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My Granddaughter received a camera for her birthday. I have had the joy of teaching her to use it and take pictures of things she sees. Recently she went on a trip with her Mom to visit one of her Great Aunts and took her camera with her. From her seat in the car, she took a series of pictures of trees along the roadside. I asked her if she wanted to delete them. She said, “No Grandma. They are beautiful. They are our trees!”Β  I thought about that for awhile and decided that I had forgotten a time when I lived for a little time in the southwest. I remember missing the trees and the smell of the damp and the shadows the trees created on a landscape. I remember returning to this area and all I could see for awhile were the trees. This looks like much of Indiana along the roadsides in the country, here.Β  There is a simple beauty to the trees year round. I would have to agree with her. They are beautiful.

I painted the above scene on masa paper. I did not do a drawing, first. I just painted what I saw and felt from the discussion she and I had.Β  I wonder if her visions and thoughts about the trees she sees prompted the painting she did a few weeks ago:

Makes me wonder.



  1. Oh my gosh! Your granddaughter is so precious. Like you may be wondering, I too think that she had painted what she believed she saw. But it also looks like a vision she saw in the fall with all those pretty colored trees. I forget what her age is, but that does not matter. Her painting is beautiful; I love all the color and her layers of landscape below the treeline.
    I’m sure all the picture she took would come to be a fond memory for you at a later date, so I agree with her to keep them. Besides, look at the lovely woods scene you have created, Leslie. The trees look as they do here after the last of the fallen leaves and the duration of winter.
    Beautiful work, both of you!

  2. My Granddaughter just turned five, Debbie. I do think we miss a lot of what they see and I remember so much of my own youth and vision by just sitting and talking with her.
    Your comment about the trees I painted looking like end of winter trees is right on! A scene we often don’t pause to enjoy. Thank you so much for your comment. Hug that puppy for me! πŸ™‚

  3. Wow this is Gorgeous! The paper adds texture and the trees are beautiful, a lot of work, but well worth it for your fans.

    • About midway across the page I had to take an overnight break. I was afraid I’d get careless. The other half of the trees were painted over three evenings. Thank you, Ryan!

  4. Wow, that is stunning and the fact you didn’t draw it first just makes it all the more so! The colours are beautiful and make me think of a hazy winter sun low in the sky. lovely.

    • Hi Nicola! Thank you for the visit my way and for your perceptive comment. That is exactly how the sun was, that hazy kind where you can only see a lightening in the cloud cover. I didn’t draw this one, first, because I thought the graphite might darken the colors as the trees are so narrow. Not drawing is rare for me.

  5. Wow Leslie, you have been so busy! I love the technique on this one, great painting. You must have a rather large library of artwork by now, incredible. Always a pleasant surprise to be found here.

  6. beautiful Leslie, this post has touched my heart.

    • Hi Kirsty!
      Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. I clicked on your tag and it sent me to a page that said you are no longer blogging. I can still get to your blog on my old link. I finally noticed where you said you have a new site. Lovely photos on that, Kirsty! Will you be returning to blogging in the future? Miss you!

  7. I think you’re so right, Leslie, there’s something so magical and compelling about trees, I do feel they are so much a part of who we are and what this Planet is… A landscape without trees looks so empty and barren to me… and it seems your granddaughter agrees… I love her drawing, oh and yours too of course… πŸ˜‰ … great to catch up with you…xPenx

    • It is nice to know someone can get caught up these days! πŸ™‚ I am trying but lately “I” have been behind.
      I like trees, especially in the summer. It is umpteen degrees cooler to paint while sitting under them in the summer and they brighten up a landscape for sure! πŸ™‚ Thank you, Pen!

  8. That masa paper sure does add some amazing texture to this painting, and it fits so perfectly too… and your granddaughters painting is superb… Gotta love those colours…

    • Thank you, Brian. I am sticking with the masa paper paintings for awhile. There are so many possibilities to explore with it. Thank you, also, for the praise of the Granddaughter’s painting. There is some kind of honesty in hers I think.

  9. Your granddaughter must have the same love and respect for nature (and trees) as her grandma. Your painting is beautiful and just like the treelines in my part of the state.

    • I have to chuckle at your comment. On the trip to Indy, from here, it is either roadside stands of trees like this or wide open fields and the occasional gas station, fast food exit. Thank you, Linda! πŸ™‚

  10. Leslie, the trees are beautiful! And this new paper you are using seems perfectly suited to this wooded landscape – adding all kinds of interesting lines and textures. How wonderful that you are able to share in this way with your granddaughter!

    • Thank you, Laurie! I am glad I tried this row of trees. I had no idea what it would turn out like, but the texture in the paper really pushed this scene into a reality all its own. The Granddaughter and I share many hours together and I actually think she is teaching me to open “my” eyes!

  11. You both are one wonderful team, sharing thoughts and perceptions! I loved both the creations and you know, some times, we learn a lot from little children!

  12. Hey, Pissaro? Serat? Leslie, your trees remind me of their renederings of such brown bare limbs. That’s a good thing in my book. Hello! Love your grand-daughter’s vibrant colors. It’s ALIVE!

  13. This is really gorgeous, Leslie!
    Ps. Thank you for taking part in finding the answer to my riddle πŸ™‚

    • I can’t believe I actually guessed it, Marinela! Thank you for the comment!

  14. Love the light on the tree barks Leslie! The rainbow colours of your Grand daughter’s painting are inspired πŸ™‚
    Are trees Siver birch?

    • No. The trees were not silver birch, but I loved the effects that the paper was causing on the bark I was painting and I allowed the image to “sing its’ own song”. For me? I love it that the work can speak to me and I do not mind changing my course mid painting. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your kind comments and that I did include the light on the barks! Ever-observant you are and I appreciate that!

  15. Oh I love your trees… I REALLY love the trees painted on the masa paper like this. The texture and feel of the scene is so beautiful. How precious your little daughter is. Her painting is so full of life and color.

    • Thank you, Amber! πŸ™‚ I am going to try another tree painting on this paper this week end. I think I’m hooked on this paper for awhile. The Granddaughter thanks you!

  16. I like this one, a lot! This could be your ‘style’ right there, Leslie. Do more, I think you’re on to something!

    • I am certainly enjoying this to the maximum, Frank. This paper is more pleasing than anything I have worked on. I am still working with it. After a couple more, I’m going to try to work larger. Thank you for the encouragement, bigtime!

  17. This is absolutely beautiful! I am really loving your work on the masa paper and must give it a try.

    I just love these trees, I think this is one of my favorites of yours. And your granddaughter is a natural. I love her trees too.

    • I think I am having too much fun with these. I love watching what the pigment does in these, so I paint a little and watch and paint a little more and watch. It doesn’t really bleed but settles into the grooves or speckles. The paint goes where you put it but dries different than on just watercolor paper. Thank you, Carol. I’m still wondering what a water tower scene might look like on this.

  18. You already know how much I like this, or at least you should. The masa technique has worked really well on the woodland scene. I love the way the light drifts through the trees,and the values in the trunks,
    it doesn’t just capture a mood, I think it’s also technically brilliant. Some of the trees in this painting are so well painted and understood, it illustrates how wide the gulf is between student and teacher. I the student and your greatest admirer!

    • I feel guilty receiving praise for some of the wonder of this paper I am experimenting with. The wonderful speckling of the trees had something to do with the colors I chose to render them in combined with the texture of the wrinkled paper. I am very slow in my painting process and saw this effect begin to occur and decided to allow the paper to show me how it wanted to paint itself. I supplied the colors,water and shapes and sat with mouth gaping. A watercolor instructor told me, once, that if I can learn to partner with the water and allow it to do some of the work that I would have a lot easier time painting. I think he was right. I am still working on it. πŸ™‚ Thank you, Keith!

  19. So cute Leslie! I like how you show us both the pictures for us to compare and muse about πŸ™‚ Her tiny fingers seem to be thinking of a birthday cake and candles as she drew this cute landscape.. Ha ha..
    As for your drawing the three hour drive to the Smokies seems a lot more closer..!
    I hope you will draw some spring blooms while we spring forward.. !
    Have a great Sunday..

    • I never thought of a birthday cake! How creative of you to visualise that, Rachana! I am going to tell her about your comment and she will probably be very pleased with that idea.
      Flowers for masa paper sounds like a great idea and I will keep that in mind, for sure. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  20. As a child, I had a fascination for trees that has never left me. I’d call it a ‘bonding’ really, and your small granddaughter probably has the same empathy.

    I love your spontaneous painting of the trees, Leslie (and your granddaughter’s painting, too!)

    Masa paper, oh Masa paper… wherefore art thou, Masa paper. Come to mamma….! (I must find some, it looks brill!)

    • What is it about trees? They often capture my attention. Each variety seems to have a distinct way of standing and a personality of their own. They live through eons standing in the same place and taking in the changes around them. I like them, too.
      Oh, I do hope you give this masa a go, Val. Thank you!

  21. the light, the contrast of the trees against hill and sky…the sense that each one, like nature herself, has been tended to the utmost and developed beautifully…and yet the unity…can’t stop staring. this is wonderful!

    • Thank you, JRuth. Those were exactly my thoughts as I painted them. This stand of trees can’t be too awfully old, judging by the girth of their trunks. It seems as though they are working in unity to reach for light and establish themselves but each so significantly different. Not unlike us in some ways. Thank you so much.

  22. Nice painting Leslie…the paper really works well with this image. Love that you and your granddaughter have art to share.

    • Thank you, Al. I have to give the credit for that lovely speckling to the paper and the way the pigment settled. The Granddaughter opens my eyes I think. πŸ™‚

  23. What beautiful paintings these are. I especially liked the cats. They remind me of my “grandcat” Gizmo. He is the greatest relaxer in the world. Your cats seem to have the same talent.

    The trees painting was gorgeous too. The textural quality you have given the trees is wonderful.

    • Thank you, Ruth. Yes, the cats have that talent. I wish I could take credit for that speckling on the tree trunks, but much of it was the effect of the paper and pigment.

  24. I like that you post your work here together. Darling rendering by your granddaughter.

    Both are beautiful. What fine memories she will take with her into adulthood.

    • She gets such a kick out of drawing and painting and I think we just sort of feed off of each others interests. Thank you, Jamie! πŸ™‚

  25. I have always loved your trees and these are awesome! They seem to be swaying to music…. perhaps there is a symphony in the park playing nearby. πŸ™‚ Wonderful painting!!!!!

    • I did not see that. Thank you for the reference to music, Beth! πŸ™‚

  26. The paper takes on the veins and dry wrinnkles of a leaf, imitating nature, just as most things do!I love this painting and the shadows defined by your paint and by the veins in the paper.

    • You are so right, Nancy! I did not see that, either! This is why I blog. Your comment and Beth’s, above, help me to understand the beauty of art. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  27. Simply amazing, Leslie. There’s not much more that I could say except that I hope this persists.

    • The masa paper paintings will continue. I like the element of texture and surprise it brings to the painting. Thank you, Amy. πŸ™‚

  28. Wow, the colors and the texture and the perspective really blend well. I just love the scene, makes me feel like it’s sunset or some kind and the silhouette it’s just amazing.

    • The reference for this may have been taken late in the day. I can tell you that the majority of our winter days, here, has this gray haze to them and there is a lighter area where the sun is being blocked bythe clouds. Those days look much like what is pictured in this painting. Thank you, Francis. πŸ™‚

  29. Yo have mastered that technique Leslie! And your colors, as always, are stunning… Quite a beautiful piece… should be on the wall!

    • Thank you, Isabelle! I think this may have been a perfect subject for this masa paper. Really gives those tree trunks texture!

  30. Sometimes it takes the wonder of youth to see the beauty in the simplest things. I think she may grow to be a very wise person! It’s great when you can stop and appreciate the many small and ordinary things in your life that you take for granted. Your watercolor is lovely and really conveys the season.

    • I try to listen very carefully to what my granddaughters say. I continually find wonder in the things they notice about the world around them. Thank you Kathleen! πŸ™‚

  31. The painting of the trees is stunning. I love the texture and highlights you have on the trunks of the trees. I think it looks better than reality.

    • What a wonderful comment, Binky. Thank you. This paper does its’ best to shove me into a new way of seeing!

  32. This is really beautiful- simple but also very refined.
    I also often prefer to paint trees without drawing with pencil first;it seems to help the flow of them & you’ve certainly got that with these.

    • After viewing your recent post with that tree with the moving branches that you just posted I take this as praise, indeed, Sonya. Thankyou. I need to do more of this.

  33. wow! you are Grandmother πŸ™‚ your Granddaughter is cute, like you. I love her painting.

    • The Grandaughter is really enjoying art. The other day, while I was doing dishes, she actually drew Mickey and Minnie Mouse (famous cartoon characters, here). Thank you for your kind comment, Zeinab! πŸ™‚

  34. Oh this is beautiful, Leslie!! Thank you for sharing it and now I have the link for my next go round. I still have a piece in mind for masa paper too. I am still gearing up for it! LOL

    • Thank you for taking the time to peak at this, Sherry. There is always more than one way to approach rendering what we see. If we don’t succeed the first time, we just go in search of something that might work….. That’s what keeps me going, anyway.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Cherry Blossoms « Aswirly's Place on 14 Mar 2011 at 2:00 pm

    […] my second attempt at these flowers and I really hope she likesΒ it. Β I have been enjoying Leslie’s crinkled masa paper paintings and thought maybe I could give this painting a more textured, almost fabric feel, by soaking […]

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