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I am continuing my studies in the Watercolor and Collage Workshop  book by Gerald Brommer.  Let me say that there is a whole host of information in this book and anyone interested in this method of painting would find it full of suggestions and techniques to get you started as well as to inspire you furthur. My images fall short of his and I have a long way to go to master these techniques. However, I LOVE THIS.  Working on these feels like I am really adding a part of myself to the piece more than anything I have attempted other than continuous line drawing. It has caused me to feel my way through the composition and given me a little bit of a voice through my experimentation.  The above painting/collage is 4.5″ x 13.5″, so not very large. It was practice in beginning with a painting and applying papers and white watercolor to enhance the painting rather than to fix it. Mr. Brommer talked about the use of white in our work for more than just a “fix” but for part of the composition, as a whole. I liked that.

Below is how I created this painting:

My inspiration came from strips of a reference photo I used to paint this painting last year. I liked the value patterns I saw in the photo as I moved my viewfinder around an inkjet copy of it. I began the painting by applying light yellow and green wet-in-wet with a #12 round brush and

followed by defining the value pattern that I saw using darker greens and blues.

I added a suggestion of the trunks leading up through and behind the leaves using yellow and burnt sienna and then began glueing a nice transparent white rice paper that had long and curvey threads running through it. I use a mixture of acrylic matte medium and a little water as my glue and apply it to the papers with a brush. I do not “glob” it on but apply a little to back of paper and then stroke a little on the top surface of the paper to adhere it in place. I was careful to choose how I wanted the threads in the paper to flow along the branches. I did not just tear pieces and apply them haphazardly.  This stage of the painting took me the most time.

The above is how this painting looked when I was done glueing the rice papers to the surface.

   finished painting

This was the most fun stage of the painting. My painting had deviated from the reference so much that I was able to just enjoy enhancing what I had created. I darkened areas around the boughs of the branches trying to be mindful of where the light was filtering in from the upper righthand quadrant. I did not worry that the papers had changed the look of the leaves from the original reference and imagined pine boughs, instead (those huge droopy ones). To finish, I took Brommer’s suggestion and used some titanium white and painted in rays of light filtering through.

I enjoyed this one so much, I did another using a rice paper with little choppy threads in it. This one came out looking more like maple or oak leaves might.

   finished painting


I would also like to announce that there are two art shows coming up in our community in the next two weeks.

The Fort Wayne Artists Guild juried show’s opening is Friday July 8th from 7 to 9 pm. in the Jeffrey Krull Gallery on the first floor of the Allen County Public Library.  The show will hang through August 20th during normal Library hours.

Artlink’s Annual Members’ Show will open Friday July 15th from 6 to 9pm. This show will hang until August 10th and can be viewed during normal Artlink hours.

These are my two favorite shows each year and a great representation of local artists’ work. If you are in the area, you may wish to stop in and view them.






  1. haha i like the shape of this paper and

    yellow-ish greens
    blue-ish greens

    and rays of sunshine through the hole of a leafy roof
    adding another dimension to the painting

    • This was quite challenging for someone like me as I attempt to use these new approaches. They do get me out of my box a bit. Thank you for noticing that utilising that opening through the trees added another dimension, Summer. Sometimes I don’t realize how simple changes can change the entire direction of a painting we are working on.

  2. I like the way you get inspiration from your own earlier paintings thereby growing and expanding on your whole body of work. Your final piece has quite a bit of depth and texture and I especially like that you did it as a long vertical. Thank you again for taking the opportunity to teach your blog fans new techniques.

    Thanks too for telling us about your local art shows. If I lived closer I would attend. 🙂

    • I chose the long vertical because I thought it might help enhance the idea I was doing a crop of tall trees. Thank you for that idea of expanding a body of work. The author of this book says to look for other compositions within our paintings and to use a viewfinder to frame them in. It is quite amazing what I find when I do that with my paintings as well as the reference material. There is so much our eyes do not see right off. Thank you for this comment, Carol. …and it would be great to live closer!

  3. Very exciting!

  4. Hah~! That’s true. We are motivated by different things. And we are constantly inspired by little errors in life when we get ‘drunk’ in life.

  5. I really enjoy when I read this instruction. Thank dear Leslie!

  6. The vertical format is a nice one and the gradation of the process is very exciting. It was also a wise decision to add the white to bring in the spark of the sun.. I can imagine the exciting time you spent on this piece Leslie!

    • It was exciting, as you mention, Padmaja. This varied from the reference the furthur I went into the painting. I have found that extremely fun to “play” with. It is like I am being given permission to rely on what I have learned, over the years I’ve painted. Thank you!

  7. Of all the art blogs I follow yours is the only one that teach new techniques. But you don’t just teach it, you demonstrate how you achieved your own work. Recently, I have been going through my charcoal drawings looking for one to inspire me to try an interpretation of it in watercolors, but forgot all about it. You once again have inspired me to consider this.
    I love this painting, Leslie!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments about my sharing how I paint some of my pieces, Debbie. I only wish I had the skill to do more. There are some great video tutorials out there on the blogs. One is Sandrine’s here:
      I hope you do try to watercolor from a reference done in charcoal. That would be so cool to see how you interpret it in color. Happy Painting! 🙂

  8. I appreciate the love you put into your work and see the beauty of doing collage and using special paper to add texture to your painting. What a difference it makes! I’m drawn towards the second one and it’s a delight to look at.

    • I think I like the second one a little more, also. I like the effect the collage gives awatercolor, also. I am always in search of stretching this awesome medium’s capabilities. Thank you, Earthianne! 🙂

  9. Wow Les, I love them both. I always appreciate light moving through paintings and you captured it beautifully.

    • Hi Nan,
      Thank you so much. I really deliberated putting those streaks in there, but felt it needed it. These new techniques are going to take me some time to get a feel for.

  10. I love this new inspiration painting. The beams of light are truly uplifting. Have you found your unique special technique in masa paper? Is it going to become your signature?

    • I really really like that masa paper. Yes. I will be painting more of them than anything, I think. However, I have begun to like painting on Hotpress paper, also. Then this; the use of rice paper collage to enhance the texture and design of a watercolor is cool. I like that and want to work on it more. But yes, masa is my favorite right now.
      Thank you, Alex. 🙂

  11. Leslie, Beautiful. I love following each step with you and learn so much. I am just getting ready to begin my masa paper paintings next. I have been inspired by your thoughtful teaching. xo

  12. It’s really lovely, and I love seeing the process!

  13. What a process – what a treat to go through the process with you. Yes, you are a great teacher, Leslie. I’m not even an artist and I love what you teach!

    • Music to my ears, Amy. So much of what I learn in life helps me with how to approach my art. I believe that each of us must have a special vision and that each of our individual works would appear different even if we use the same techniques as another. I want to share those techniques in the event that others can use it in their creations of what they see. I feel like you are doing the same thing as you dip into your soul. Thank you for this comment, Amy.

  14. I love green Leslie, as there are so many variations on the theme, just as in life, so many levels and shades, … moods and responses. .. It’s great to see the process happening, as you ‘add’ yourself, your ideas, and in the finished product, there’s an extra dimension, Leslie’s view. Beautiful, nature enhanced. xPenx

    • Greens are hard, Pen. I am not sure that I am, as yet, very versatile with them but love trying. Do writers have a difficult time rendering greens with words? Thank you for that “nature enhanced”! 🙂

  15. Happy Fourth to you to lady….smiles.

    The painting with adding rice papers is a delightful process to me. You have such patience to do this I admire the skill you have developed. Lovely is the finished piece….:D

    • 🙂 Happy Fourth, Raven! Thank you for this comment on the process of using these rice papers. It does require the patience you have mentioned, here. …and I certainly hope I can retain this patience as I continue to explore their use as I like some of the effects it offers in texture. 🙂

  16. There is almost a pointilism quality to these painting that I quite enjoy. Today I made some abstract pen drawings on some scrap leftover board and had planned on doing some watercolor overlays. I am glad I waited because you have inspired me to to try a pointilism effect as a change of pace. Thanks,

    • You make me smile. I have a very hard time rendering tree’s leaves in any other way than this loose pointillism. I try other ways but this must be something that I can not escape from. It makes me smile that it is something you might try, Ruth. I think it was the artist Judy Whitton who inspired me to try to paint tree’s leaves this way. Everyone’s attempts look different so it will be fun to see what you come up with. Thank you!

  17. Also, I love the flag painting!

  18. Oh my gosh, Leslie!!! STUNNING!!! I love how you describe not only the method, but the fun and emotion that went into it. Love it!

    • This took quite some time for two small pieces. I hop I can become better with my choices and more familiar with the papers as time goes on, Beth. Thank you for your positive remarks!

  19. Yes and as one of those starts today I would
    imagine that there will be many visitors… You
    have a lovely way of expressing your art my
    wickedly fine friend…

    Androgoth Xx

    • The opening to tonight’s show always brings a lot of people. Thank you, Andro.

  20. You seem to have mastered this technique Leslie. I love the step by step process showing the stages of your work. Very beautiful.

    • Oh, Keith, I wish I truly had mastered this. I hope, in time, the papers blend a little more with the painting like Brommer is able to do. The thing I like about it is that it changes the look of watercolor but does not take away from it. There is something about the transparency that is not achieved with paper and other media and I am still learning to combine the two. Your kind comment inspires me to keep going with this. Thank you.

  21. I enjoyed the test strip quality of this investigation and the sequence you presented.

    • Thankyou. I like the idea of likening this to a test strip. Right now? That is exactly what I am doing as I discover the different ways I can use to incorporate rice paper into my paintings.

  22. Leslie, You are so patient! I’m amazed at all the steps needed to create your artwork. Passion is behind this, no doubt. 😉 Love the finish product with all the texture.

    • Thank you, Anne. It took me a long time to learn that patience. At first I wanted to just keep painting and not give some of the washes time to dry. When I finally learned that the water created more effects with the pigment, when given time to dry, I included patience in my “bag of tricks”. 🙂

  23. I love this one! and I love watching it as it unfolded via your ‘step by step’….I enjoyed watching as each layer built upon the last.

    • Thank you, Hilary! This process is so new to me and I am trying to get the feel of using these rice papers and have them become a part of the composition….

  24. The final results are stunning Leslie. I enjoyed your process and comments.

    • This is my latest jump in there and just do it, this working with paintingand incorporating rice papers. In fact, I am working on one right now. The thing I like most about these is I can’t control the outcome but only help it to create itself. Perhaps, in time, I’ll actually be able to render abstractly, comfortably. 🙂 Thank you, Keith!

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