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Quite a while ago,  a  friend of mine gave me a picture she had taken of a mutual friend and asked if I would like to see what I could do with it.  It has sat in my collection of photo references for over a year.   I  wanted to try a figure on the masa paper and the above is what I came up with. I painted the figure, first, and then went in search of ideas. The interesting thought I had was that notes probably came from many sources. The background could have been a city or an event but I wanted it to portray something a little more far-reaching and, perhaps, more soulful and contemplative.   I placed him in nature and greeting a new day.

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59 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, Leslie, this is gorgeous!! I love how you put him in peaceful surroundings. I can’t help but want to pull his pants up, so it’s true to life! 😀

    • Ha! …and I think I accentuated the droopy pants. So contemporary, huh? 🙂 Thank you, Beth. I think if I was 30 years younger I would have had him staring at a planet-filled sky, a big city at night, or a crowd of people at a concert. I’m showing my age.

  2. This is lovely, I love how the folds of the paper blends into the folds of the pants. The background is perfect 🙂 Yep that’s how we wear pants these days. Your water coloring techniques are marvelous.

    • That’s what I liked, too! The folds of the paper made the figure’s folds in his clothes look more believable. Ha! I really did accentuate the bagginess of the pants. Thank you, Alonso! 🙂

        • Ras Alonso
        • Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm
        • Permalink

        Your welcome 🙂

  3. I think the backgrounds really good for it, he could be indoors imaginging it, or not. I like that it could be either.

    • I like that thought about imagining himself outdoors. Sometimes I don’t go far enough with my thoughts and feelings. Thank you, Edgeworth.

  4. Soulful and contemplative it is,Leslie. I have finally succumbed to masa. I am eagerly waiting for my order to arrive. I can’t wait to try watercolors with it. Thanks to your encyclopedic info on masa, I can come here for research and update my knowledge on masa.

    • Oh good! Another to try the masa. Just paint on it as you normally would as you begin and allow layers to dry. You can lift and mix right on the paper due to the acrylic matte medium you used for the glue. It takes a little longer than a regular watercolor but well worth it, Raji. Thank you for the visit and the comment.

  5. Beautiful, Leslie. I can imagine this young man is finding inspiration for a new song here. Standing, listening, dreaming, creating.

    • That is what I saw in it, Hannekekoop. Just think how many backgrounds we could play with just with this one figure. Thank you!

  6. Beautiful work, Leslie. Good call to use the nature background. LOL… I couldn’t help noticing the young man standing in the nature thinking about life with his pants hanging down. 🙂

    • A chuckle is good for the soul. Something to break the silence of the peaceful moment, right? 🙂 Thank you, Emily!

  7. Those blue jeans look like real material. His stance certainly does lend itself to a more serene moment. What a great job, Leslie.

    • Thank you, Amy. I worked on the blue jeans and the shirt for quite a time, lifting out where it didn’t look quite right. I thought of your nature walks when I decided upon the background for this. Really!

  8. I am loving these works of yours Leslie and am so darned glad I found your blog! This one is so very arresting, so beautiful. You have me wanting to work on this type of paper too!

    • Click on that tag, above, that says masa paper. It will bring up what I have done on masa. Here is the first post where I describe the process of toning the paper and glueing it down : https://lesliepaints.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/masa-paper-step-by-step-and-clyde/ If you click on the tag for masa paper, above, it will take you to the other posts I’ve done on masa. I experimented with some other things with it in some of them. That may help if you decide to try it.. Thank you for this comment because that is what I want to do with my blog; share and then get ideas from all of you! I am enjoying your blog, also!

  9. Its lovely. This is awesome.

  10. I am so happy you placed him in such beautiful surroundings. The light is magical. I would like to be there next to him 🙂

    • I would guess that you would want to be out there with him, the nature person that you are, Camilla. Thank you!

  11. Warm colors and surroundings, I love the guitar splendid 😀

  12. I love how masa crinkles work with figure. I see added dimension and depth. I think it takes the image onto a higher level.

    • You know, the other day I made some thankyou cards on my printer from images of my masa paper paintings and the crinkles show up really well. Some of them even look as though the card stock might be crinkled. I love this paper as a support. Thank you, Alex.

  13. The background work takes the figure in to a new dimension.. I can feel the music he is going to play soon that is bound to be impacted by where he stands right now.. it is an interesting piece Leslie, enjoyed it so much!

    • What I really like about these, Padmaja, is that they already have some color down, due to the toning. When I paint, I paint right over that so the original glow of colors effect the final outcome, too! I like how the sunlight runs through him on his left arm and chest. Thank you, Padmaja!

  14. I love the masa effect. You do this so well.

  15. You could not have made a better choice with the background. You have done a wonderful job on the person…Love the painting.

    I’ve been a bit bombarded with life, so I’ve been a bit behind on my comment lately, Leslie.

    • Tell me about being behind. What is it three days after you posted this comment and I’m finally getting around to answering you back? Thank you about the background. I stewed for awhile over that decision.

  16. This is very beautiful! I like how the masa paper works so well with his jeans. I like how he is looking towards that beautiful light which reminds me of a sunrise. And I like how the viewer is looking at him from behind. Waiting for him to make a move towards the lightness in the distance.

    • For once, I hope I took Frank’s advice and painted less for more, Carol. I stopped once the highlights on the jeans showed up and I was able to get the wrinkles in the shirt at least believable. The masa paper is a great help. It takes something simple and gives it a little something extra. I like your comment about moving toward the lightness. Thank you!

  17. Beautiful, I particularly like the colours and tonalities of it. It’s very gentle yet well defined. 🙂

    • Thank you, Val. I guess I was looking for something more gentle than a bustling metropolis. Sometimes I think it’s just the mood an artist might be in, don’t you? Another day and with rock music playing in the background, I may have opted for something a little more loud. 🙂 Maybe it’s my age showing through.

  18. Love that guitar man! I like that he’s in nature too…beautiful…that masa paper is magical stuff!

    • The masa carries me, Gayle. I like working on it for that reason. Thank you!

  19. Like the painting and the title. Excellent choice after painting figure first.

    • Thank you, Bill. Usually, when I paint the figure first, the background gets screwed up and doesn’t meld at all. I am so accustomed to working throughout a painting and carrying color theough everywhere. Perhaps it works better on the masa because the paper is already toned. I’ll have to think on that one, some, and try it again. 🙂

  20. dear leslie,

    i like the way you paint this, youthfully gripping. i am trying to figure out why the man doesn’t want to face the canvas, however, i could understand that the highlight is guitar. how humbling to see to put a special spotlight on the musical instrument 🙂 nice artwork 🙂

    • Thank you, Hames. I thought the same thing when I sat with my friend’s reference photo. Had to highlight the guitar since the figure’s back was turned. 🙂

  21. i’m lovin’ the blues and the lines here…they work so well with the tree branches and the natural wrinkle of jeans…

    • Maybe he is gathering the notes for just that, JRuth, a blues song. Thank you for that thought and this comment! I like the comparison of the wrinkles with the tree branches, too! Sometimes our viewers see more than the artist. Your words are a gift, here.

  22. As you probably know, I’m a guitar player. So this painting is really special to me. It’s like a birthday present.lol And it’s perfect ’cause mine is in a week.
    Anyway, really inspiring painting, Leslie!!!
    Cha xx

  23. This one is brilliant Leslie, but then again
    all of your fine offerings are high calibre 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

  24. A clever juxtaposition, the figure and background ask a question. The technique is wonderful.

    • Thank you for pointing that out, Keith; the idea of the question. I had not thought of that and I like that “take” on it very much.

  25. Nice piece Leslie…makes me wish I could bring an electric guitar with me on one of my nature walks and plug into the energy I feel when I’m outside! Hope all is well in your corner of Indiana?

    • You are so right! this could be you on a river venture! Thank you, Al! Thank you for wishing me well.

  26. I’m also liking the creases in the paper. Great painting and comfortable jeans too! 🙂

  27. First thing I felt was the ease of the whole composition. – Boy, branches, guitar, – all one. The second thing I noticed, – The light he faces comes through and shines out the back of his guitar. That’s cool. I like art that takes me where it is – and this one does.

  28. An absolute delight to have chanced upon this painting. Totally love the shadow and light treatment — a composition that is a total catharsis, amazing colours. Wow – you are very talented! Cheers…

  29. Hi Leslie;

    I liked it so I wrote this. I borrowed guitarman to accompany it cause it fit so nice.

    will there be music?

    will the music carry lyrics
    the flowing poetry of souls
    or will cacophony prevail

    will it be silence
    that tells us
    our hearts
    beat no more

    is there music in the universe
    can it be heard
    will we understand
    the words

    will there be a brush
    canvas and pigment
    for the artists soul

    a quill and ink
    for those who tell
    the tale of forevermore

    those who love oratory
    the great speeches
    that move heaven and earth
    will they be heard

    what will be
    the artist and dreamers fate
    on the next step
    of this journey we take

    will it be a place
    logic and reason rules
    to witness
    music and arts end

    will the love of tune
    lyrics, brush and words
    inspire the soul
    to feel love
    forevermore

    As i think
    about the next phase
    of my journey
    i wonder
    will there be music

    • Oh Ichabod! This is beautiful. I have written this poem down and am carrying it with me. I love that it has to do with our journey! You are special! Thank you!


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