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There is a beautiful little dogwood tree growing in the midst of the tall trees lining the drive leading to the spot where I have currently been painting. This is a loose and fairly quick painting of this little tree. I had spattered some frisket on a piece of Arches paper last week and didn’t want to waste it. That start became a dogwood tree in fall color.


  1. soaking up these colors, leslie. i love fall!!

    • Thank-you so much, Jruth. I found some new combinations in this painting. There is a color called earthen green on my palette and it mixes so nicely with other greens and even blues and neutrals to make grays and blacks that work. It’s soft and not so harsh like other watercolor greens. Fall is a wonderful time. Our rest after the heat of summer.

  2. Oh we have white and ‘violet’ dogwood flowers here in Missouri. They have some of the most graceful branch spreading shapes of all trees. MMMM. !!!

    • It is also the Missouri State Tree! You lucky people! I agree with you. The branches are absolutely graceful as though the tree was caught mid-dance. Thank-you, Eva!!

  3. This is such a poetic image, Leslie! It is practically a haiku in watercolor. The leaves seem to be fluttering, and the misty background just enhanced the effect. I am in love with the white dots of the BG. They make me think of the upcoming snow and make the whole thing even more nostalgic.

    I see similar dainty dogwoods as I go for my walks, and follow them wistfully with my eyes – they are so paintable! If I weren’t up to my butt in alligators… I mean – portraits :D. What you did in this painting is what I hoped to do if I had the bandwidth and skill. Thank you for that! For seeing this and preserving it.

    • Thank-you, Alex. I am thrilled that you compared this image to “haiku in watercolor” as I tend to be a little heavy in my watercolor applications most of the time…. Dogwoods, as you say are so dainty and I wanted to try and “get that” in this image. 🙂 I can hardly wait to see you watercolor again after all these portraits….

  4. Splash some frisket on some Arches and voila! A beautiful fall painting. You are amazing. I like this quick, loose painting very much.

    • I know, about that frisket. I’m going to try that again sometime. Purely accidental! I tried to scumble like Carol King but all it did was soften my dashes! 🙂 Thanks Carol!

  5. Sometimes, simple compositions steal hearts with in seconds and this is such a one Leslie, brilliant!

    • Thank-you, Padmaja. Sometimes I get so into a detailed work that it is fun to just sit and with a carefree spirit paint something RIGHT NOW. 🙂 That is how this one came about. Your intuitiveness about that is special.

  6. Very pretty!

  7. Nice work Leslie – I love the subject matter and your delicate handling.

    • Hi Stephen! This one was a “quickie”. 🙂 Probably the closest to “fast” that I can muster. Thank-you.

  8. This is beautiful, Leslie! Like a tree of fall butterflies!! 🙂

    • What a neat observation, Beth! I like that. I remember seeing a documentary on the Monarch Butterfly and they were clustered on branches in the scene down in Mexico is it? Rather like that I think. Thank-you for the insight!

  9. I can’t blame you for wanting to paint that tree; beautiful aren’t they. Just as this painting is beautiful.

    • I love the way they look so fragile standing against all the larger trees in the woods, but still demand our attention because of it. Thank-you, Debbie!

  10. What is frisket? This is very beautiful Leslie. The tree has so much movement, like it is bending in an Autumn breeze. 🙂

    • Liquid frisket is also called masking fluid or masking film, Amber. It is used to either save the white of the paper or other colors, after the wash is dry. It is a fluid substance that dries to a hard rubber that you remove later by rubbing with your finger or a rubber pick-up eraser. I prefer Pebeo Drawing Gum as it seems to be a little thinner and easier to work with than others I have tried. I usually coat my brush with some mild soap or brush cleaner, dip it in the fluid and paint out the shapes I want saved. The soaps helps to prevent your brush from getting gummed up and ruined.I splatter with it quite a bit as I like the textured effects of that look. Google liquid friket or masking film and it should bring up a bunch of different name brands of the stuff. It can be used with other mediums, also. Thank-you for your comment, Amber! 🙂

        • aswirly
        • Posted October 27, 2010 at 1:44 am
        • Permalink

        Leslie, thank you so much for the explanation. I appreciate it! How fascinating to learn there are so many fun things like this to try. I will definitely google and look for this next time I take a trip to the art store. Thank you!

  11. Leslie, you and I are barking up the same tree! Love it. Those autumnal colours are beautiful and yet so difficult to capture. I produced a quick watercolour over the weekend using a smiler subject matter, but my colours didn’t work! I think I was trying to be too intense. This however is wonderful.

    • I think you did great with popping the color with the boys on the beach! Thank-you for this comment and for mentioning my work on your recent post. 🙂

  12. Nice autum leaves painting Leslie. I guess some of the leaves near your house start to turn orange. Unfortunately i can’t experience that here, we are all year green. Must have been refreshing to feel the colder air again after the very hot summer month.

    • Oh yes. This summer was hot. We had some really nice 70 degree weather last week. My favorite time to be outside. The leaves are about done changing, now. It won’t belong and our high temps will be low 40’s. After that? Well, it gets REALLY COLD. Our heat could not have been as high as what you experience in the summer, but it was extremely high for us. Thank-you, Francis for your comment. I am enjoying your arctic paintings! 🙂

  13. Leslie – this is reminescent of your Xmas tree from last year, for some reason, even though it is totally different. It is also beautiful.

    • I felt the same way about this little dogwood tree. Maybe it is because they both lean the same direction on the format and their branches appear so fragile and trunk so small. There is a poet who is blogging who I find especially perceptive of the nature around her. She wrote a poem here: that I read the first person in it to be a tree. I likened these words to what my little tree, who struggles to exist, might say and thought you might enjoy it. Also, she wrote one here that totally blew me away:
      Your ability to photograph nature and hers to write about it bring wonder to me! Thank-you for your comment, Kate! 🙂

  14. I could mention the beautiful colors, the wonderful technics, the talent that you have in a single finger… but I’m not, all that becomes repetitive, so I will just say this… You are a wonderful talent with a way with colors and technics… Darn it, I did it again!

    • Thank-you, Ryan….you know I feel the same about you and your work. 🙂

  15. i do like this one leslie.
    it’s quite moody

  16. Quick and yet still very beautiful. Love the colours! (You’ll hear me say this often.) 🙂

  17. Hello Ms. Leslie,
    I have come to realize that I really love your trees. Many of my favorites of yours are your trees. I can’t decide if I like the red or the golden leaves best, but I do love your little dogwood. I posted a few autumn photos a while ago. Come see them when you have the chance.

    • Perhaps it is because this tree is just enough, sort of like a haiku? I so enjoy trying to capture trees; each one very different if we only take the time to look. Thank-you, Yousei, for your time in visiting and commenting!!! 🙂

    • Snapsandsnippets
    • Posted November 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Hello Leslie,

    I happened upon your blog quite by accident, because of this illustration. It reminds me so much of the little dogwood tree on our property – in Indiana, no less. I waited just a day or two too long this week before taking a photo and it went from full red glory to poof – no leaves left at all. I love that your painting captures the intermediate stage. I think your work is lovely, I would very much like to show this image on my blog – which is about scrapbooking, and completely non-commercial. Of course I would attribute your artwork to you with a link back to your blog. Are you willing to let me do that? If not I understand, and in any case, I thank you for the little bit of happiness seeing your work brought to me today. I hope to hear back. S

    • Thank you for this praise, S. Of course you may use the digital on your blog. 🙂

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