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The above is my final in a series of  four experimental abstracts so that I could become familiar with painting and adding rice paper collage.  In all four, I was to bridge the sides of the paper with washes of color, allow that to dry and then glue various torn or cut pieces of  rice papers to the surface.  After the rice papers dried, I was to apply more pigment and learn how the different rice papers took the pigment. The goal was to create a painting where the rice papers became a part of the composition.

Each of these four paintings began with little choice about the outcome on the part of the artist. I allowed the washes and paper pieces to show me the way.  With this one, I wanted to get away from all that warm red and yellow energy I had included in the other three. I was searching for something restful. This piece, at first presented itself as a rolling undulating earthform. However, there was a paper I used in the lower righthand corner that presented itself as sharp edged and rather boulder-like. A wave-like form had developed in the upper wash. The land looked soggy and as though it was spilling off the page to the left.  I began to think of rhythm and added the strips of  building-like, ekg-like shapes in the upper left quadrant.  They became dominant and so much like the beat of this rolling landscape.  I was fascinated with the idea that the heartbeat came out looking as though it could double for a large city.  Perhaps this painting raises my own consciousness a bit to understand that we have a role to play in keeping this earth rhythm going.



  1. The peaceful light blue and green! This painting is nice and stunning.

    • I smile with this comment, Zeinab. The blue and green was the peace that I wanted to build on and then that “stunning” I guess wiggled into those red shapes that spiked me from my reverie. Thank you for this comment. 🙂

  2. How amazing that you let the papers ‘talk’ to you and you listen with your eyes and paintbrush! Stunning my friend xx

    • Yes. It is a new experience for me too. I guess I have been a rather slow learner. I knew about divorcing myself from the reference material enough to do some thing I want, but never have really worked without some form of reference. A new journey. Thank you, Chloe!

  3. As always, your paintings are not only educational but also beautiful and profound. Love the vibrant colors in the painting. It feels very lively but tranquil at the same time. 🙂

    • Thank you, Emily. I actually thought of you along the northwest coast when I created this and all the water shapes appeared.

  4. Such a fascinating image with great flow… my eyes want to trace along every line and curve. Another wonderful and profound piece!

    • How very perceptive, Amber. I did the same thing while creating it. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Lots of color and movement. Blessings, Leslie…

  6. Cool! Awesome! I really like this one, Leslie! I would call it a semi-abstract, do you agree? I think I can relate to it better because of that (I generally have trouble with abstract 😦 ). I love the depth and textures of rocks and water, really great stuff!

    • Yes… I don’t know where to draw a line between abstract and semi abstract. All I know is I’m doing the best I can with this. I try to lay the papers, paint the washes and pull it together. I think more information is coming through to me while I work on these than I can assimilate. I just need to keep playing and working with them. Thank you for the comment about depth and texture. I was trying to pay attention to that and shape and composition. That one of these remotely caught your interest, Alex, is music to my ears. This is as challenging to me as you think it would be for you. I assure you of that. 🙂

  7. This brings Vista. Space. Movement. I am free to roll and ride the curves. This gives me a great sense of joy and freedom, Leslie, along with lots of choice.

    Good grief…I think I just described my life! Even down to being in Nature with “civilization” off in the distance.

    Nothing like having a grand romp in your painting, Leslie. Thanks a million!

    • Oh thank you, Amy. You saw what I reached for with this. The vista. The space. What I did not have words to be able to express. …and the fact that the earth has a movement and a cadence all its’ own. It’s not so hard to imagine our pulsing with nature and that our life is a part of that life. Thanks a million right back at you! 🙂

  8. Leslie this is so much fun enjoying each new piece/peace you have painted. There is something that eludes me in this painting and maybe that is why I keep looking at it? I feel if I study it longer it will talk to me. That always intrigues me when I am drawn back to a painting, drawing or written passage.

    I love the ecclectic feeling I have experienced with all four of the works you have produced from the exercise. Keep it up, you are amazing to me and I am in awe of your talent.

    • Wow. Thank you, Nancy. I need all the encouragement I can get while I work with these papers.

  9. I love the way you take the time to explain your process of the painting, but even more than that, the fact that you explain what you see, think and feel as you work through it. I love everything about this painting; the waterfall, the rolling hills of green, the foreground rocks, and the touch of reds that you applied in the background, which really make this painting unique. I love it, Leslie!!

    • You are so kind, Debbie. Thank you. I agree about those red structures or shapes causing a uniqueness to this particular painting. I think it is the part of the painting that made me pause.

  10. I hate this song! Only because once I hear it, I can’t stop singing it… and I can’t sing at all. Darn you Leslie, now I’ll be singing it all day. Actually this is an amazing song and Adelle is an amazing talent. I could have had it all… see, there I go singing it again! Dang it!

    • I know, I know! That is what happens to me, too! Oh to sing like her, but then, we would not be painting. Would we?

  11. I love the verticals in the background. It reminds me of the first time Dorothy sees the Emerald City. Only this is the Ruby City. 🙂

    • Exactly. I had some thoughts that direction. I read the book “Wicked” and loved it. Deep and mysterious, not unlike what came out on paper, here. I also thought of you and “The Husband” in New York. I was waving at you while I painted, when that New York thought came to mind. 🙂

  12. I really like this one. Reminds me a bit of surreal movement in Dali’s work. Friendlier though. I think the tall vertical trees? anchor the scene. Like this a lot.

    • Love that song too. My boys introduced me to it.

      • 🙂 Our sons and daughters keep us “on track”.

    • Thank you for seeing the strong verticals as trees and for pointing out that they may anchor this scene. I can see that now that you mention it, Yousei. Wow. If I remotely touch on the eensiest of Dali’s work, I thank you doubly.

  13. The moment I saw this I thought of the Emerald City in the Wizard of OZ. Your “city” looms on the horizon, in much the same way that the Emerald City does in the movie, seen across green fields. It is a soothing imaginary vista. Good job!

    • Yep. My sisters commented on that, also. Maybe my subconscious was channeling old memories? Thank you Kathleen!

  14. Hi Leslie! How are you? I just wanted to stop by and say hello. It’s been a long while now. I hope you’re well. My site was down for a while but it’s back up and running again, so feel free to drop by and say hello! Great abstracts by the way!


    • Thank you for letting me know you are back, Heather. I was hoping someday you would be! Thanks for the comment on the abstracts!

  15. Very surreal and otherworldly – almost like Oz. Forest or city on a hill? I like the contrasts, soft rolling shapes and hard edged linear shapes. Very interesting and it looks like it was fun to create.

    • It was fun and a rather different place to go. While I was creating it I didn’t think of Oz, consciously. I saw that afterwards. Do we paint our subconscious? I think we must have to, don’t you? I was into the soft rolling shapes. I had been tearing all my papers up to this painting. The author of the book I am following suggested we also practice using some shapes cut with scissors, also. This was the result. I certainly saw the contrast this provides through the shapes and how it takes the pigment, torn and cut. I think that led to the contrasts in this one. Thank you. Linda for your comments. 🙂

  16. Now, i really do like this one.
    It appeals to the expressionist in me.
    The curvy almost like ,melting kind of feel makes me think of surreal and the cityscape/organ pipes structure on the top left gives the feeling of solidity.
    Rhythm, i see that but i also see the inner battle of letting go or holding on

    • Wow! I love that comment about the letting go or holding on!!!! I did not see that in this but do, now. How very insightful of you and I thank you. Also your use of the word melting. The landforms do appear to be melting. See why I blog???? I need you and your comments. Thank you!

  17. As always, inspiring, Leslie. I love how the envelope is pushed here in this one. I don’t always grasp what you post about painting, but always learn about art.

    • You are an artist, Bbrasseaux. I come to your art through photography to learn, also. The generosity shared by artists between mediums is very valuable, I think. Thank you!

  18. The flow and the rhythm is there before our eyes, Leslie, the movement of the water is ‘pulling’ too, and I’m sitting listening to the music video, so I have a complete all round experience, and too true about the relationship we all have with this World of ours, sight, sound and feel … all there as I sit here. Many thanks for a magical scene set to perfection. … xPenx

    • I really like your idea of the water pulling. Because you have said that, I can now see a pushing upward in the rises of the land and those straight shapes in the background. Thank you for this insight as it will help me as I continue.

  19. It’s like heaven. That’s the songs that play in my head when i’m seeing the painting. I just love all the colors. Exceptional work on the rice paper.

  20. Your painting has depth and flow,
    movement that lets me follow,
    the rushing of the stream,
    It’s almost like a dream,
    The music of nature,
    sweet and pure,

    • You rock, Dan. Thank you so much for your comment in verse and I Love the shape! Made my day! 🙂

  21. How lovely and restful this is … yes! Peaceful. Perfect colors for that. Oddly and for some unknown reason, the first thing I thought of when I looked at it is the yellow brick road.

    I’ve enjoyed the descriptions of process, which in many ways seems the same for painting and poems. Thank you for this.

    And thanks for the video, an intro to a song and singer I hadn’t known about.

    Altogether wonderful series of posts, Leslie! Kudos.

    • Oh thank you! Everyone is thinking feelings of Oz. I assure everyone the thought did not cross my mind until I set this up to view at the end. However, it only goes to show me that the recollections of images from my past may show through in what I create and that is something for me to embrace.
      I am glad I shared this new favorite song, especially for anyone that had not heard it before. I think Adele is magnificent at what she does.
      …and to have my work compared to that of the poet is music to my ears. Thank you so much!

  22. P.S.: Have you seen “Cave of Forgotten Dreams?” I wonder what you thing of the cave art.

    Here is the French Ministry of Culture site on the Caves.

    • Jumping up and down and clapping! Thank you for this suggestion of a movie. I have not seen it, but this trailer speaks much of what was happening to me as I created all four of these paintings. Big hugs to you, Jamie, for this tip and including this video with this post. It enhances what I was trying to say!

      • 🙂 I can’t wait to see it either. Hope to know your thoughts after.

        RE: the video you posted. Now that I’ve heard the song, I keep hearing it everywhere. Enjoy much. Thanks!

      • Does one have to rent movies like this? I have not seen this title listed at any of our theatres.

  23. WOW!! I have missed a lot while I’ve been hospital hopping with the hubby! You have been creating some powerful art, Leslie!! I gasped when I looked at each one. You must feel an exciting sense of growth, to reach so far into this new realm! Now that I have the hubby home, I hope to have more time to get back to the blogs, including my own! Congratulations on this new series of paintings! They are truly wonderful!

    • You have been through a nightmare. I hope your husband just heals very quickly, now. I am glad he is finally home with you.
      I am feeling rather excited about these. It has opened my eyes to more than just working with rice papers. It is exciting to work without reference material. However, I have read the next step and that is to include something realistic and allow all around it to be abstract. This should be fun to try to marry the two. Thank you, Beth!

  24. As I was prerusing the comments before I made one, I saw LindaH’s about Oz and a city on the edge of the hill. That was almost exactly my thought when I looked at it, although I had a little more of a
    Science fiction bent to it. It is interesting that sometimes we seem to want to find the concrete in the semi abstract or abstract.

    • The one thing I did different is to cut some of the papers in this one. It gave a very edgy feel to certain areas, I think. Perhaps that is where we see the science fiction bent for I see it too. These paintings have opened my eyes to more freedom in expression than anything I have painted before. I agree with you about the concrete comment. Thank you, Ruth! 🙂

  25. hey how are you, I was checking your site out again and remembered I had worked with the same watercolor & collage book. I just dug out my old collages and will post them.(sometime this week) They are very different from yours I don’t think I followed the directions very well. I love the colors in yours. thanks for reminding me what I could be doing.

    • Hi Louise,
      I am fine. I’m looking forward to seeing your collages. I think these exercises are so open ended that each person’s individual vision will show through. I find them fascinating. I have to admit that mine look nothing like what is featured in the book. What I like most are the changes that occur on the paper. Keeps me on my toes, for sure. Thank you!

  26. How beautiful.

    I enjoyed all those colors in good harmony forming a very beautiful landscape. It is a masterpiece in which one’s eye rests for a long time admiring at same time details which surprise a man one detail after another detail.

    Happy Sunday!

    • Sartenada, what a lovely comment. I thank you.
      Happy Sunday to you as well!

  27. Leslie you only went and DID it 🙂 I mean the collage AND the video! I can see why the music influenced you. I love painting to music myself, and this song is just right for the piece. This collage is lovely and very textural – I love the way the hills just roll on by! Another successful piece from you!

    • The rolling hills were allowed to be because of my visits to Keith’s art site where I have been exposed to the wide open landscapes of the North Pennines: My approach of heavily influenced by all you blog about artists and their openess to create.
      Thank you for the influence of your lovely site and the exposure Keith has offered. I am exploring way beyond what I think might ever have been possible without you! 🙂

  28. Looks like a successful series of excercises! The watercolor featured in your last post was beautiful.

  29. That’s very impressive Leslie, and for me my personal favourite of the series… I love how it looks like a fantasy landscape from a children’s novel…

    • That is an awesome comment, Brian. Oh to actually have enough vision to illustrate children’s books. I hold those illustrators on a pedestal and admire them. Thank you! 🙂

  30. As always, inspiring and beautiful work, Leslie. Love it 🙂

  31. Wow Leslie, you are amazing and your art is amazing!!
    I love the Rhythm and the movement of the painting and of the song.
    You are good! Very well done.
    When I first looked at the painting another song came to mind: Green River ( CCR )

    • Credence Clearwater’s song is perfect for this, also! You are so right, Jan. Thank you for your praise and the reminder of a great song. 🙂

  32. This one is sooooooooo beautiful, it is eye candy for my heart. What a lovely way to place the heartbeat in a nature setting like this. Your paintings reach out with color and warmth. I like this song Adele? I need to have a closer look at her sounds. I am smiling today thanks!
    Warm feathery hug,

    • Oh yes! This particular song is from her CD titled “21”. She has a previous CD titled “19” that is equally as good, Raven.
      Thank you for your comment on this painting. You interpret it the way I hoped it would be and I thank you for that. 🙂

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