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What can I say?  Tonight will be the first night I teach how to prepare a sheet of masa paper for watercolor painting to my watercolor landscape students.  For any who would like to learn this technique, you can find how to prepare the surface here and here. Several followers of this blog have taken up the challenge and also paint on masa paper and they can be found here and here.

I used a photo from the wet canvas site’s library for the above piece. I concentrated, mostly, on value, shape and color to paint the scene. I was interested in how the values in the photograph worked well and brought the scene into view without a whole lot of detail or definition. I need practice in this area of getting away from detail.  To me, the scene looked straight from late august with flies and bees buzzing.

I am trying to keep up with everybody and thank you all for your patience as my time online continues to be at a minimum. I love you all and will be around soon.


  1. pleasant and wonderfull!!

  2. I can see under the tree where you see the bees and flies buzzing…I see it too. I don’t know if you did that on purpose or if it was a happy accident but they fit the scene beautifully. I also love the animals under the trees and the beautiful reflection in this one. Excellent work, Leslie.

    • Thank you, Debbie. I remember canoe trips from camp, in the summertime, and there always seemed to be flies and bees down by the river on those. I felt this view was so like many as we paddled along on a hot summer day.

  3. Ohhhh – this is gorgeous! So beautiful and tranquil and peaceful and wonderful! The colors glow, the textures are to die for, and the reflections are drool-worthy :)! I also love the cows butts! They are cows – right?
    Congratulations on your new class! I envy your students: being taught by Masa Master is a privilege!

    • Yep. They are cows. We just finished an evening about painting small figures and animals in paintings and this one was perfect to experiment with. …and they are butts! 🙂 Thanks about the Masa Master. Makes me feel good, Alex. I see so many different artists’ paintings, using this paper, and I like what is being done with it. It has inspired me to keep working with it.

  4. Good luck with your masa paper school. You’ve mastered the technique and I particularly like this scene. I love it when you mention values Leslie. Beautiful as always and forever an inspiration to your student across the pond.

    • You praise me too highly, Keith. Thank you for this. I think, having viewed your drawings and paintings of the sheep and I think you had a few of cattle one time, also, caused me to pause and take in the photo reference of this scene. If I have captured some of the lazy feel of these cattle in the same way you have passed on the bustle of a flock of sheep, I would be pleased. Just visited your site and was pleased to see this! You rock!

  5. What a great painting. It really has that feeling of summer. I would love to sit near that river for a while.

    • Exactly what I though Hannekekoop! I wanted to be there! Thank you!

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
    • Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    That painting is absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing it. I love the colors and the paper and everything.

  6. There is so much to study and learn here, I have no access to masa here.. cant wait to catch hold of one and try this out Leslie, it looks so good!

    • Hi Padmaja,
      I wonder if you could order it from an art supplier? We use Cheap Joes and Dick Blick a lot around here. They sell 10 packs of large sheets of masa. I know, from having viewed your work that you would do a great job with this paper. Thank you for your visit and comment, Padmaja!

  7. Another lovely piece on masa paper. I dub thee, the MASA EXPERT! i really like this.

    • Thank you Carol. Made my day! I have had fun with this paper since I started experimenting with it late winter, early spring this year. I don’t go long in between choosing to paint something on this surface. Perhaps it is addicting? Ha! 🙂

  8. It does look like a ‘balmy’ day Leslie, a hazy crazy day of Summer.. captured forever…and the reflected water just adds another scenic dimension.., Good luck with your teaching, although after seeing all your masa paper Watercolours, you won’t need luck, ‘cos you have talent (and teaching ability) in abundance… xPenx

    • I get to see what my students have come up with this Thursday eve, Pen. There is nothing more fun than seeing others discover something new. “A hazy crazy day of summer ” is a perfect description of how this scene made me feel. Thank you!

  9. What a beautiful painting Leslie…I love your amazing work 🙂
    Congratulations on your new class!

  10. Blogging is not a marathon. It’s up to us to set the pace we can accommodate, Leslie. If people have qualms because they have expectations or a preconceived standard – they have to deal with those standards.

    You have a unique blog that contains well rounded quality. I’m subscribed so I won’t miss a post. That’s my concern. It is rather pleasant when people do only post occasionally!

    Besides, where else could I sit in on an art lesson and feel no pressure to perform?!

    • Thank you, Amy. I needed to hear that. This blogging is a fun and enjoyable part of my daily life. I enjoy visiting all of you and have learned an incredible amount in such a short period of time and much of it is due to sharing with all of you. Thank you for the upbeat comment about my blog. …and you are right about it not being a Marathon. Thank you. 🙂

  11. don’t you dare worry about not being online. it only means there are bigger things going on, like art! i haven’t updated and it’s only because I am painting the biggest painting i ever have. talk to you soon sugar

    • Ha! You and Amy, above, have made me smile today, Roni. I have actually felt a little blue about not keeping up my normal pace. Thank you! BIGGEST PAINTING? I look forward to the day that I can set aside enough of a space to spend some time on a full sheet of watercolor paper. Paint on! Will look forward to seeing it!

  12. This is super, love the blues and reflections. Glad you will be teaching others Masa paper method. I am giving a demo at my art guild this Tuesday evening. After seeing me working on it everyone wants to try it. Working on this texture full of colors just gives my imagination a real boost. Thanks for introducing me to it and for mentioning me in your blog. xo

    • YES! How did your demo go, Louise? I’ll stop by your blog and see if you posted about it. Tomorrow night I will get to see what my students came up with on their paper they toned last week in class. The anticipation of beautiful artwork to come is making me anxious. I agree with you about it triggering imagination. It is like a playground to be creative on! Thank you!

  13. I always love your landscapes, Leslie. It does look like a lazy summer afternoon with the cows trying to find relief under the trees. would you mind telling me where you get your watercolors and what colors you would consider as basic? I haven’t had a lot of success in finding them yet. I’m feeling the need to paint now as much as use the pens and I would like to get into a better quality of paint.

    • When I first began painting, I used Cotman watercolors. After about two years, I began to notice my paintings were fading. I switched over to “artist grade” Winsor Newton tube colors (much more expensive) and stayed with them for three years. No fading with them! They have stayed true and I love the colors. However, I was able to take a class from Don Andrews a year ago this summer and purchased American Journey tube watercolors. They are slightly more opaque but I am not finding any difficulty using them. I get more quantity for the money spent and have stayed with them. Have not noticed any fading at all. They can be ordered through Cheap Joes. I purchased Don Andrews recommendations that can be found here: The list of colors are at the bottom of this link. I have added to them over time but those are the colors you have seen me use in my paintings since last summer. These are artist grade and I highly recommend their use. Winsor Newton or American Journey. Good question, Ruth. Many of my students switch over to these two brands after about a year and have been happy with both. Thank you!

  14. I can see that your students are in for
    a very nice treat with this learning curve 🙂

    Have a most wonderful
    rest of day and evening Leslie 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • Aaaah, I get to see the students’ work tomorrow night and I am so excited. Thanks, Andro!

  15. It took me a while to “read” the painting but I immediately liked those trees.

    • Thanks, Bill. I do think it takes a bit of time to read this one. Perhaps I did not develop it far enough but decided to stop, here because it seemed to reflect the light of a hot summers day and I did not want to lose that by dulling down the texture and brightness of the bank. Always decisions to make….Glad to have you back with us! I so enjoy your work and writing.

  16. Love this composition and the wonderful Masa paper Leslie! Keep saying that I will get some of this and have a go – but no time for anything lately (including blogging) I also clicked on your links – nice examples of what can be done on the Masa paper too!

    • Thank you for clicking on Beth and Louise sites, Lynda!
      There will be time for you to work on this. I just know it. I think I read about it a year and a half before I had time to try it. I think I like the suggestion of freeing the artist from the reference material everytime I work on it. Thank you for taking time to visit and comment! 🙂

  17. wow, unbelievable, it’s stunning. I like the texture and the colors is perfect. Well done.

  18. Leslie, you are so right! Flies buzzing, tails swishing and a hum in the dry air. Lovely! lovely! lovely! I still wonder at your beautiful color choices.

    • Thank you, about the color choices comment, especially, Linda. When in doubt, I usually add violet to the darks with my greens, but this one screamed at me to use a little fire engine red in my darks of the cows and drop a little of it elsewhere. I think it gave this a little different look than some of my other landscapes and was fun to vary that direction. Running over to see what you have been up to! Thanks, again.

  19. This is so beautiful, Leslie! I love the critters under the trees! I am amazed by how well you do reflections and I think that wonderful hard edge where the water meets the land is great at helping to define the beginning of the reflections, where they soften and blur. (Can I make a longer sentence? he he) You do magic, Leslie!

    • Ha! I like your sentence, thankyou, Beth! That hard edge actually took some time, trying to soften it a little here and there and fade it out to the sides…… Phew. So, it is nice to get a comment in regards to it. Isn’t masa fun!

  20. Leslie, you have done such a good job introducing the masa paper to your online audience that I think any demo you do with this material will be a success. Catch you around the web soon!

    • Al. Thank you. I didn’t think to include any styrofoam along the banks of this river! I guess i have decided you had something to do with tidying up the shoreline. *SMILE*
      Your recent show is awesome. I like how you displayed your work.

  21. another beautiful piece and i love how loose it is. the colours are wonderful and its a gorgeous scene with cows out in the field where they should be! i love this paper and really hope to find time to learn your techniques for using it. q

    • You are right about cows in the field where they should be. I did not think of that but it is part of the appeal of this. Thank you for pointing that out, Nicola. You will get to it. It took me quite some time, after finding out about it, to dive in. Have fun when you do! Thank you for the comment and the visit! 🙂

  22. Love the river and the reflections, and as Carol said… you are the master with Masa!

  23. Oh Leslie! Wonderful! It’s so gloomy and chilly here today and looking at this painting reminded me of those perfect late summer days we sometimes get with you colors just hinting at a change of season. This impacts me emotionally as well as visually. It’s dreamy…like waking up from a summer cat nap.

    • You are so right. It is drowsy heat, Nanina. We have had a bit of Indian Summer, here this past week. Chill and drizzle to descend upon us tomorrow. Thank you! I love it that this painting carried a feeling through. Made my day!

  24. Masa mama! You ROCK :0) I love this. Your greens and purples really sing…love the reflection.

    • Hi, JRuth. Thank you for this. If I think about the chakra colors, it makes sense to use purple and green together like this, right? Thank you!

  25. Hey Leslie – this is such a late summer scene – with cows and trees at the river. Is that an orchard in the background. I can kind of hear flies and bees. This Masa process has taken you to a new level in your painting.

    • The background can be anything you want it to, Stephen. 🙂 I think it was a pasture but had a faint treeline in the distance. Thank you for commenting this one!

  26. Gorgeous. 🙂

  27. Gorgeous painting, Leslie! Makes me thing of summer with her luxurious colors and the joy of the moment. Great work, as always!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By November 6, 2011 « Linda Halcomb's Blog on 06 Nov 2011 at 8:20 am

    […] by Leslie and all of the work she’s done recently using MASA paper (example here), I decided to give it a try. I first learned about Masa when I took a class in experimental […]

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