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If you have been following me, you know I have a new found fascination for painting on masa paper and just briefly touched on layering a tissue paper drawing over another drawing and creating a painting from that.  Recently I was gifted a book titled “Watercolor & Collage Workshop”  by Gerald Brommer.  The above is my first painting following his first assignment in this book.  I was to lay down initial washes bridging them across the format. The next step involved glueing  (using matte fixative with a little water mixed in) torn pieces of  different rice papers.  The third step was to begin drybrushing color over the rice papers. I was to watch the rice papers for their different properties and level of transparency or opaqueness.  He stresses that I need to learn what each paper can do for me in the way of texture as well as transparency so that I will know when to use them to create my future landscapes. Oh what a mess I created, at first. I kept telling myself to look for something to create a center of interest around. That was strongly encouraged. He suggested I splatter and create lines somewhere. I even needed to lay more rice papers over rice papers to change certain passages. Then back to the paint. 

 Somewhere in this whole process I began thinking about this spring and the Tsunami, the landslide blocking a road in Big Sur, the flooding and the awful storms in the south this week. The fractures in this abstract began to represent the tragic circumstances some people have had to face and our land has suffered. That prompted the opaque white streaks in this as it began to represent water falling washing, moving. The spring greens I added at the very end to signify the hope and promise that the land will renew itself in spring this year.  My heart goes out to all of you who have suffered this year. I think and shed light upon your renewal and dedicate this abstract to you.

I am to do three more of these before progressing furthur in this book. I think I will do just that as I am truly interested in learning how to incorporate these papers into my paintings.

A heartfelt thank you to Eva, Kathleen, Jackie, and Linda for sharing their work in the abstract. It has helped me immensely to have read your blogs and viewed what you do in the abstract.

Thank you to Chris and Sandrine for sharing your techniques and exploratory natures throughout your blogs.  I needed a  lot of that kind of energy to keep going with this .


  1. Wow woooow – this is so beautiful – a whole new medium – you are so brave and sensitive

    • Thank you, Stephen for starting the comments on this painting with a boisterous “Wow”. I needed that. I am venturing into an area I have read about excessively but too afraid to jump in. The time is now. I will see where this takes me and I know you can identify as your recent bravery and sensitivity brought you through your series of “The Passion”:

  2. Excellent painting ! I love those colors and textures, this looks very springy, a good symbol for hope.
    I am seeing a bouddha statue in the background with jungle vegetation… But that is my imagination and my brain wanting to make sense of any abstract with something it knows 🙂
    Anyway that is a great painting, I will check out that book, sounds very interesting.

    • Oh, I had hoped that everyone would find something they can visualise in this! It took me a while to decide if I should share some of the thoughts that inspired me to include what I did in it. I love your idea of a bouddha statue appearing within this, Sandrine. I have to search for the same things in an abstract. I believe that is what makes them so fascinating. I wanted you to know that your blogging inspires me to try new techniques and to search for more in each and everything I attempt. Thank you for this comment.

    • PS I can see the Buddha! Thankyou!!!!!

  3. What a wonderful abstract. I don’t think it is your explanation, I think it is the painting itself, but there is a wonderful uplifting feeling about this one – and perhaps it is the opaque white streaks – as you indicate, but whatever the reason, it is hopeful.

    Big Sur thanks you. She is healing, and finally, the powers that be decided the landslide can go into the ocean where mother nature wanted to put it in any event.

    • Hi Kate!
      I had that same thought this morning about Mother Nature renewing your mountain and washing soil to the ocean. The road was just in the way? The opaque white streaks came from viewing of yours and others’ photos of your rivers and creeks, bloated and full, each spring. The orange? That was inspired by your sunset pictures with that deep yellow-orange glow just above the horizon. Your photography imprints visions on my soul, you know. Thank you for that and this comment.

  4. Excellent work, Leslie! I love the symbolic meaning to the color you have incorporated, especially the green to signify the renewal of the land. I like that, and hope for it as well.
    The painting is stunning, Leslie!

    • I know, from reading your posts, that you love nature. Your talk of the beach and the water and the whole atmosphere of your summer place reflects that. Thank you, Debbie.

  5. Oh, Leslie…I see your open hands holding All – giving to the world with Buddha sitting in the midst.

    I’m so impressed with the example you give of humbling yourself to exploration and discovery AND being willing to share it with us.

    Thank you, Leslie. What delight will we receive in #s 2 and 3?

    • P.S. I had to come back- I love this painting. How clever of you to give Buddha a tie-dyed scarf!

      • Thanks to Sandrine, we now know I painted a buddha. 🙂 The tye-dyed scarf was also by accident. Thank you for your kind words. They push me into #2. It has begun as blind as this one did. I feel like I’m on a discovery mission. Thank you, Amy.

  6. I love this painting Leslie, and I love how you try new things and are always learning and improving. I haven’t commented much lately but am still enjoying your blog very much.

    • Hi Kirsty,
      Thank you for continuing to visit. I miss your blogging. I watched a documentary a while back that was talking of the Black Saturday Bushfires. I thought of you as I believe you shared some of that with us. They showed the renewal of growth and some of the things that were encouraged in wildlife and foliage to ensure their return. This spring has caused me to reflect on that, also. Thank you for commenting, Kirsty!

  7. Les,
    I love this painting! The colors and textures support one another in a happy expression. I love your experimenting and think the abstract here is uplifting.

    • Thank you for taking the time to look at this, Nancy. You have been a major encourager in helping to move me closer to the abstract. I have a great deal to learn! 🙂

  8. LESLIE!!! I COMPLETELY LOVE THIS!!! It’s totally something I would buy. I love the colors, the layers, and the texture. Oh my word, you need to do more of these!!!

    • Hi Bree. 🙂 You don’t know how your enthusiasm fuels me to try another, you who expresses herself in color and shape and energy so well. I need you to paint more….. HELP!!! Thank you for this enthusiasm and wonderful comment.

  9. Well, well, well. I am impressed. Of course you have some good years on me and teaching must be second nature to you. I have been getting a lot of spam comments lately and to see your sincere note was a relief. It’s great that my art interests you. I want to email you and write a bit more but I couldn’t find an email!

    I will say that I read a few posts back and I subscribed. I also wanted you to know that I have read ‘Watercolor & Collage Workshop’ and it is a great book. The painting you did in this post is really sweet. I would love to see that hanging on a wall or as a greeting card. How big is your rice paper, usually? And do you sell most of your artwork?

    Thanks again for the comment, it really made my day. I am inspired to write a post!

    • If you haven’t deleted my comment to your blog from your email, mine should be on that. I will be commenting again because I like your use of color. Thank you for subscribing. I am still working my visits a little archaically and pop in whenever I have time rather than subscribing. The rice paper in this are torn pieces, small. The size of this painting is 13.5″ x 14″. I have not worked larger than 15 x 22. Thank you for your visit and encouragement, Bad Moon Rising!

  10. Lovely composition! And I like the abstract image. I admire it in fact since I cannot think abstractly in painting.

    Interesting approach for watercolor too. I know father used this technique for acrylic painting, but it has not occurred to me to apply it to watercolor. I don’t know why not, thinking inside the box perhaps. You are teaching me so much.

    • Hi Alex,
      Oh your comment means so much on this one, Alex. This is like finding my reference material inside myself. It is like taking what I have learned and giving credence to everything I’ve felt and seen before. The paper and what appears there, guides me. There were stages in this painting that were frightening and I am sure I will feel that again as I continue to learn. I have students screaming for the abstract because I see it in their work. I need to do this and take this journey this summer so that I can help them. I have waited too long. When I began reading this book and the descriptions and lessons in it, I felt this to be a good starting point. Thank you, Alex.

  11. Leslie,
    I first saw this wonderful piece of art work on my phone. I was at my parents today working on their property doing the usual yard work but also moving downed trees and other cleanup from the recent storms here. The first thing that jumped out at me is the figure in the up right. It was an exciting find! Once I got home, I continued to look at the painting on my PC and I still see the figure, but I also see the sun to the right of him (his left) and under him is a jumble of mountains, valleys, rivers, vegetation etc. The last thing I see is that this is all being pushed down a birthing canal. To me this represents the chaos coming together and being birthed into something new. It is amazing what the mind will see and what someone’s willingness to share her new experience can produce. Thank you! I noticed that in you’ve mentioned tissue paper and rice paper; to me those are two different things. Have you used both? As always, thanks for posting and for the in depth details you provide about your experience. Keep them coming.



    • Wow. What a wonderful description. I really like that idea of a birthing canal to something new, Stephen! I didn’t even see the figure! Your description and others have helped me. The figure is in the area that I developed as my center of interest. It amazes me that many of you have mentioned that area. The “sun” that you speak of was a preliminary wash that I left, as is, to keep the eye in that area.
      The tissue paper was mentioned in this post:
      I used rice papers in this one. I have an interest in exploring many papers in watercolor. Thank you for your comment!

  12. I never tried it with water color, nice that you accomplished so much got lucky to invoke Buddha in to your piece. HE was visible to my first observation!

    • Hi Padmaja! You are correct. I got lucky to invoke Buddha. I was trying so hard to develop an area for a center of interest and to bring my shapes and lines into some sort of coherent read, that I did not see him. Thank you!

  13. yes,I clearly feel the storm and the spring of your artwork. also I saw a lady with red hair and violet dress in green field watching them!

    • Oh my goodness, Zeinab, I see her! Thank you! Could she be Mother Nature?

  14. Wow, Leslie, this is absolutely stunning. When I saw it originally I thought it was acrylic until I read the post. Then I looked again and could see all the texture in the painting. I am so impressed. What is the size of this painting and what paper (?) did you use for your base? Can’t wait to see 2-4. Do it again!

    • Let me, first, say thank you to you for continuing to post in the abstract for awhile now. It has helped, immensely, to have had exposure to viewing yours and several others’ work and read your discussions about them. Brommer says we are to work toward the viewer being able to see the textures in the paper but it is to have the look that it is a part of the paper. Brommer says to use 300 lb rough watercolor paper but states it can be done on 140 lb. This painting is on 140 lb coldpress. I have since purchased 140 lb rough and have started the second painting on that. He suggests the rough paper opnly because it lends itself to landscape better and that is the direction he leads us toward. The size of this painting is 13.5″ x 14″. Thank you! 🙂

  15. Just beautiful 🙂

  16. Like you, I have had a tough time making my art and not thinking about some of the events that have happened recently. Remember the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was only a year and several other tragedies a go! Some times art making is organizing the small accidents that occur with our media and creating some semblance of order out of it all. Chance plays its part and then decisions need to be made.

    • Sort of like immediate retrieval of what we see, hear and feel and recording it. It does come with an eerie feeling of having those thoughts at my fingertips, also. Good point, Al.

  17. I am totally engaged. Can’t stop looking at this.

  18. This is magnificent works.Great post.Keep it coming.Meanwhile plz do pass by my blogs page read,follow and comment to aid me improve my works too.Thank you.Lovely day.

    • Thank you for the visit and the comment, Ebeneezer. I will keep my eye on your motivational messages. 🙂

  19. WOW!! This is amazing, Leslie. Even though it is hard for me to read on a black background, I totally enjoyed all the insightful comments, too. I am excited to see what comes next, as this is truly beautiful and life affirming, if that makes sense. You go girl!!!

    • Thank you, Beth! If you click on the image, it enlarges against white. Click again and it becomes super large, allowing you to see the individual textures of the different rice papers.

  20. The poetry and flow of this piece is strong, a bit mystical in my mind.

    • Thank you, Chris. I honestly do not know what I am doing. I am feeling my way along….. I have always wanted to try this. Mystical sounds wonderful.

  21. I know for sure I’d never have the patience for something like this, so admire immensely what you’ve created, and your thoughts behind it and the tragic events that have helped develop the image… It’s funny though how we all see different things in abstracts, and I guess that’s its main appeal, as I see a white clad person astride a winged being of some sort… Great work as always though, and hats off for trying these different techniques out as always… 🙂

    • Wow! White clad figure astride a winged being is fine by me! ..and because you have said it, I can see that. I think you would have the patience for some of this, Brian. I see you lean toward the abstract in many of your photos. Some of those are so surreal that another step and you would be there. Thank you for this kind comment. 🙂

  22. Hi, Leslie! Happy Tuesday.

    I’d like permission to repost “Underpainting” again. It would be perfect for this collabrative site.

    I’ll check back here sometime tomorrow for your response.

    Peace and Virtual Hugs!

    • Happy day to you, too, Jamie! Of course you may share “Underpainting”.

  23. Wonderfully symbolic and VERY beautiful! I love this Leslie.

  24. I can see the colour and movement so well Leslie, a wonderful, and beautiful piece you’ve completed there.
    many thanks for your comment about My Girl, very much appreciated my freind. xPenx

    • Thank you, Pen.
      You are incredible. Thank you for sharing that time when we as a beloved animal’s friend must display our love by helping them to suffer no longer. It is more beautiful that you were able to define all of our griefs, who have shared the companionship of an animal, by sharing yours.

  25. Wow – I absolutely love this. What an amazing way to paint and create a piece of artwork. It’s really stunning xx

  26. Hi, Leslie!

    I had to rework the post schedule on “Into the Bardo.” Your piece is scheduled to go up at 12:01 a.m. 5/7/2011, a day later. My apologies.

    We are much pleased and appreciative. Thank you! 🙂


  27. I love the tone of this painting, it evokes flowers. Very pretty and looks like spring. 😉

    • That would make another title, “Evoking Flowers”. Thank you, Anne! 🙂

  28. This is exquisite, Leslie. I was reading your description and what you were thinking about while doing this and then went back and looked at it again. Not only is it a very moving piece, but it shows how creative, talented and sensitive you are. Thank you for always taking us to the next step.

    • I didn’t even think I could do something like this, Carol. I have always feared they would turn out looking like a big mess …and at one point It did. I’m sure some people would still think that. The book I’m reading makes sense, though, so I am taking it one step at a time and seeing what happens. I like working without a picture or a scene in front of me. I also like the idea of the painting revealing itself as I go along. These take a lot of propping up and studying from a distance. I hope I can get this, so I can share it with others in my classes that seem to want to explore the abstract. I have failed them miserably. Thank you!

  29. Wow! Intense and beautiful.

  30. before reading your words here i looked at this lovely vivid work and felt both disruption and hope. so like life…

    • Thank you for sharing that thought that you had before reading my words, Jruth. That helps me to understand if I am getting anything down in such a sense that it is able to be read by a viewer. Priceless and I thank you.

  31. You’re never afraid to experiment pushing into new territory. Some of your paintings suggest a deeper understanding of colour than most.
    The inspiration of the Tsunami is clear in this work. I can feel the energy. If a painting speaks to you like this one does, then your task has been a success. Lovely work.

    • Wow. Thank you so much. I am on my third attempt, practicing laying rice papers and painting. One more to go before I go on in the book. Never have I experienced using the painting, totally, as my reference and it is so new that I am amazed by what I see appear. I have allowed the marks to take me where they lead.

      • When I said a ‘deeper understanding than most’ I was referring to my own understanding of colour rather than a comparison of your own paintings which I think are all wonderful.

      • I understand, Keith. About two years ago I read a book that had a segment in it about color themes. It only covered monochromatic, analagous, complimentary, primary triad and secondary triad. I have not studied furthur to understand split compliments and such. The above has seemed to serve me well. I do not use them like sitting down and deciding what color scheme I am going to use when I first begin a painting (even on those I use reference material for). I try to use them at the end to finish a work and bring it together. I don’t even remember what book it was in. The author had taken one still life and represented it in all the above color schemes. I thank you for this comment in regard to my use of color. You are dear.

  32. I can understand the fascination with this paper.
    I think you will do great things with this stuff

    • I remember when you worked with cut paper, Richard, so I know you can identify with my interest in exploring tearing and cutting, glueing and painting. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  33. WOW! I cannot tell you how excited I am to watch you do these! They are pure creativity, pure freedom, pure beauty! Way to go!!!

    • Oh Isabelle, you are a true abstract artist to the core, I believe. So much of what you share has to do with the beauty of nature and and what it speaks to you. I am forever grateful for this comment.

  34. I am not a fan of abstracts, but I like this one! I see things in there..there’s a guy walking toward me. I also like the colors, keep at it!

    • Thank you, Frank! I can’t think of any better music to my ears as I move forward in my study of this work with rice paper collage and watercolor. I am hoping this will inspire those of my students who want to learn more about abstract watercolor painting and the techniques they can use to enhance their work. I hope it helps me to have new vision when I view others’ abstracts, also.

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Red River « Leslie White on 04 May 2011 at 10:04 pm

    […] The first attempt can be viewed here. […]

  2. By Dawn « Leslie White on 12 May 2011 at 12:39 pm

    […] to go before I can read furthur in the book.  If you would like to view the first attempt, it is here. The second attempt is […]

  3. By Spring 2012 « Leslie White on 31 Mar 2012 at 11:51 am

    […] other examples of this technique can be found here  […]

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