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I ran across a beautiful photo reference of a tiger, up close and personal, on the wet canvas site a while back.Β  I think I just wanted to see what his face would look like painted on masa paper. I also experimented with black and white watercolor and dribbled other colors into them. The inspiration for a tiger came from Francis’s painting of a tiger last summer found here.


  1. wow. i mean aloha Leslie. wow. you have mastered that masa paper. this is interesting because the image you’ve painted is fascinating in itself. and then looking up close every bit of each area is fascinating on it’s own too. very cool. and fun. now… i wonder where you are going to push masa paper to, beyond where it is already explored… ?? bwahahahahaha. aloha.

    • Hi Wrick!
      How did you guess? A fellow art teacher just gave me one of her old books that she had two copies of. It is titled “Watercolor and Collage Workshop” and is by Gerald Brommer. I am going to try painting with various oriental papers, next, as well as keep up with the masa and other things I do.
      Thank you for the comment about looking up close. I think that is the thing that has fascinated me the most. I have to make a decision to go back in with a wet brush, in areas, but the paper usually rewards me with fascinating color and shape.

  2. A Penetrating Look,green eyes! that is great.

    • Thank you, Zeinab! I think it was the green eyes in the photo that drew me to want to paint this. πŸ™‚

  3. Brought wonderfully alive on the paper Leslie, those eyes are mesmeric, in fact the whole face is making feel I want to ‘pat’ the head, but I do like my fingers!! πŸ˜‰ xPenx

    • Me too! I’ll bet his coat is so thick we would not find his skin. I like my fingers, too! πŸ™‚ Thank you, Pen.

  4. Yes, I too am captivated by your ability to create eyes so alive, Leslie. In your other animals as well! When I enlarge this painting and study the eyes, I wonder how on earth you know where to put just the right stroke and colour. I also look at how asymmetrical the shapes, the markings, etc. Such observation and respect for Nature.

    • Big SMILE! You noticed. This tiger was not symmetrical. I thought that was something important to pass on. I think he may have had his head turned slightly. That gave me a view of more of the left side of his face; our right side as we face him. His one eye slanted upward a bit. …and the stripes! Yikes! I think that was one of the reasons I wanted to try this guy. I took a trip through some of the videos on tigers. The stripes are not symmetrical on any that I saw. Yes, this turned into a learning experience. The eyes. I just try to paint what I see. One of my art teachers taught me that. Thank you, Amy!

  5. This painting is stunning, Leslie!! I really love it; all those cool lines and wrinkles really makes this an awesome masterpiece. Bravo Leslie!!

    • I have to give the paper the credit for the wonderful addition of texture and life it brings to paintings. I am beginning to think that any subject can be painted on it effectively. Thank you, Debbie!

  6. These crinkles really add to this painting! You know how to use it well! It goes with the stripes and gives so much interest!

    • Hi Isabelle,
      The crinkles are part and parcel of why I like working on this paper. You have hit on another point about the stripes. I was hoping they would be furthur readable due to the wrinkles.
      I thought of you the other day when I happened upon this blog. He paints outside in the “COLD”! I did not know if you were aware of his blog, but thought you might be interested. πŸ™‚

        • napabelle
        • Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:32 am
        • Permalink

        WOW, he sure does paint in the cold! Thanks for sharing!

      • Thought you might be interested in that. πŸ™‚

  7. Hola, Painting Lady. Playing with Tiger Fire, are we? You’ve been “Touch”-ed with an award-link at my blogcasa. I hope you get tons more “students” to sic your Tiger on. LOL.

    • I love the idea of your award title, Eva. Thank you.
      Yep. Had to do a tiger…… I think it was the stripes. πŸ™‚

  8. You capture such an intense stare; and painting it on masa paper looks like it brings out the texture of the Tiger in a unique way. Great work.

    • Thank you, Adam. I am learning more and more about this surface with each subject matter I attempt. I think it lends itself to about everything.

  9. You certainly captured his stare perfect! Masa has definitely made it very special and this textured work stands out among a crowd of other tigers πŸ™‚

  10. You have become a Masa Master, Leslie!

    • I like the sound of that, Alex. I am more like a Mess Master, however, constantly cleaning up this and picking up this. Have you ever noticed how many supplies we think we need to create? Thanks for the visit, Alex! πŸ™‚

  11. That’s pretty amazing Leslie… Love the intensity you’ve managed to recreate in his eyes…

  12. Great painting, the masa paper technique works well with this subject!

    • I am beginning to think that this paper can be used for about anything, Sandrine. It is just plain fun to paint on. Thank you!

  13. Leslie, It seems like everything you do on masa paper has turned out amazing. This tiger looks like it will jump off the page. Amazing.

    • I’m wondering if I’ve found my favorite surface for painting, at this point, Carol. It is fun to play with applying the washes and then trying to figure out what each toned paper lends itself to in the way of color and subject matter. Then it is a lot of painting and lifting and softening. It takes longer, but somehow more rewarding. Thank you!

  14. Oh my gosh!! This is wonderful!! I love the way the color follows all those wonderful creases and wrinkles. It was so fun to enlarge it and study all that glorious color!! Good job, Leslie!

    • Thank you. Beth. These are fun to enlarge. The other thing that happens is that each piece changes dramatically with the light in the room, when you are viewing the originals. I am wondering if that effect is furthur enhanced because of layered paper and the transparency of the watercolor medium. I am certainly having a fascination with it. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  15. What a wonderful view from the top, and the color of the eyes are amazing. Like the others, the paper adds a lot of texture and interest, I would have thought that it might be a distraction, but far from it. Very Cool!

    • I thought the same as you about the paper. I’m beginning to think that about any subject material will work on this paper. Thank you, Ryan! πŸ™‚

  16. the close-up zoom-in on this is a feast in and of itself while the painting as a whole just sings of life and tiger glory. i’m awed.

    • Thank you, Jruth for zooming in. I am as intrigued as you are with the effects of watercolor when applied to this surface. I am thankful for the intricate things I see this wrinkled piece of paper put forth. Thank you for praise of the tiger image in and of itself.

  17. Good stuff, Leslie – I like that you’re trying all these different techniques. The textured paper is interesting as well. I had a chance to work on a piece of Khadi paper, it did not work for my type of art but anything textured would look great on it.
    Do you think you’re gonna settle for a certain style eventually? Not that you have to, just curious…
    have a good day!

    • I have never heard of Khadi paper, Frank. Thankyou for mentioning it. I willread up on it as I am becoming very interested in different surfaces and papers.
      You ask a good question about style. I have never actually sought a particular style but admire it in others. I am still on my journey in exploration of this medium of watercolor and immensely enjoy trying all that I can with it. I will probably not settle on any one technique for the sake of a style, but would welcome the time when my images begin to reflect some similarities in line and value and offer some insight into who I, the artist, might be. I tend to be rather edgy with my subject material. I do know that. Try as I might, it comes back. I like to work in layers and I like to live with a painting for a time. I think I want my work to reflect that. I’m not in search of style. I hope it comes in search of me.

      Thank you for your comment and a wonderful question!

  18. Wonderful painting, Leslie! I really love the texture coming from the paper and you manage to bring to life that amazing portrait. The green eyes are are fantastic.

  19. That tiger has a dangerous look. lol
    Very nicely done

    • Ha! I think he is just engaging you in a staredown. πŸ™‚ Thank you, Richard.

  20. I think that this is absolutely amazing on the masa paper. When I view it large the wrinkles in the paper really remind me of stained glass. I think the crinkled style gives the painting a delicate feel, and yet the intensity of the tiger, especially his eyes, gives such power to the image. I love it.

    • There “is” a stained glass look to this. Thank you, Amber. Your comment causes me to wonder what clear glass still life might look like on this paper.

  21. Brilliant! It looks almost 3D, as well!

  22. Man! – this is stunning

    • Thank you, Stephen. There is a certain obsession that has entered via this paper. I have never quite felt that before, other than when I first began to paint in watercolor and knew I was going to spend time, lots of it, with the medium.

  23. I had quite a visceral reaction to this cat on this paper. There is something emotional about this technique of painting on masa paper.

    • Maybe your attraction to the feline is showing through? I don’t know if it’s so much my image as it is the idea of the “big” cats. How can something so large and so bold be in danger? Thank you for this comment, Jamie.

  24. I am no artist at all, and had never heard of masa paper before…however, it seems to give a wrinkled quality to your paintings which I love.

    Your painting is awesome too. I especially love the gaze you have achieved in his eyes xx

    • Thank you, Chloe. Working with some different papers has fascinated me, lately.

  25. Hi Leslie! You are getting very good at this. This artwork of yours is so beautiful and striking and colorful…..!!! All I can say is: WOW!!! It also looks to me like skin or parchment….and those piercing green eyes! Very well done!! Have a great weekend.

    • I agree with you about the parchment look. It is a bit thicker feeling than parchment, when dry, but very fragile when wet. Thank you for this comment, Jan.

  26. You’ve really hit it off with this paper Leslie. Your tiger is incredible and full of life. I’m slightly envious when I view your work.

    • This tiger would not look half of what he does, here, without that masa background. I think this paper helps the way I work. ….and I honestly don’t know why. You are so kind in your praise of my work, Keith. You do know I feel the same about yours.

  27. Love your paintings on masa. This is my favorite.

    • It is kind of an “in-your-face” kind of a tiger, but I enjoyed the textural qualities this toned and crinkled paper allows for. I think one of my favorite things about painting on it is the ability to lift and lighten some areas and to furthur define forms without etting too dark until I really want to. There is some amount of freedom and I really feel as though I’m truly painting and moving forward instead of always being careful I’ll mess something up. Thank you, Raji!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] The above was another attempt to experiment with a figure on masa. I am discovering that this surface is adaptable to any subject matter. I painted a Westhighland Cow here, Β a cat here, and a tiger here. […]

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