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The above painting is the next step in following the book titled Watercolor and Collage Workshop  by Gerald Brommer. I was to draw something realistic and design all of the format surrounding that realistic image with what I had learned in the previous exercise by using the rice papers and watercolor techniques.  I want to try several of these after experimenting with this one. It was wonderfully freeing to play with the papers and decide which ones I wanted to incorporate to tell a story. My thoughts about the title for this piece went from “This Old House” to “Living on the Edge” to, finally, “..there will be roses”. I guess that would be the best way to describe what happens to me, the artist, as I let go and allow the papers and the color to inform me of what they want to become. I thought about my attraction to old homes, what goes into keeping them up, what many have faced during trying financial times, to thinking positive in the face of of such times.

For those of you following and wishing to try this on their own, at home, I have included the step by step process below.

I drew the realistic object I wanted to include.

In the next step, I, first, painted several large washes of color surrounding the realistic object.  I decided to run some of the color down and into the roof. Notice that these washes bridged the sides of the paper. I allowed those washes to dry. This step can be shortened by using a hair dryer to dry the initial washes.  I then mixed my matte medium for glue. I use acrylic matte medium with just a little water to make the mixture creamy. I then selected and tore different pieces of rice paper to begin glueing to the surface and designing the space surrounding the home. I did not use the landscape in the photo that I used to draw the house. I allowed myself the pleasure of being creative and designing my own format.  I wanted the home to look as though it was sitting on top of a hill in golden light. I tore the papers and placed them on the hill so as to direct the viewers eye up the hill and toward the house. I chose a very light and different textured paper to represent the tree to the left of the home and tried to create a shape that pointed toward the front porch. I chose a darker rice paper to shape the tree to the left and behind the home and created a shape that also pointed toward the porch and dropped across the roof. I then included some low plant life around the front of the home and darker bushy like shapes to the right of the home. I wanted to create an atmosphere that appeared as though nature was hugging the home. I allowed this step to dry overnight.

I painted these paper shapes and concentrated on the image that began appearing around my central object, the home. It was at this point that I decided I did not like all the blank sky and thought I may be able to enhance the hugging of the home more if I included more plant life. I decided to tear more rice papers in the shapes of large arborvitae to extend in a line behind the home.  Mr.Brommer suggested that there can be furthur laying in of papers after our second wash of pigment. I like this concept of building a composition. I then had to allow this phase of the painting to dry overnight again.

I, next, painted the arborvitae and was pleased that the home looked hugged by shapes of nature.

  final painting

My final step was to paint the home and define the darks in and through the natural shapes to lead the viewer’s eye to the front porch. It was at this point that I was overwhelmed by a feeling of  compassion for all who are and have faced incredible circumstances due to the loss of their homes through financial difficulties or natural disasters or those who are facing health issues and job changes. I added the roses and changed the title from “Living on the Edge” to “…there will be roses”. It is my sincere wish and prayer that beyond the loss and tragedy that you have suffered that there is a steady and positive force that enters your lives and you are lifted up and that, yes, …there will be roses in your lives again.


  1. Dear teacher! it is amazing, really beautiful and pleasant! Thank u for step by step lesson! Also , I like “there will be roses in your lives again”.

  2. what a wonderful step by step! it’s so helpful to see how people approach their work. lovely end result too!!

  3. Thank you for the step by step process. This is a beautiful painting. As always, Leslie you are an inspiration!

  4. Leslie, I’m sitting here so choked. I’m sniffling like a kid in kindergarten and straining through blurry eyes. This whole thing – the whole production – is Transformation in action. Right down to your final heart statement.

    *Off to find the tissues*

    • Me too, Amy, me too. I think more people are beginning to notice the “winds of change”. The art helps me to reach into what it is I feel and try and make sense out of much that is happening. I am continually reminded that there is more than one way to view something and that, sometimes, by changing my perspective, I can create the space to at least envision the positive. If not that? Afford some breathing room to allow the light to enter.
      Thank you for your comment. ..and for your part in sharing positive messages.

  5. I am always so in awe of artists such as yourself who bring such beauty into the world. I love the title that you ended up with–it’s so full of hope and giving for others. What a sweet heart you have, Leslie.

    • Oh Gayle. I visit your blog and other writers’ blogs for the very same reason. I am in awe of the pictures you paint for me with your words. I have tried so often to write because I am an avid reader. I loved your recent post about your Mother’s sketchbook:
      Thank you so much for your comment.

      • You are very generous, Leslie. Thank you!

  6. This somehow touches the heart. I think because we all want a home, cozy and peaceful in a lovely natural setting. It’s a bit of heaven and well named for a rose. What pleasure here …


    • I know a home is outwardly a tangible item but I have always thought of “home” as encompassing more than a house. To me, a home is as much the hearts and souls of the residents as it is the bricks or boards that make it. Thank you for this beautiful comment, Jamie.

  7. The house looks as openhearted as you are, very cozy and warm, the texture with rice paper is lovely. N Leslie, thanks for making me read this post today, the message from it means a lot to me at this point.

    • Hi Padmaja,
      I try to remember that each difficulty isn’t an obstacle but something I must address in order to achieve balance, once again? It hurts, sometimes, especially when it is accompanied by loss and can seem to drag out forever. Learning to look through a different perspective often helped me to face those difficulties and, with baby steps, help me accept the new balance my life had to take. Bless you for this comment, Padmaja, and my thoughts are with you!

  8. Something so compelling about a home, not a house but a loved home, and that’s what you have created Leslie, to me it feels as if something of yourself must therefore be residing in this painting. As you so rightly say, so many lose their most treasured possession, their accumulation of years spent loving somewhere that they can call their own, then … nothing, a heartbreaking scenario. As with so many of your commentors, I feel deeply touched by your talent as an artist and your caring soul. xPenx

    • Thank you, Pen. I agree with you, wholeheartedly, about the “home” aspect. People are facing misfortunes and being asked to rebuild a second time, a third time, a fourth. We mourn the losses that come from readjustments and then, somehow, strive to lift ourselves up again, face a new reality. I see it in your writing all the time, dear Pen. You help me see better, too! This one pleases me still!
      Thank you!

  9. What a beautiful home you have painted, Leslie; when can I move in. I will plant the roses myself, lol. I love the step by step help you provided, thank you!

    • I’m right there with you, Deb. If enough of us move in we can keep this old house standing for years to come! Thank you! 🙂

  10. What a beautiful painting and a beautiful message. Lovely.

  11. Unusual composition and a great impact, Leslie! I love the return to realism, and elements of surrealism really add to my enjoyment. In some way the building seems to rise and ride a wave – very interesting. It also keeps the viewer in the painting trying to wrap her brain around what is going on. Very cool!

    • I love that idea of riding a wave, Alex! Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I truly believe that we can pass on more of what we are feeling without even knowing it. I like the idea of taking the realistic and including other forms around it, also, Alex. Thank you!

  12. Hi Leslie – another stunning piece and so very interesting. The picture you have created is my idea of a perfect home…how did you manage to read my mind? lol 😀

    Love how you have provided your step by step approach – it’s amazing to see what goes into your work.

    Chloe xx

    • Thank you, Chloe. It is quite fun to build with these papers and imagine the surroundings as I go. I wonder what the view might be from the porch. Could be pretty amazing. 🙂

  13. This is very interesting, Leslie. I enjoyed reading about the process.

    • Thank you, Jay. I am just beginning to learn what could be done with these different papers. I like the idea of preparing my support and using it as part of the composition.

  14. It’s excellent, though i would not want to step too close to that edge. lol

    • Ha! I wonder if it tapers off at the bottom and becomes, perhaps a good sleddding hill. 🙂 Thank you, as always, Richard!

  15. Wow. I love this kind of presentation of making art!!! Great art, photos and teaching.

    Thank You.

    • Thank you, Sartenada. Hopefully this will help others who would like to try this technique. 🙂

  16. Really amazing… so, the house is drawn and painted, but the surrounding areas are created with rice paper and paint? Amazing… and the result is really quite lovely! As always, I enjoy how you have included your steps 🙂

    • Yes. 🙂 The artist can use rice papers in their realistic object, also, though. I chose not to in this instance. I don’t have any rice papers on the sky in upper right or the patch of lawn in front of the house. Thank you so much Amber!

  17. Absolutely gorgeous house. The step by step process was an additional bonus. Beautiful all the way. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you, Dan! The step by step is sometimes very informative for myself. I sometimes view them and see a different direction that I may have taken.

  18. It is beautiful! Lovely colors which give a wonderful peacefulness. I just want to go there and do nothing !

    • Me too! Before that hill slidesaway and washes the house with it. No….wewould find a way to keep it from eroding, right? 🙂 Thank you, Isabelle! I like the work you are doing with these papers!

  19. What a beautiful art work!! It’s really amazingly done. Beautiful all the way. Love it. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

    Bullying Poems

  20. Interesting watching your processes develop over the past year. I usually think of watercolor as being a purist’s medium, but have enjoyed your introduction of mixed media into what you do.

    • Interesting comment, Al. I began as one of those purists but learned quite soon that there are many ways to use this wonderful medium. I would not be offering my students the full experience if I didn’t, also, teach all the things that I can possibly find of using this medium. …and there are many more I have not even touched on. You might want to check this artist out:
      I am totally blown away by her creations and she uses watercolor, ink, acrylics and all sorts of papers to create her portraits. Thank you!

  21. Love this one as well.

  22. It’s interesting to see how highly creative artists like you work. You put so much heart and soul to your art. I must remember to try and do so when the time comes (though I doubt it’s something that can be taught/learned). For a few minutes, I allowed myself to imagine what I could create when I decide it’s time to learn to paint. I guess I’ll know in due time. 🙂

    • Wow. Thank you for that about the heart and soul. When it is time? The answer will be everything! I don’t know how to describe it. I start my students with blind line drawings of their hand. It is not so much the subjectmatteras it is the inspiration to explore. You would create great things, Earthianne! I’m sure of it. 🙂

  23. wow! That’s a beautiful work in progress, Leslie! We can not imagine all the steps there to create a work of art. Thank you for sharing it, it makes us appreciate even more.

  24. WOW! This is a beautiful painting, Leslie! The narrative gave me goosebumps at the end. Yes, I wish roses for them, too! And hugs. 🙂

    • You and your husband need some roses, too! I hope he is healing quickly, now! Thank you!

  25. i love the rocks!
    watercolor is soft and subtle and transparent
    but you make it dry and rigid on the rocks~!

    • I think the paper I used for the rocks gave them an edginess. …and yes, you guessed it. I used the pigment more dry then wet! Good eye, Summer! Thank you!

  26. Leslie, this is lovely. I almost hear your voice in the narrative. I wish I could sit you down and ask more questions about how you capture your colour. I’m not so scientific and realise I’m missing some key essentials in the way I use colour.

    • I wish I could share our painting practices in person, also, Keith. There is much I could learn from you pen work and vision. I’d gladly trade ideas. I love it that you can almost hear my voice. I have a somewhat older lower voice and I speak rather slowly (just like I paint) 🙂 Thank you!

  27. Lovely painting Leslie! Watercolour is such an interesting medium to work with – and can be so versatile (as you have shown) I love the old house standing so close to the edge to its unknown future. Enigmatic!

    • Oh, I love it that you say “unknown future”! Why did I not think of that?
      Thank you for stating about watercolor’s versatility. I feel as though I have just begun to discover some of what it can do…… Thank you, Lynda!

  28. Thank you for sharing the details behind this lovely creation. I see a snug haven nestled in a protective bower. I am glad you added the roses. Your kind, compassionate nature shines through!

    • Oh good. Like the house is hugged? That was my intent and it thrills me that you saw that, Linda Thank you!

  29. i love old houses and live in one that was built in 1947 (not that that’s super old but it’s not typical!). this painting makes me want to be there… love those roses!

    • 1947, in my opinion is an old home by today’s standards. Something about them. They’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot. I sometimes stop by old homes and wonder just who would have lived there and just how that home was cared for over the years. The stories they could tell. When I was young, my family rented an old home that we were all sure was haunted. That one experience has made me appreciate all others. I could live in this house. Thank you, JRuth!

      • i agree, it is old. i suppose, having stepped into one built in the 30’s recently, it seems a tad young! but the fact that this home was owned by one family and built by that same family, was the second house on the street of homes all built by the owners is a precious thing to me. uncommon… that and the fuses that blow out especially in the summer months 🙂

      • I, too live in a home lived in by original owners. Just think what of family these homes have weathered! Mind boggling. 🙂

  30. What a lovely way of working with watercolor, texture and more. I like the thought of using a hair dryer too. I get impatient with these things when I work on my crafts or crochet I want to see the final piece. LOL.
    I too enjoy old houses and the final piece you have here is Beautiful!
    I enjoyed the step by step…

    • 🙂 I have been known to use the hair dryer when I have nothing else to work on while one piece dries. When I work wet-in-wet I like to allow it to dry in its own time as the pigment changes as it dries and often leaves some pretty amazing special effects behind. That does not happen so much on the layers of rice paper so I happily blow dry away! Thank you, Raven!

  31. I think that this is my first visit to your Space
    but what a delightful spectacle it is my friend,
    I really like your artistic flair and this posting
    where you show each stage as it builds is very
    impressive you are indeed a talented artist…


    • Thank you! Every so often I try to show the progression just so others who wish to try the approach might see the steps.

  32. lovely! this reminds me very strongly of my childhood fantasies when i dreamed of living in such a home in la-la-land. Its inspiring to see how you artists can evoke heart’s undisclosed desire in colors. I’m impressed! 🙂

    • A home hugged by nature is not a bad vision. I, too, would not mind finding myself wrapped in nature so I plant another tree. Thank you so much, Habiba.

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