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This painting was painted on toned masa paper and is my contribution to Linda Halcomb’s End of Spring Challenge. She asked that we paint something inspired by the line “leaping greenly spirit of trees” from an e. e. cummings poem.

If you would like to see what other artists have created click here, and everyone participating will be leaving their link to their contribution in the comment section.


  1. This is so beautiful, Leslie! You have such a way with trees! The branches actually move in the breeze. Amazing!!! 🙂

    • Oh. What a nice thing to say about the branches moving, Beth! You make my day, you know, saying I have a way with trees. I remember the first time I tried to draw one and tried to render every little leaf. Makes me chuckle, today. I happened across a really great teacher that suggested to me that a tree looks like a textural bouquet rather than a class picture. 🙂 Your comment made me think of that. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! What wonderful color. I really love the way you are using Masa. Nice texture and depth. Just great….

    • Thank you, Linda. When I viewed your rendition, I marveled at the fact that yours could be the tops of these trees where tunks are featured. 🙂
      Thank you for the challenge!

  3. You really know how to capture all of the forest’s details in your paintings, Leslie. This is gorgeous and I love it, Leslie!

    • Thank you, Debbie. I did try to get that thickness of foliage that begins at the trunk and just seems to bounce itself upward to the branches.

  4. You’ve caught the spirit of the trees fantastically, Leslie, the watercolour looks to be so alive, almost jumping out at you as your eyes take in one green variant after another. .
    Green, for me, is a favourite colour,
    makes me think of life and being reborn,
    makes me believe the cycle will continue,
    as if Nature repaints her canvas every morn’ xPenx

    • You have helped me to want to try more with greens, Pen. I thank you for that. To think that I might have interested someone whose favorite color is green is exciting! I tried to show the fullness we see here, this time of year, while the spring rains fill all around with the green.

  5. Oh dear Leslie, this is truly a “leaping greenly spirit of trees” how stunning! The warmth jumps to me. smiles, Rx

  6. Wow, I am reading what penpusherpen said and she said “Jumping out at you” yep it’s a given. xx

    • Thank you, Raven. Jumping is good! 🙂 Especially with the “leaping”. Thank you, also, for saying something about the warmth because that is what I tried to do with the soil and the tree trunks (warm them up).

  7. Beautiful tree spirits, Leslie! The branches on the forefront are very special. “Touching” is the best way to describe what I feel – in both senses of the word.

    • Oh, I like that idea about “touching”. Those branches do sort of look like fingers. Thank you so much for that observation, Alex! 🙂

  8. Colorful, creative and imaginative capture. Love it!


  9. You working with Masa brings to mind Michelangelo saying the subject was in the block of granite. What a wonderful tribute to one of my favourite aspects of nature, Leslie. I like the branches in the foreground – how you outlined them in white. Or did you? Partially, I think as I double magnify the photo.

    • Aaah, Amy, you have almost figured out what I had to do to get those branches on there. Obviously, white watercolor was not going to work, so I experimented a little. I painted those branches in white acrylic, rather thickly, and then went right back in (before acrylic dried) with three different colors of watercolor and shaped them out with a #2 round brush. It was rather fun to do as I had to go back and forth between the mediums for a while as they began to appear and take shape. 🙂 I love your thought about the work of art already imbedded in the support. I think that is so true! Thank you for this insightful comment!

  10. I love the deep-wooded greenery you showed here, Leslie. That masa paper technique is so cool!

    • 🙂 I have to smile at your comment, Bodhirose. As I painted all that thick greenery, the thought of poison ivy came to mind. I would surely get it if I were to explore here, I think. Thank you!

  11. The scene is very alive, it just takes the viewer to the spot! Brilliantly done Leslie!

    • I was hoping the turtles and the hanging branches, both in the foreground would take the viewer back to the greens. Thank you, Padmaja. This one was rather challenging as I think I still need a lot of work with greens.

  12. All the details you have captured in your forest scene amazes me. Gorgeous effects. I’m fascinated by your process to get the highlights on the branches that you described in your reply to souldipper’s comment and I want to go swimming in that beautifully painted stream!

    • There is a swimming area down the way from this scene, Dana. Thas is actually the first time I have tried the acrylic with the watercolor and achieved something I liked. I have seen the work of several artists who combine the two mediums quite effectively. I also have seen some incredible wet media works in gouache and watercolor that I have had very little success with. Thank you for the comment! 🙂

  13. What beautiful scene! Fabulous rendering of the foliage in all its different greens! And the water !! I LOVE the turtles !

    • Thank you for mentioning those turtles, Isabelle. You would not believe how long it took me to get them just right. Everything sort of blended in and I had to play around with values a lot on the toned paper to get them. 🙂

  14. Leslie, yesterday I was in a hurry and I can not leave a comment in your blog. Awesome use of the colors and textures. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yesterday was a busy day for me, also, Nuno. Thank you for the comment and the visit, letting me know you are out there in art blogland! 🙂

  15. I just don’t have the words to express how much I like this. It’s seriously beautiful!

    • Thank you so much. I needed to do this as it is taking me time to get greens effectively. Do you have to work with greens some in landscape photos that you take? Our watercolor greens are not the greens normally found in nature and we have to add other colors to them to create interest and believability.

  16. This is a brilliant painting. The tree branches look so crisp and clean. Love the batik look on the water. You have mastered painting in watercolors on masa now. ;D Have you considered using acrylic gloss medium to preserve the white of the paper? The dried pigment can be wiped away. Gloss preserves the white area ; only it is not removable.

    • Hi Raji!
      Thank you for this tip. I use the matte version of acrylic medium to glue the masa down. The paper is already toned. I have not painted on just crinkled white masa but don’t see why one couldn’t. I think, without toning, the texture would not show up so readily. Yes, I can wet and blot on this surface due to the acrylic matte medium but staining color still shows some.
      Thank you for the visit and the comment as I know you are on break right now.

  17. masa masa masa masa. I have to buy me some. Bottom line. I love this Leslie, love the color scheme.

    • You make me chuckle, Ronny. Perhaps I should re-name this blog lesliepaints on masa. Had to pull myself away from the rice paper collage learning I was doing for a week. Now, back to that, I think. Thank you for this comment! 🙂

  18. I really meant to take part in this project, I wonder if there’s still time. The branches in the foreground really caught my eye, beautifully done.

    • There’s always time as her post will be there, now, and perhaps forever. Besides, I would like to see what you come up with on that quote, regardless! Those branches, painted over dark watercolor, was a first for me. I used white acrylic and painted watercolor darks into them while each branch was still wet. Thank you!

  19. I am just taking a swift look through your fine artistry Leslie, you are
    indeed a wonderful artist and the passion that you have for painting
    really shines through all of your work…

    Do have a most excellent Saturday my friend…

    Androgoth Xx

    • Hi Andro,
      Thank you, Andro. You have made my day. …and it is still Friday, so Saturday is going to have to be great. Hope the week end is good to you. Really liked the still life your way!

  20. Looks to be a very appropriate interpretation of the poetic line and I look forward to seeing the other entries too! Nicely done Leslie!

  21. Another beautiful paper. I really love what that masa paper does. I like how branches in the foreground stand out and are echoed in the water (created by the paper, I assume). It gives such a peaceful, restful feeling, as so many of your paintings do. Glad you participated and produced such a lovely result.

    • I like painting on masa as much as coldpress or hotpress paper, now. Thank you, Yousei.

  22. How beautiful! It has very beautiful colors in good harmony, giving to my mind a pleasant feeling. Lovely.

    • Thank you, Sartenada. What a nice observation. I’ll take harmony and peace, anyday. 🙂

  23. That is a great challenge, i enjoyed checking out what the others had done.
    As always i am stunned by the complexity most of your work achieves.
    Many would try to take on what you do and fall at the first hurdle

    • You are very kind, Richard. I feel as though I slide into discoveries that work. Sometimes it is not so much that I “know” what I’m doing any more than the first day I started painting. Sometimes it feels like I have learned when to keep going and when to stop? Does that make sense. Thank you for this comment as you have really made me feel good.

  24. I think I want to go live in that painting! 🙂 Makes the heart a leaping green spirit. Looks like “home.”

    • All of the people that live on this little lake have large yards that slant toward the water. Some of them are pretty woodsy and all of them give the impression that their owners appreciate nature. I can imagine this as your home from reading your blog. But!!!! I could visualise you on the high seas or the highest mountain top or even riding a camel across the vastness of a desert. The writer has so many homes at her fingertips! 🙂 Thank you, Jamie.

  25. I really love your work on masa paper. this is no exception.

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