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The above is my attempt at exploring an exercise we did in the first creative drawing class this session.  The assignment was to draw the topline of a cityscape across your support paper. From that line you were to continue drawing and painting and design your own cityscape with the use of line, value , texture and shape. 

I drew the entire cityscape on drawing paper with graphite, first. I used drawing paper from my sketchbook.  Because I was intrigued with Amber’s crumpling of regular paper, here, I decided to crumple my drawing and then glue it to watercolor paper.  I then painted my city scene. I had read that I could draw on tissue paper with waterproof ink and glue that to a painting and decided to try it with this piece. The window and the figure were drawn on tissue paper and then glued to the surface of the cityscape. Whoops! I tore it in places. Will need to be more careful in my glueing process in the future.  I think I could have encouraged a few more tears, however, as they may have been better incorporated into the painting that way.  Once the tissue paper dried, I painted on top of that surface, also. This layering, crumpling, painting is really opening a door for me. Such fun!



  1. I love your description, Leslie, and it sounds fantastic fun to do. Plus need I say? I love the finished resulting colourful cityscape. Totally eye-catching, and makes you search here there and everywhere, to the skyline and back, to drink it all in… Fun to do and magical to view.

    • Thank you Pen. You have made my day on this comment because it is ever-so-hard for me to reproduce things from my mind. Usually I look at the results, this one included, as though they are foreign. You sharing that your eye moved around the painting helps me a great deal. Thanks. 🙂

  2. I like that this is a fairly physical process involving different papers and tissues. The results look pretty good!

    • I liked that, too, Al. This one was like taking baby steps. I want to do more of the drawing on tissue paper and crumpled masa and perhaps can figure out some other textural things I can do. Thank you for reinforcing that aspect of this.

  3. The more I study this, the more intrigued I get. The textures, the composition, colors, so interesting. Again, and I know it gets old, but I love your art!

  4. I love it, Leslie! This one is so cool. I found myself studying it for a long time, enjoying everything I see. In fact, right after this post I’m going to look at it some more. 🙂 Thank you so much for posting all you do, Leslie. You open my mind to try so many things. Love the painting!

    • Thank you, Debbie, as I actually hesitated in posting this one. That old inner critic was getting to me a little, perhaps due to the tears and the blind construction of the whole thing. You give me confidence!

  5. I think this is a wonderful technique…well done

    • Thank you Ruth. I have so admired yours and other artists’ collage work. I really want to try more of this. Your Victorian collages were great!

  6. It’s very interesting, Leslie, and I love your colours!
    Apropos experimenting with different surfaces, have you tried drawing or painting on cotton fabric? I don’t mean with fabric paints, but with thickish watercolour, or using watercolour pencils? I did this years ago, painted some geranium leaves after having stapled a piece of white cotton to a thick piece of card. It was a really nice effect.

    • No. I have not watercolored on cotton. What a challenge that would be! Do the staples hold?…and then you’d frame it on the support? Sounds fascinating and CHALLENGING! 🙂 Thank you, Val!

  7. It’s easy to become intimate with your paintings because of your explanations…loved the little “oops”. Maybe I’ve been on the computer too long today, I had the window placed in different positions, including as a sky light by her feet. But I finally got it!

    What freedom you give yourself to play! Wonderful.

    • Ha! You have me chuckling once again, Amy. I obsessed over that window. I could have made it stronger, but didn’t want to block out the scene of the city along with doing that. This was raw experimenting, here, on this one. I love the idea of a skylight at her feet….now, why didn’t I think of that? Thank you. You just made this piece more fun!

  8. I studied this for a long time, now itching to try it out on canvas! I loved this idea of glued tissue paper and it has created quite a lot of drama to the whole composition. What do you think about the durability of the painting in the long run? Any protection to be used on the surface to protect the texture created?

    • I see no reason why it would not be durable in the long run. I use acrylic matte fixative to glue with. I add a tad of water to it so it is easier to apply. I apply it on the surface of the papers, also. I read in a collage book a few years back that this helps protect papers. The surface dried quite hard. Other than the tears in it, you can barely tell it is there. I bought some heavier tissue paper today than I used for this, so I’m hoping it won’t tear so easily. Thank you, Padmaja! I think this would work beautifully on canvas!

  9. Lovely painting Leslie. There is something very profound about this painting. I kept putting myself in this woman’s place and wonder what she is thinking as she gazed into the distant cityscape. Love the texture, the warm and cool colors in the painting, evokes an interesting emotional pull.

    • I am trying to figure it out also. I can only tell you that my thoughts were of all the people in a large city and that when I view a city as a whole, that is how I view the people; as a whole. Behing each set of windows in the apartments,though, live x number of people. Then I got to thinking about the importance and the life of one person in that city and how that one person could be looking out one of those windows thinking the same thing I was thinking at the same time. That’s the thought she came from. Very humbling, indeed. Thank you, Emily!

  10. Hi Leslie. Oh I so enjoy the contrast between the woman and the buildings. Her looking out over the city makes me wonder what she sees that I can’t. It’s her place.
    O and I like the colors too.

  11. This is lovely. The figure looks ethereal and the beautiful colours you’ve used added to the vintage look with the layers of paper and texture.

    • I only wish I had thought to encourage a few tears, elsewhere now, For the vintage look you have just mentioned, Nicola. Thank you!

  12. The challenge I think you over came in this effort was that you empower a perfect vision to shine through the shit that happens.

    • 🙂 Perhaps you are correct in saying that. I love to visit a big city, but to live in one would challenge my need for open space, Sam. Thank you!

  13. I just love it, Leslie! This one is really cool 🙂
    Beautiful work!

    Have a great weekend ahead

  14. It seems like you are really getting into these cityscapes.
    It must be great fun with all of these different techniques.
    Nice touch with the urban sunbather. I like this.

  15. That sure is quite the process you’ve put together there, and I do like the almost surreal quality of the final piece too… Very unique…

    • I think I need to work on this tissue paper idea, Brian. I can see drawings, in my head, I would like to paint after painting a base and laying it over the top. More room to grow I think? Thank you!

  16. Hi Leslie, You are our guru for trying new techniques. I’m glad you posted this. I love it, tears and all.

    • This was so absolutely experimental, Carol. The idea that we can draw on a piece of tissue paper with waterproof ink and then glue that over a painting or some first washes, and then paint again on that surface is really interesting. This was sort of touch and go all the way. Thank you, Carol!

  17. Really wonderful! This is a very interesting process. I like the layered look. It makes your painting seem dream-like. The the lady is off daydreaming about big city life.

    • This was an eye-opener for me, Linda. I want to have some time to explore this furthur when classes end. …and I like the idea of the lady daydreaming about big city life! Thank you!

  18. This is way cool and so fun to look at, Leslie! I enjoyed enlarging it and really studying it. Thanks so much for trying all the new things that make me want to paint “outside the box”. Now if you can just figure out a way for me to have time to do all these things… he he . 😀

    • I thought you might like this as much as me, Beth. The idea of a drawing over a painting and painting over a drawing is very appealing to me. Finding time is my problem, also. Art is what I do in my spare time and sometimes there is not a lot of that. Cleaning my house suffers, at times, for sure…… Thank you! 🙂

  19. This is really amazing to me Leslie. Is it, three layers in total? I’m fascinated by the result. The layering, the textures, the colors, all create such and intriguing and fanciful image! What do you use to glue?

    • It started out with you going ahead and crinkling regular paper to paint on, Amber. Thank you for that. Then I read about the tissue paper idea and decided to try that. I have to become more creative and explore even more with this technique. I use Acrylic Matte medium and add about one fourth water to the medium. You can do the same with acid free Elmers but I don’t know if that dries shiny or with a matte finish. I use a brush that I only devote to glueing with it as it kills a brush. Hope that helps! Thanks, Amber!

  20. This one is unique. I find myself staring at the complexity of it. The woman seems to be sitting there, transparent, as though not really there. It’s interesting to explore, and the texture is captivating. Thank you for sharing, Leslie…

    • Thank you, Carol Ann. This was fun and the idea of the tissue paper is one I will explore furthur in the future. I think there may be more ways to enhance the texture with this, also.

  21. I love this. It truely captures the sense of a big city. I love nature and arts about nature, but I’m a city girl so I love this too.

    The colors are perfect. And I like the way it seems to first move up and then move out.

    Thank you!

    • It does move up and out and that is something I had not noticed, Jamie. Thank you! Oh for more time to explore painting from my mind instead of what I see. I like all the different thoughts and feelings, shared here, that other bloggers have mentioned. You all help me see better!

  22. Dear Leslie, thanks a lot for your comments, by the way. I smiled when I saw this picture 😉

    • You are welcome, Zeinab! I was really drawn to your creative painting of a home in heaven. I chuckle a little because I don’t want heaven to look like this big city and then me try to find a home in it. I kind of want ed the lady looking out the window to represent a lot of different ideas, mostly the viewer’s.
      Thank you, so much for the comment!

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