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The above painting was inspired by a poem  and painting that Val Erde offered up to writers, photographers and artists here.  Her poem is titled Tree.  As I read it, much more came through for me than a singular tree. I thought about all trees. I then thought about us as many of the words she chose, in this poem, had a human quality and then an animal quality. At that point, it dawned on me that the feeling I had and thought  was that of every living thing and what we face, this lifetime, this existence.  I chose to begin abstractly and create a piece with no reference other than her poem and the things it spoke to me.  I added rice papers and more color as I built my story of a lifetime here. When I scrolled furthur, I saw her digital painting that did have a humanesque form as well as a tree form and that was all she wrote. I was off and running. I don’t want to bore you with everything I thought as I created this as I believe an artform can mean many things more than what the artist is feeling. I will tell you that even the colors and shapes I chose spoke something of life here. I have titled this painting Renewal.

Many other artists have tagged their responses to this challenge in her comment section. You can view them by clicking on the tags the individual artists have left there.


  1. the ripping from waterfall~!

    • Summer, you always make me smile. 🙂 Very adequately stated.

      • haha really? my pleasure

      • Sometimes, reading what you write causes me to see more. The idea of the word ripping suggests movement and action taking place and I think there is. Thank you. I had not thought of ripping and like that.

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm
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    I cannot tell you how much I love this painting. The colors, the form, the message all speaks to me in words beyond words. Thank you for creating this loveliness.

  2. this is incredibly beautiful. Straight from the heart ❤ Thank you

    • Thank you for noticing that element of the heart, Kirsty. I cannot tell you how your post about the trees on your recent blog affected and saddened me. I wish it were not so. By the way, I am enjoying following your 120 day challenge. Wow.

      • It’s lovely that you took the time Leslie. It’s lovely to journey creatively with you in cyberspace.

    • Sandrine Pelissier
    • Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm
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    Gorgeous colors and textures here! And you did it all from imagination, very nice!

    • I am truly enjoying this venture into rice paper collage and watercolor. I am following the tutelage from Gerald Brommer’s book on the technique and it is fascinating. I can only say that once I get the bridging of colors down, with a general Idea expressed through color and abstract brushstrokes that the painting guides me as much as my feelings and thoughts. It is made easier because he offers up the paper collage and I know I can glue shapes down and paint again. I rather like the process. I begin with one idea and a value pattern and from that a painting begins to birth itself, almost. I have never done this before this summer and I am really beginning to like it. Thank you for your comment on this. Your art and all that you so freely explore has also given me the confidence to stretch more. I thank you for that and this comment.

  3. Hi dear! it is really warm and nice , I like it 🙂

  4. I could really feel how this painting evolved from your heart. The poem , the inspiration behind it has made it sink in to you. Well,in life we are all connected and that includes trees. As a teenager, I had written a story (for a local magazine) called The Tree in which the tree spoke to the readers from its perspective of life happening around. An artist gave a black and white illustration of the tree. your work reminded me of it,only much more colorful and alive Leslie!

    • You do see how I developed this. …and I did feel that connection while I created this painting. I tried to allow the colors to speakthrough their chakra meanings, each step of the cycle having a blue line of truth to it and the green of love and the tremendous amount of primal, self and shared energies that go into this lifetime, here. Thank you, Padmaja. Your story that you wrote sounds wonderful. Another testament to our all being connected is my image, here, being similar to the one the other artist drew. Thank you!

  5. Leslie, I love that you took Val’s challenge and used the poem for the inspiration. I tried to capture the poem in photographs I took over the weekend, but I was not successful.

    Your paintings are wonderful. Glad you stopped by my blog, so I could find yours! Thank you!

    • I took Val’s poem and image to be inter-related, Lenore. …so that beautiful poem you wrote actually covered her poem, also. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out what I have been inspired to create, here. You know when you will find that perfect photo for this challenge, of course. 🙂 …. “When we least expect it.”

  6. This is a wonderful idea taking the thoughts from a poem and creating a painting or drawing from the theme, I guess this will have a much bigger impact as everyone shares their work, as in a collective interest on how everyone visualised the poem. I wouldn’t recommend this notion for one of my offerings though as Skeletons, Ghouls, Zombies and Werewolves could be a rather scary challenge 🙂 lol Just kidding Leslie and thank you for sharing this most wickedly excellent painting of yours, as it is a real treat for the senses.

    Have a truly delightful day today Leslie

    Androgoth Xx

  7. This is gorgeous, Leslie! I love the heat and drama of the reds, in contrast to the icy coldness of the whites, springing forth the beautiful trees…. bringing all of life into balance. I actually gasped when it appeared on my monitor!

    • Exactly. The heat and the drama…relating a bit to this summer. Phew it has been raw and hot! The red also stood for that energy it takes for life to cycle, for us to keep going and the white for the water? You got it; icey, refreshing and pure. Thank you so much, Beth. I am bound and determined to become a bit fluent with using these rice papers in my paintings.

  8. Dripping with energy. Very Asian quality. Beautiful.

    • I love that…”dripping with energy”! Thank you so much, Gretchen! …and I don’tknow how I got that Asian look, but I agree. Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment.

  9. Beautifully done, Leslie! I just sent you an unrelated email, I’ve sent it to your Verizon address, hope it is the right one.

    • Ha! Thank you for your email in regards to the other Lesley. I do like her work! Thank you also for this comment!

  10. OMG!! Very zen. Very beautiful. When I get back to my computer, I would like to download this. With your permission. One of my faves!

    • I have just sent this in an email to you, Kate! I thank you for your comment. I actually thought of your mountain home and all that it goes through each year as I created this. Of course you may take this off the blog if this image works better than the one I just sent to you. It was wonderful to hear from you and your “OMG!” will help to put spring in my steps today. 🙂

  11. I’ve just visited the link Leslie, and I agree wholeheartedly, the poem was a wonderful description of the Tree, and it’s need to delve down and root into the dark depths of the earth, .. Holding fast… and I love your Watercolour response, .. what comes through for me is a turbulence of movement, even though the main characters cannot move at all themselves, (other than in Macbeth of course, or in the books by Tolkien ) … a striking and dramatic piece my friend. xPenx

    • I can warm to what you have written, here, Pen. I think our life, here, is constantly in motion even if some characters are rooted to a spot, their seeds spread far and wide with the help of other life forms. They stand as a promise and a witness to it all in this as each of us do to the smallest life form and spec of sand. Thank you for taking the time to read the poem and comment, here, Pen. I value that. Turbulence; I like that.

  12. Leslie, this is absolutely breath taking. When I first saw the painting, I felt your immense creative energy emitting from it without even reading the story. I could feel your zest for life in those trees. I love the serene feel and lively bright colors. Actually, I noticed that in a lot of your paintings — your amazing ability to capture tranquility and vivacious energy at the same time. You did an extraordinary job with the challenge of bringing Val’s words to life. Your painting renews the inspirational energy I’ve been looking for. Thanks Leslie. 🙂

    • I thought of you as I thought of Kate, above, Emily. You have photographed mountains near you for me to see. My fellow bloggers have given me visions of their worlds that have fashioned vistas in my mind. Thank you for saying something about serene and the bright color. It helps me to see more of what I am creating as I have the most difficult time when I view my own creation and your comment helps me on my journey.
      The best part of the comment, for me, is that I may have played a part in helping you to renew your inspirational energy, for that is the most important gift one artist can offer another. Thank you. Thank you!

  13. I like the abundance of water in your painting, Leslie. Perhaps the trees won’t have such a hard time “supping” up their needed sustenance! The colors chosen give it a very “alive” and vibrant feeling–and I love the title too.

    • Oh gosh, Gayle, I had to add that water. The journey is nothing without it as you have aptly pointed out with your comment. As I painted it, I think I became a little carried away, smiling all the while. You should have seen the trees and the red of the hard ground before I added it as it was the final elenment I painted. I felt as though I was the spring sun warming the snow caps that started it tumbling. 🙂 Thank you, Gayle.

  14. This is absolutely beautiful. I love your vision in this. The waterfall is my favorite. Brilliant work, Leslie!!!

    • How come I am not surprised that the water is your favorite element, you who positions herself along the east coast in the summer? 🙂 Thank you Debbie.

  15. Leslie, I am as enmeshed in the exquisite color as I would be in the roots were I a drop of water. It’s like you have painted the emotional life of trees. I love too the fibrous bits of paper mirroring the root imagery from the poem. Wow! Lovely!


    • What a cool comment about the fibers and the roots, Nanina. I really like the potential for the textures and the allowance for another medium to create with and could not give words to my fascination for the rice paper. You have just helped me with that. I think that is what I see in Gerald Brommer’s collage and watercolors with this rice paper. Thank you for that and your sensitivity to what I was trying to portray.

  16. This is magical and reminds me of an asian style painting, although the palette is different. I love the waterfalls and the different levels depicted here.

    • I saw the asian similarities, also, and wonder if it had to do with the shapes I chose to make the trees as well as the inclusion of those waterfalls, rendered this way. Thank you for that. Thank you for noticing those levels, too. That was part of my plan to represent renewal on the journey. Like you rested on the way up in Machu Pichu?

  17. This is remarkable, love the composition!

  18. Wow! Leslie, I’m stunned at this – it’s fabulous! I really love it! 🙂 🙂 You’ve interpreted my poem far beyond what I’d hoped. There’s so much movement in your painting, Streams, waterfalls, trees, land… water is nutrition for the trees… you’ve got that thirst quenching right on!

    Sorry I’m a bit late to reply, by the way, having been having a bit off time away from my blog but just looked in and realised I had so many comments and more respondes to the challenge so felt I should try and get back into things!

    • Thank you, Val. Without your poem and challenge, this image would never have come forward. I enjoyed the process.

  19. There’s something quite Japanese in this painting Leslie, I think it’s the rocks and also the colours you have used. Very lovely, looks like an old illustration. I like the way the water cascades down the rocks too – very tranquil (and renewing) Good!

    • Your blog about other artists inspires me so much when I venture into this realm, Lynda. I owe you huge thank yous for continuing to post about them. I also thank you for this comment, especially about old illustration because I wanted this to appear old. ……. The journey that just keeps renewing and renewing and renewing and the inter connectedness. That is what seeped into me from Val’s poem….

  20. I agree with echostains…there is a very Asian feel to your painting. I enjoy the water reflecting the many colors that are in light.

    • You and Lynda have to know that if I had tried for an Asian or Japanese look, I never would have been able to capture it. 🙂 I sometimes chuckle when someone requests something and they give me a bunch of guidelines about how they want the finished piece to look. That comment about the colors of light makes me go, “Oh, thank you!” because I totally did not think of that but was searching for the colors of the chakra and yes!; they are brought in on the light. Way cool, Al. Thank you.

  21. I understand why you call this renewal. This has a very etherial quality to it – almost spiritual but the colors are powerful and bold. Very beautiful!

    • Wow. Thank you, Linda. I was searching for the spiritual with this one in particular. Love your recent series on “Heat”!

  22. The trees line or climb to the left as if reading Japanese poetry, 3 trees are a magical number, or an odd number creates intrigue in a painting, Colors–the green for life and growth, the reds for eneregy and heat, the blues and whites for refreshing coolness in water as it flows, falls, and collects into pools. Imagination takes over at this point, blending, absorbing, clearing the mind, and although the colors are bold and vibrant they bring peace within all the activity, and a sense of longevity to those remarkable trees.

    • YOU ROCK! Thank you so much!! I love that “blending, absorbing, clearing the mind”. That is how I see stages of the journey seeping into and out from our souls, tree souls and every little living thing. You have honored this piece with your words, Dan. …..and I thank you.

  23. Leslie, I am always completely engaged with and grateful for your descriptions of process. So valuable.

    This is so lively and full of life and movement and the color helps make that happen. It puts me in mind very much of certain rugged areas in Northern California and Oregon and in upstate New York and Canada. Lovely! Quite takes my breath away.

    • I was thinking just that; our life being a series of tasks we climb to meet and each passage of time builds a foundation that is both colorful and strong and on and on we go, setting our roots to the task. Rugged areas are like that. Thank you for that breath, Jamie.

  24. Leslie, how on earth did I miss this…I just caught it thanks to your comment on Val’s blog. I suspect this was the time my computer decided to give Outlook the boot and dropped messages.

    Anyway, I really love this painting! It’s a tree, afterall – one of my heart’s companions. I like the free falling layers around the tree – colourful and gentle.

    Again, you dress the Net!

    • Oh. I am so glad you found this painting, Amy! Ha! I figured you might not have liked it; and this was one I really wanted you to see because it was so much about our journey, here, with the chakra colors, challenges, and likeness to all living things around us and how we are a part of it all, even the trees. Then the computer glitch your way and I didn’t know if I should say, “Hey, Amy.” Yes it is actually a tree and the water and the hardness and the color and the journey and us. Thank you so much for your comment.

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