Skip navigation

9.5 inches x 13.5 inches

Those of you who follow this blog know that I am forever saying that it takes me forever to paint a watercolor. However, I have reached a period of time that does not allow for much painting time. Last week I was so “hungry” to paint, I gave it a go at completing a painting in an hour. It turned out to be one of the most fun hours of the week. I splattered a piece of Arches 140lb cold pressed paper with liquid frisket and set out my palette. I chose a photo reference from wet canvas that I had previously set aside and went to work painting with a large 12 round brush. I worked light to dark and wet in wet and let the paper tell me when it had become dry enough to render detail. This gave this little piece a bit of a glow. I practiced my “little people” skills on the guy sitting by the river and finished with a splattering of the dark colors I had used.

After finishing this piece, I had a feeling I had painted something similar before.  It was not the same but had many of the same colors and was an October piece with much the same composition.

Stephen Kellogg has honored the above painting with a poem here. Thank you Stephen!  🙂


  1. Some times colours can get really intuitive and some colours get lodged at the subconscious level.. this is very beautiful and poignant Leslie!

    • I think I do associate fall with orange and lime greens. …and gold! The other thing that hit me is that I used an “O” composition in both the October paintings. Made me chuckle, Padmaja. I take a lot of things for granted and there are times my brain serves up something it recognises and I like that. 🙂 Thank you, Padmaja!

  2. Very nice. The colors are comforting and dramatic at the same time. A peaceful outcome. And for the artist also.

    • Thank you, Gretchen. I would like to do more of this type of painting. I just never thought I could really come up with much.

  3. Oh, this is terrific. I admit I did not know it was water. I was marveling at the way the sunlight was coming through the trees to shine in the meadow. I particularly like the depth and life you gave the tree trunk.

    • Thank you, Cindy. I think it works fine as a meadow! Each viewer interprets what the see in their own way and I am glad it works as both and love the meadow idea. Very cool! The fact that you like the tree trunk makes me feel better. I struggled with that but decided not to touch it Thank you!

  4. What a lovely, loose rendering of your little person at leisure. I love the glow coming from behind the tree. It lights up the whole painting.

    • Hi Carol,
      You noticed my favorite part of this painting, also. That light was a gift I often don’t see. When it happened and that bit of purple seeped into the light I had to tell myself to quiet the brush and wait. I am going to try this again. It was so much fun to paint wet in wet with abandon. Thank you!

  5. Wonderful October light in the back there – my favorite part! I love all parts of this painting, but that light is special. We spent a day at Morton Arboretum last week (before the rain started…) and the light had just the quality you have in this painting. October light is colored differently from August light or April light, did you notice? I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. You have it in this painting – amazing!

    • That is my favorite part of this, also, Alex! There seems to be kind of a humid haziness to the light in October, don’t you think? That is, if we get any light at all these days. It has been raining forever it seems, here, on the other side of Lake Michigan. Is it the humidity that picks up the reflections of the fall colors, I wonder? So, yes. I noticed the light around me as I painted this. The reference photo was all greens because it was full summer in the photo. I painted what I thought the scene might look like now, here, which was rather fun. Thank you, so much!

  6. I love the way you splashed the frisket on to get the light to shine through the background and on the little man taking it easy on the the large tree root. It speaks October loud and clear with all those lovely colors. Sometimes my best paintings are done in a shorter period of time than when I fuss with them for many hours.

    • That frisket splattering on certain paintings is one of my favorite things to do, Debbie. It helps to break up some of the monotony of my brushstrokes, I think, and may become as signature to many of my paintings as the masa paper has. We tend to re-use what we like and throw out the rest. I am in total agreement that some of the best paintings happen in less time! 🙂 Thank you!

  7. Oh, oh!!! This one sings! It’s so rich and deep, Leslie. Your love for painting in watercolor and hunger to paint shine through. I agree with Alex. You have captured the October light and with more ease and freedom than the painting from 2009. The tree is amazing. I wish I was a “little person” in one of your paintings!

    • Thank you, Nanina. Lately I have kept asking myself does it really matter? Can’t I paint something? Just anything? Quickly? I have seen others paint that way and come up with beautiful paintings that move and dance with light. It is high time I learn to do so, too. You can be a “little person” in any painting you would like! What a wonderful comment. I thank you!

  8. Sometimes I get weary of prose Leslie, as my mind tends to try and rhyme even when I think, so I rest and leave it for a while, but then just as you describe, the hunger hits and nothing will assuage it but the taking up of a ‘pen’ in my case or a brush in yours… and I must say, the resulting glinting (almost frosty sparkle) October watercolour is so worth the effort… The man looks to be enjoying nature, quietly, and serenely, watching the water flow by, cloaked in Autumn colours… xPenx

    • Hi Pen,
      Thank you for your comments. They always help me to “see” more and question and “feel” more when I paint. I respect what you do in writing, bringing forth pictures in words and you do it so well. That you “get it”; what an artist feels is a bond we can share forever. There are times, when I read and I say to myself, “I wish I had a way with words like that. I wish they would tumble forth like you describe.” I paint pictures and you honor me and my attempts to communicate when you leave a comment like this. Thank you, dear Pen.

  9. I know what your saying Leslie, it’s been crazy for myself and very little time to paint. I’m thinking that we both need to be like the little person in your wonderful painting, kick back and relax. My family did the annual halloween camping at Lake Rudolph this past weekend, and although a lot of work, it was so relaxing and fun. I hope you get some down time soon! Love the movement in the painting, and yet it seems so relaxing!

    • I am responding to you and others this down time, Ryan. This painting was so much fun that I may try this again soon. I miss having most of my evenings to paint but would not trade what time I am investing in other things right now, also. Camping sounds fun. I have not camped in years, but am with family. That is the important part. Thank you!

  10. You’re right about the glow, Leslie! I think it really gives this painting a dream-like quality. Beautiful!! I love painting quick, and when that’s all the time you have, it fills the craving for a while.

    • That is my favorite part, also, Beth. I wish I could do that every painting. Perhaps we chase these gifts as artists? Thank you and happy flying!

  11. This painting has great colors, and I noticed that was always one of the things that attracted me to your paintings. Sometimes letting go of expectations and just having fun with the process of painting can produce great results like this painting, it has an emotion and yes, a dream-like quality like Beth was mentioning.

    • That makes me feel good, what you said about color. I have a friend that I paint with from time to time and I think she influenced me to become more playful with color. Sometimes our fears about what something will look like holds us back so much. Many of your step by step posts have helped me to be more aggressive, Sandrine. Thank you!

  12. Sweet, Leslie! Not surprising your color palette is the same for both Octobers!! Very fall like

    • 🙂 I suppose it is a “no-brainer” that oranges and yellows fit fall, but the idea that they both seem connected, somehow, tickled me a little. I think it is the case of the “older I get the more forgetful I become” and I sometimes am just tickled I remember! Ha! Thank you for the visit and comment, Kate!

  13. nice color scheme and brilliance. can feel the light. great job. 🙂

    • Thank you, Anindya! I enjoy your work and the information you are passing on in your discussions about watercolor. 🙂

  14. So full of joy; I love it.

  15. Leslie,
    Thanks again for painting and sharing another poem inspiring piece of creativity and allowing me to add it next to the poem on my blog. Wonderful work that transported me there, long enough to write about it 🙂

    Thanks again!


  16. It’s a pleasure reading how you enjoyed the hour so much. That is what it’s all about, Leslie! And there you are – willing to share a painting with us. You are amazing and such a great example. Thank you.

    • You are truly a caring person, Amy, to find joy in my pleasure. It makes me think about something I have thought about before. I have noticed all is well when those we love are at peace with themselves……. Thank you for that reminder. ..and thank you for this comment!

  17. I really like this one Leslie and the
    colouring of the leaves is amazing 🙂

    Have a lovely rest of
    evening now my great
    friend 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • Thank you, Andro! Had a fun art class tonight and a good start into the weekend. Are the leaves changing over there? …or already done? You have a great weekend! 🙂

        • Androgoth
        • Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm
        • Permalink

        Yes the leaves are all changing adding colour to the scenery,
        and of course a lot of spent leaves to sweep away in my garden
        too, but I always love Autumn Leslie as it is one of my favourite
        seasons… I like Winter too.

        I hope that your weekend is
        a truly lovely one my great friend 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

  18. The nice thing about a short painting time is that it doesn’t allow us to get stuck in it. We can be a little more spontaneous that perhaps we ordinarily would. This one is quite lovely.

    • Thank you, Ruth. I have always enjoyed watercolors that appeared like they painted themselves and the artits’s hand was hurried. I know what you mean about getting stuck. For me, it is always when my thinker gets too much of the painting time.

  19. Brilliant! The colors just vibrate and zing. Absolutely luminous.

  20. It looks as if you have painted with plum, raspberry, and peach juice! The colors look so rich and vibrant. I love the little guy and his white hair. I love timing myself. I have started to set up some challenges for myself, as far as assignments/tasks go and I am loving it. It’s always good to set some boundaries, it makes art so much more worthwhile.

    • Why thank you! I really want to do some more painting like this, also, with the time element. Thank you for the praise of the colors. I began using American Journey watercolors about a year ago and have received many comments about colors since that time, Roni. …..and I love your reference to colors from nature!

  21. The tree looks ancient and sturdy and I love the rich colors you used to illustrate this, Leslie. I love that you gave yourself an hour to complete a painting–good job!

    • I need to do another in an hour, Gayle. I liked painting like this. It sort of felt like I was honoring the paint once it hit the wet surface. Thank you. I think you are right about that tree. It is like this guy sat down next to a very old soul.

  22. Love the lighting and bright colors in this painting. It’s interesting sometimes when I shoot a photo, particularly when I am working with nature type subjects, images of your painting techniques would come to my mind for reference. 🙂

    • That is one of the nicest comments I have ever received, Emily. I have always thought the photographer helps us to see what we can not, otherwise. It opens a new dimension in the field of art. I know that what you create with your art has influenced mine. Thank you ten fold, Emily.

  23. When you do find time, you do so beautifully.

  24. Beautiful and so peaceful. The colours are gorgeous

  25. When I saw your painting I said : wowww! what a beautiful painting! The colors and the light are simply wonderful.

    • 🙂 Thank you, Anne. I have not tried to paint something in an hour since this one, but will try again soon. I wonder if the spontaneity helped me to retain that glow or if it came through because I didn’t over think it.

  26. Golly – Autumn really is a riot your side. I love the feeling of calm expectancy you have captured in this painting.

    • Wow. Thank you, Stephen. It is largely because I watch you create these wonderful outdoor paintings in what time you have available to you. Maybe I will even improve? I definitely want to. Thank you for inspiration!

      • Ag you know you are always so uplifting in your responses – you are on such a voyage of discovery in your painting – thanks so much for dropping by my side – phew! what a year it’s been (being)

  27. I can’t believe you painted this in an hour!! It’s wonderful. It makes me feel at peace just looking at it.

    • I have to keep trying to do this, Amber. Thank you for the encouraging comment!

  28. i love the weathered, strong feel and appeal of your tree here, leslie. and the lil man is perfect, the whole scene is an amazing fall reflection and you did it so fast!!! i love it…

    • Thank you JRuth! This could be your son 50 years from now, sitting by the river remembering all the good times you shared with him these years, now. 🙂

  29. Hi Leslie!! I am back and I must say your October painting is just beautiful!! And to think you do that in an hour – great.
    I hope you are well.
    Enjoy the weekend.

    • Glad you let me know you were back, Jan. I have been working hard to keep up with the blog as I am addressing some things that are keeping me offline much of the time, right now. …but yes, I am well.
      I honestly could not believe I could paint something like this in an hour, either. Hope I can do it again.
      Hoping you are all moved in and comfortable in your new home!

  30. I really am thinking that i’m the boy in the painting. It suits me well. Always love the loner type of scenery. 😉 You’ve painted so well within 1 hour Leslie. Love to see more of this ‘loner’ painting from you.

    • There is probably some more loner work in this blog as I tend to try to keep most things simple, Muraied. Thank you so much for the visit and the comment.

  31. I like the leaves and feeling of light in this piece. Happy Thanksgiving. That is what this painting makes me think of.

    • Hi Bill!
      Thank you for this comment. I agree that the colors and light bring Thanksgiving forward.
      I imagine you sitting amongst boxes, at this time, wondering which ones to open first and find a place for in your new home. 🙂 Best wishes to you and your new home!

  32. dear leslie,

    don’t you think that this artwork is so apt for me? i always loved “october” aside from being my birthday month but i am especialy drawn to the emotional quality of this… i may be that boy who sees the world on the other side of the river, such a lovely reverie 🙂

    • YES!!! ..I think this is a portrait of you, Marvin. I can see you, there, writing poetry. 🙂 Thank you for this comment that personalises the image.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] trees I’ve been inspired to write a poem based on another of Leslie Whites paintings called October. She does wonderful work and takes the time to explain the process as well. Thank you Leslie for, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: