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The above painting was painted on soaking wet watercolor paper. I soaked 140 lb coldpressed Arches watercolor paper in a tub of water until it was completely saturated with water (about 5 to 10 minutes). I then lifted it out and flattened it onto a piece of acrylic with a wet sponge smoothing it out from the center to the sides. Make sure there are no air bubbles underneath the paper.  Presence of air bubbles can be seen by a bulge in the surface of the paper. It should lay completely flat to begin. I then begin applying watercolor pigment. It disperses rapidly, at first, so the color is rather weak and light. I usually try to select areas of color. Yellow where I want yellow and red where I want red. I may use several different hues of the same color. They will meet and run together. Once I have the base colors in, I start to shape darker areas in and pay attention to the paper as it dries. The drier it becomes, the more detailed my painting becomes.  If I don’t like what I have created or make a big blooper, I run the image under the tap and begin again. There will be some residue of staining pigment left behind each time I rinse but this may enhance the final painting.  Before the painting dries, completely, remove it from the acrylic. Because the paper is so wet, pigment does seep around to the backside and can adhere it to the surface of the acrylic and cause tearing during removal. I then lay the drying painting on one of my drawing boards to dry completely. There will be some rippling as it dries, but all of mine have gone flat after being stowed in my portfolio. You can view another painting done, using this technique, here.

I would also like to thank my students for allowing me to, once again, share one of their works from the second fall session here.  The second fall session was one of the most rewarding sessions I have ever taught. I thank you all who participated!  🙂

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50 Comments

  1. Lovely. I can just imagine this as the focal point in a room. Fun to decorate around it.

  2. Leslie, such vibrancy and color! And a techinque I will have to try. Thank you for so much beauty.

    • Oh yes, Eva! You like very wet watercolor. I think you would be phenomenal with this. Why stop with just the wet watercolor? Add your ink inspirations too! Thank-you!

  3. I sense I could sink into this – as one of the most soft, comfy, warm, and cozy places I can imagine. Probably has exotic aromas, too. 🙂

    • 🙂 It did have exotic aromas, Amy. Some of those red flowers came with thorns, but it does look soft the way I painted it and I included NO thorns! Thank-you for this comment. Deliciously descriptive.

  4. Leslie, the result looks more like an en-caustic work to my eyes.. the merge of colors is so smooth and wax like.. so very beautiful.. the technique is motivating me to try one for myself, thank you as always!

    • Thank-you, Padmaja. This does look smooth and melty the way the paint ends up on it. I have never done an encaustic. Someday, I hope to take a workshop and learn how. Oh. Do try one of these. You can even paint into them with pastels like here: https://lesliepaints.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/payton/ The pastel gets creamy while you work. I switch back and forth between the pastel and the watercolor when I do these.

  5. Ooooo, I love this. I can imagine the freedom you must feel, doing a painting this way. I do so much on detail and this looks absolutely freeing!! The student artwork is all so terrific, too, Leslie! You’re a good teacher!

    • This was freeing for me, also, Beth. I was going to re-wet this as I thought it looked unfinished. Several family members said, “NO! Let it be!” So, I let it be. Thank-you, Beth! 🙂

  6. How pretty! Pretty and gentle and soft! A wonderful reprieve that is so welcome in the middle of December – thank you!

    • Thank-you, Alex. I like that “pretty and gentle and soft”. …and they do look like a December bouquet. 🙂

  7. This elicited a “WOW” when I got to your page. The colors just pop and yet the piece is soft. Wonderful result – it’s just beautiful.

  8. Your wet on wet technique is just marvelous. Those colurs just fuse at each other and they look so soft. It’s really an impressive technique.

    • Thank-you, Francis. This is so much easier than many things I do. Can’t help but allow the color to run together when the paper is soaked. I first read about this technique in a magazine article and the artist actually soaked her paper in the local stream, river, or lake where she landscape painted.

  9. Leslie, this is a great technique. I love the softness of your painting and the way you use it for realistic work. I have only used it to build layers of abstraction for a collaged piece. In this case you use soaked paper with dropped in color then layer on torn paper and more paint as you stack your sandwich. Finish with a large sheet of plain soaked paper that is slightly smaller than your base. Then let your sandwich dry totally on the original board. Because there is not much paint at the edges you don’t get the sticking and tearing. After this you can do another round or start composing your abstract collage with the colored papers created. Peggy Brown from Nashville Indiana teaches this technique and is nationally recognized for her abstract compositions. She won 2nd place in the WSI show this year. Thanks to you and all of your students who create remarkable work!

    • Your paper stacking sounds interesting, Linda. Do you use glue, as adhere these papers together to create the format you are going to work on, or just stain the original piece of paper with the wet colored papers? The reason I ask is that I may like to try it and I don’t know how the papers would adhere without a glue. Thank you for this and your comments to this piece and my students!

      • Hi Leslie, when you are doing the initial painting steps you are basically just creating many pieces of paper using one palette of colors. The layering and stacking creates texture and shape as you stack things up. The last larger sheet of paper that completes the sandwich is not painted. It is also wet and “seals” the sandwich. It soaks up paint (color) as it dries. After the whole thing is dry you disassemble it and review the first big piece of paper to see what you can find. Then you use the other pieces of painted paper to comp[ose a collage. Sometimes you finish with additional painting on the collage or use colored pencil, gold leaf or charcoal or graphite to finish your piece. If this doesn’t make sense let me know and I think I can find information that will help make it clear.

      • Thank-you, Linda. I understand, now. The initial wet stacking is to create the textured pieces that have similar color schemes painted into them that will go together to create the final piece on the last sheet of paper. Thank-you!!

  10. What a fascinating and fun technique. It’s neat to see the way the colors all blend together on the wet paper. Really lovely.

    • Thank-you, Amber. That is the fun thing about this type of painting. It forces you to allow the colors to mix wet-in-wet, at first.

  11. Simply beautiful, I love the way you use it for realistic work. Very well done Leslie.
    All the best
    Marinela x

  12. This painting is so delicate, it reminds me of the days of the air brush! Each time you post, you introduce me to something new and make me think more about my own work. This is a technique I’m defiantly going to try, perhaps also with the boys! Stunning results-how do I know my own won’t be as good 🙂

    • You are right, Keith. It does appear airbrushed. It is also rather frustrating at the start as you keep feeding darker and darker color in to get the strength you need. I get a little fearful that I may be adding too much and will be unable to finish. But, so far, all attempts have worked out and taught me a little something. I have done this and Yupo painting with my Granddaughter. She can’t shape forms in too well as yet, but loves the look of the colors running together. Thank-you!

  13. Hmmm, you must be psychic! As you were doing your wet paper watercolor with spectacular results, I was trying one with not so good results. Your blog posting today was very helpful in making me think about what I should do with it next since I already ran mine under the faucet.

    I love the bright vivid colors in this and the looseness of it. Thanks again for always being there to teach us something.

    AND…. your students work is super duper! You had a talented bunch of students this semester.

    • Oh, I’m glad you are trying this, also. Maybe I can help a little. I chose only four colors to work with, here. I believe it was prussian blue, lemon yellow, permanent rose, and sap green. I stuck with those fearing I might get too muddy if I didn’t. I started with the red and yellow when the paper was wet and placed the flowers and the vase. The area where the stems were and all around the vase and flowers were white with the pigments slowly moving out into it. I darkened areas of the flowers, next, and one side of the vase. Then I waited until the shine left the paper and put in the stems with the green. You can pretty much see my original brushstrokes as darker. By then, my flowers were starting to dry some and I started working the prussian blue in. The blue was very light, at first, like the streak running through the vase. I waited for the paper to dry a little more and re-wet around the areas where the prussian blue is dark and fed a darker value of it in to the left and around the stems. When the paper was not wet enough to carry the water everywhere, I detailed, in blue, the negative shapes to one side of the vase, left of the flowers, above, and in between the stems. This looks nothing like my reference vase of flowers other than the colors. I had to wait a couple of times for the paper to dry a little before going on. Another thought that came to me is this would make a great start or base for a collage. On the banana plant painting, I actually painted until it was time to move the paper to a board and continued the detail after the painting was dry. Hope that helps, Carol!
      Thank-you for taking the time to look at the student work and commenting on it. They worked so hard!

  14. Expressive in its very nature.
    I like the looseness of it.
    It looks like flowers to my eye

  15. LOVE the colours you have used in this Leslie! I am a big fan of this technique also! I agree with artswebshow – an exuberant vase of flowers 🙂

    • Thank-you, Lynda. I tried to keep it simple. I did fully intend to take this furthur but wasn’t to be. I am wanting more time to go furthur in some of these techniques. I think I may be able to have some more time next fall and winter so am logging these ideas in a notebook. Don’t you think this would be a great base to build a collage or pastel from?

  16. This painting technique can give you a dreamy hazy result. I love this. Never tried this one before. I once did a painting in strong hues and then you will put the painting under water to get a soft focus. Once the surface is dry, you can add in more details. A variation from yours.

    • That is a really neat idea, Raji. Thank-you for the suggestion. I have also heard of painting in strong hues and laying a wet sheet of paper on top and with a print roller getting a monoprint out of it. I’d like to do some of that, also. Thank-you for the comment, Raji!

  17. Hi,dear friend.
    Thank you.I’m glad that i restart to post on blog.I can say that i was miss it.

    Have a great day.

  18. Hi Leslie, sorry I haven’t been able to stop in for awhile. I see you’ve been busy. I’ve got some looking around here to do.
    This painting here you’ve done is beautiful. I love the colors. They are so bright and cheerful. The painting makes me feel good to look at it.

    • I am having the same difficulty getting around. I think it is the season and have had to order visits so I can see what everyone is doing and working on! 🙂 Thank-you, Debbie!

  19. The season, of course, that’s what it must be! I am the busiest this time of year; frustrating too. I’m away in the summer and unable to get to anything more than a few pencils and a small pad of paper. So I try to get some more work done in the winter when I return. Then the holiday season creeps up and has to occupy my time. GRRRR. But that’s not a bah-humbug. 🙂

    • It has to be the season and feeling about two steps behind. I may slow down from time to time, but try very hard not to stop…. I, too, enjoy the bustle of the Holidays! 🙂 Thank-you for the visit!

  20. It looks like a spring bouquet. Is it too early to think of spring?

    • You are so observant, Richard! The reference for this was a march bouquet I received from my children. 🙂 I think we can begin thinking of spring at anytime. I remember thinking of it last summer during the heat and dry spells. Thank-you for the visit!

  21. This is so beautiful, Leslie!
    🙂

    It’s a technique I love to look at in others’ paintings (yours especially as you’ve got a gift for it), but I’ve never had any success with it myself, possibly because I prefer a more ‘controlled’ style and I can’t seem to let myself go with wet-paper watercolours. That said, years ago I did some paintings using egg white (a sort of ‘cheat tempera’) and straight-from-the-tube watercolours and my fingers and achieved a similar, if abstract, effect.

    • Thank-you, Val. I like painting on wetpaper when I notice I am getting too tight. I have never painted in egg tempera but have admired many paintings painted that way.

  22. How beautiful… I just happened upon your blog… fellow artists we are… diane

    • Thank-you, Diane. I just was over your way to view some of your work. Thank-you for this comment and taking the time to visit! 🙂

  23. Well done, Leslie! I like the lost and found edges in this piece! Happy Holidays my friend!

  24. Thank-you, Frank. I like the edge quality in this, also. It is something I need to see more of so I can incorporate it more in my other paintings. Happy Holidays to you, too! By the way, your current sky painting is awesome! http://frankeber.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/peninsula-clouds/

  25. Very pretty. I appreciate the student pictures you shared. There are some wonderful ones in there. I can see why you enjoyed that class so much. Wish I could be one of your students. 😉

    • Thank-you Yousei. The artists who take my classes have taught me so much about creativity and vision. Wish we lived close enough to share creatively other than on the internet, also. 🙂


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