went to work with yellows, reds and orange crayons. Yes, we used regular old crayons. You can also use candles in various sizes to rub wax on your paper.  This crayoning is the most tedious as you really have to use elbow grease as you apply the color.  Err on the side of applying too much. I always lose some of the wax under the pigment. The other thing to watch out for is that color and value needs to be considered. The artist must paint with either a darker value or a complimentary color to the wax in order for it to show up.  Once the wax is on, the remainder of the painting is painted as a watercolor much like one that does not include the wax.  The trees blackish gray color was achieved with a mixture of violet, june bug, and earthen green pigments. I then dropped salt into them for the textured effect.

This scene is from the corner near the property where I have been painting. I really liked the colors and the broken down gate.


  1. As always Leslie, you have produced another fine piece of art.
    I love the scene and the colors.
    The quality of this work is excellent! 🙂

    • Thank-you, Debbie! You know, this one finally gives the feel of the thickness of the woodsy areas around here. The crayon actually helped me with that. It was also one of those slightly gray days with just a soft light. Are you drawing and painting. I’d love to see some more of your work!

  2. Lovely, Leslie. I like the color choices you made. Great work, as usual!

    • Thank-you, Marinela. I had some fun trying to lay in color that worked with the crayon I’d used. It was truly fun bringing this thick woods to life.

  3. What a fascinating technique and the result is quite lovely. Such a beautiful Autumnal scene!

    • Thank-you, Amber! The real wonderful thing about this is that the scene was from a photo I took north of here. I have such a hard time finding composition with my camera. I admire your skill in photography!

  4. Very beautiful. Has the rain greened-up everythingin your area? Your discussion is very relevant as I have been thinking about using crayons on one of my next paintings. I would have applied them too lightly. Thanks Leslie!

    • Yes and no to the green. We get a rain and it turns green for a few days, then back to brownish green and back to green if it rains. This photo was taken two weekends ago. There would be more tree trunks showing now. Some of the leaves just fell off the trees without changing color much. You really have to use elbow grease and make twice as many marks as you think you will need. One of the reasons my greens are so green is to provide for contrast behind those oranges and yellows. Too neutral and they won’t pop. I would love to see some other attempts at this technique. I have posted three other wax resists. This one is probably the most aggressive of the group. Have fun with it. Thank-you for your continued comments, Linda.

  5. It’s the colour of autumn, i really like how you paint nature, it seems so effortless but yet so beautiful. I have not tried using wax resist, you give me an idea to try it out this weekend. I’ll post my work next week to see how it goes. Thanks for sharing Leslie.

    • That would be awesome to see what you can do with this technique with the wax. Just remember, you have to use a lot of pressure and it seems you have to put down more than you think you will need. Have fun! Thank-you for the comment, Francis! 🙂

  6. Leslie, this is remarkable! I know it was a lot of effort that went in to this beautiful piece, the nice part is you had fun and we got to enjoy a lovely art today!

    • Thank-you for noticing the effort, Padmaja. I am sure you have had experience mixing media before and it never seems to come easy, does it? At some point we begin to have to go with what the painting is telling us to do and divorce ourselves from the image. I am still remembering your marvelous Banyan Tree here:
      and hoping that I can channel that kind of color and value to one of my paintings.

  7. Hoping to do some more drawings this coming Nov-March. I’ll post them as I finish them though.
    Maybe I’ll try a one of the woods all around my home.
    I sure love the one you did here. It’s very beautiful. It also reminds me of my property except I don’t have the bridge.

  8. Wow! wonderful detail and technic. The mixture of colors in order to get the values in the tree trunks and others details are wonderful. I couldn’t attempt a painting like this… This is a hair puller outer and I have very little hair to pull out. Beautiful!

    • Ha! Love the hair puller line! I believe I’ve seen one you did of a woods.Remember? ….and you talked about how, as a kid, how you ventured out and walked and explored in it? Thank-you for this thumbs up on this one, Ryan. My hope, other than color, was to capture the fullness and density of our woods around here.

  9. All the elbow grease and extra effort was worth it, Leslie. Magnificent… captures the feel and colors of fall wonderfully.

    • Thanks, Adam! When fall comes, I can’t help but pull out the crayons and give wax resist a go.

  10. Hi Leslie. Oh I like this scene. It reminds me of a photo attempt of a very similar scene in a local private Nature Sanctuary. YOUR painting captures MORE of what I was after with my camera. The light just wouldn’t cooperate to highlight the colors and textures as all your ‘elbow grease’ and other efforts have so wonderfully.
    Btw, if you’re inclined, or anyone else is, please post a music link/video to One Earth for All. Anything that you think expresses YOUR connection to Nature. Loved your comments–earthy and primal–LOL–wonderful word choices!

    • Thanks, Eva! I spent a lot more time trying to get this to look dense and thick.

  11. Your tree trunks are something else! As always. Every time I see a new portrait or figure by you, I want to make a suggestion that perhaps people as subject are something for you to put more time into. And then I see more of your tree trunks and am glad that I didn’t. Because it is not good to deprive the world from your tree trunks, IMO.

    • 🙂 You are so funny! Deprive the world of my tree trunks? Thank-you. Salt does wonders when you feed it into wet-in wet. That’s how I was able to get the bark texture. Itis a lot of sitting and watching, feed a little color, then drop more salt, then watch some more till I’m satidfied. Thank-you on the figure. People and animals are my very favorite subject but I need breaks from that and I so want to learn to do landscapes well……next will be abstracts. LOL!!!

  12. The results are incredible. In particular I really like the effect you’ve created on the trees and the colours are so beautiful. I’ve remembered what you said in one of your recent posts about making black from three other colours. The wax technique is really new to me. Another cracking post and picture!

    • Thank-you, Keith. I gave black a “go” for the tree trunks on this one. It really changes a scene dramatically as compared to brown tree trunks.

  13. Thanks Leslie. I always enjoy your work too.

  14. I’ve used white wax candles for some wax resist, but it never occurred to me to use colored crayons! I learn so much here.

    • I ran across this idea in a mixed media book that covered all sorts of ways to mix and mingle. Each one gets a little easier for me. I have used the candle or a white crayon, many times to achieve a speckled effect like sunlight on foliage. It works so well with practice. Thank-you, Carol!

  15. See “facebook” under my name.

    I am so grateful for “Jake”—your “Jake,” and my own.

    Love you. Heartfully.

    • Hi Tom! Thank-you for this. For anyone reading comments, Tom is referring to his beloved friend, Jake, who I painted in pastel a few years ago. I posted him, here:
      I don’t have facebook so can’t jump in. Thank you for this comment. It means a lot!!!! Love You Too! 🙂

  16. Wow – theres a lot going on in this painting – and all good :)I like sgrafitto as a technique and wax resist. The trees are amazing and when you get close up they don’t disappoint either! Very impressive, beautifully drawn and the detail is incredible Leslie! Well done!

    • Thank-you, Lynda! Last night, everyone in this class shared their wax resist. The thing that was most noticeable, when seeing it all together, is the bright color that wax crayon brings to a piece. The whole table that held everyone’s paintings looked so colorful!

  17. I gasped out loud when this one came up on the monitor, Leslie! It is jaw droppingly beautiful!!!!! WOW!! I could go on and on, gushing about this, but I am already wiping the drool off my keyboard!!! WOW!! **clapping** 🙂

    • 🙂 Thank-you, Thank-you, Beth! You have made my WEEK working on this worthwhile!

  18. Touching. Very grounding as trees and the first chakra colors tend to be. Nice to have the soft effect of the leaves against the solid bark of the trees.

    I see what you meant about the work involved in treating the leaves, it seems worth it 🙂

    • Thank-you, Nancy! It’s funny you should mention that grounding aspect as that is what I had to do at the very end of this painting. There was a stage where it appeared like the tree trunks were hovering. I had to go back in and darken that strip just behind the foreground dirt to give them someplace to rest. 🙂 Thank-you for continuing to visit and comment on my work! That means a ton!

  19. It looks so hard to do but it’s beautiful!! It’s well worth the effort and time you put in. 🙂

    • The fun thing about this is that, regardless of a person’s skill level, you always end up with something colorful. Thank-you for the visit and the comment, Earthianne! 🙂

  20. Your description made me realize one of the things I love about works on paper and that is there is pleasure in handling these objects and just seeing how everything is married together. What I couldn’t discern from the image (I enlarged it too)is the slight waxy track marks the crayons must have left behind? Nice painting Leslie!

    • Thank-you, Al! When you enlarged it, did you enlarge it twice? You can click, once and then click it again and it gets huge and you have to use the side-bar thingies to move around the image. The wax is the red, orangeand some yellow. The other thing I notice about these crayon resist paintings is the heft of it as compared to a painting with watercolor only.

  21. Beautiful painting, Leslie.
    I always make a horrible mess when I try wax resist with watercolour!

    • It is quite a challenge, at first, I agree. I never know how far to go, how much to put on the surface. They get less messy and better, the more of them I do. Thank-you, Val!

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