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A thank you to for the reference sharing they do. I used two photo references for the above painting.

Took me some time; this one did.  I was bound and determined to get this barn down the way I saw it. The barn and the cows are from two different photos. I thought the barn , by itself, might look too plain or flat or static, somehow.

This is another painting on masa paper (tutorial here). Carol King has completed her first two paintings on masa paper here  and here and doing a fantastic job with it!


  1. Leslie, I think you have an invisible magic wand! I am awestruck at the intricate details. It is a fabulous idea to combine two references to make your own composition. I love the aura of this place, I would love to be standing there like that guy over there!
    Yes, loved Carol’s works, so beautiful!

    • I want to be here, in this place in the painting, also, Padmaja. Sometimes I think we do a better job of painting those things we like and know a little about. Thank you so much. Carol’s doing great with the masa! I love what she’s creating on it.

  2. The perfect juxtaposition of static (barn) and variable (cows) and makes for a peaceful and appealing scene. I love the cows. They speak to the heart. Rather endearing. 🙂 I love it.

    • Thank you, Jamie. Somehow, this particular barn said “cows” to me. 🙂

  3. Wow, that’s stunning the way you painted the separate boards! Wonderful color and light too. And the cows! I love those cows under the shady tree! Just beautiful!

    • Three colors in each of those boards. Took me forever! I guess I just felt like I needed to do that (be tedious) with this one, Cindy. Thank you for your comment of “beautiful”!

  4. Such a serene painting. The barn is wonderful and I love that cow on the right. Seems she has something to say. Maybe she is waiting to be milked in the barn. I truly felt as though I was standing just out of sight in your painting looking at the scene.

    • I think that must be what it is… It is probably milking time. Now, only if her feriends would get up and walk over to the barn with her. 🙂 Thank you, Gretchen.

  5. Wow! This one drew me in and I found myself becoming the figure in the background. Maybe the Tucson heat has done me in and I need a little midwest barn retreat! I love the detail and the color, so warm, and yet, cool. The cows add a relaxed retreat style of energy and a sense of peace prevails with the entire composition.
    Nice job!

    • Thank you, so much, Nancy. While painting this, I thought of Trattles’ old barn and how he let me help him milk his cows. It was like a trip back through time. I think you are right about that sense of peace part. I was always at peace in that old barn of theirs, taking care of my horse and listening to the cows chew their hay and my horse crunch his grain. It is fun to paint those things I love.

  6. I will keep my comment simple Leslie. I love the painting.

    • LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words
    • Posted July 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    oh WoW…I love barns…and this one is a wonderful work of art
    I love the cattle in front….your art always makes me feel like I
    am there looking at the scene unfold …
    Take Care….

    • Wow. Thank you for that. Several people commented that this one made them feel like they were there and that pleases me to no end. I want to be in this one, too, Lady Blue Rose.

  7. So schöne Bilder wünsche dir einen schönen Abend und eine gute Woche Lieber Gruß Gislinde

  8. I am in awe of the barn in particular and that beautiful foreground tree with the brilliant soft light and texture. Did you lift the light between the boards, or leave it open and paint each board (if I may ask)? Amazing result, the variation… and those cows! Cows and clowns, for whatever reasons, make me nervous, as if they know more than they should and they’re just acting innocent… but I think I’d pet your cows and be friends.. there’s a gentle wisdom about these furry friends. You’ve convinced me to get some masa and some good watercolor papers to try, thank you =) Truly beautiful painting, Leslie.

    • I painted each and every board, Scott. Used three colors wet-in-wet with a tiny brush (#2 round). Very tedious but wanted it to look like how it came out. However, and this is the little bit ridiculous part, when I painted the cows I had to go back into each and every board and darken them some. The dark of the cows changed the value of the barn to read too light. 🙂 It took me a long time, but I did perservere. That’s how bad I wanted this scene to look like this. Cows, like this, are usually not too cranky. At least the ones I was around that were handled and well taken care of. Beef cows out on pasture all the time and never handled can be cantankerous, though.

      Oh please do try the masa sometime. I think you would have fun with it as much as you like to explore!
      Thank you!

  9. Another masa paper… I am following the Carol’s paintings, too. My todo list has an entry like ‘to experiment with masa paper.’ Beautiful painting, Leslie!

    • Thank you, Nuno. I know someday you will try this and I’ll bet you will even figure out how to do your wonderful architecture drawings and paintings on masa.

  10. Leslie, I love the texture on the barn. It’s magnificent. The lines of the wood combined with the crinkly texture of the masa paper makes me see both the barn and an abstract painting. The cows staring out at me made me smile. And you know I always love your foliage. We may need to talk about your foliage technique.

    • I had to paint those boards twice, Carol. I painted the barn first. The darks I painted the cows with made the barn look too bleached and light, so back into it and painted every single one again! I must be nuts, but it worked. I agree on that abstract part. I was a little transfixed by what I was getting. I’m sure the original tone of the paper helped with the look I was able to achieve. I do the foliage like pointillism but squiggle my brush some so each stroke looks a little leafy or textured. Sometimes, if it looks too dark, I’ll drip clear drops of water into it as I work the foliage in. I always use two or three colors and allow the edges to intermingle while wet, so I’m constantly dipping in one color to squiggle a few leaves and then another color and so on. But yes…try it! We can compare notes. I learned this from another watercolorists book and no two artists’ pointillism, wet-in-wet looks alike. Your hand will render something just as unique and yet it will appear textured and leafy, also!
      Thank you! …and thank you for painting on masa, too! It is so much fun seeing what you create on this surface.

  11. Leslie, this is beautiful. How are you able to use so many colors on the masa paper and have them come through so brightly? Are you painting on it as though it was a regular sheet of paper?

    • That’s exactly correct, Sherry. As you know, because you’ve tried it, the masa takes the paint a little differently than regular watercolor paper. However, the watercolor paper underneath has those properties. The colors are brighter if you use the more transparent staining colors. That is what I used for the barn and cows and tree trunk. I used opaques on the leaves, grass and foliage. This helps create contrast and balance throughout the painting. Good question, Sherry. Thank you!

  12. wow Leslie the slats of the barn are astonishing! Nice job. You do such beautiful work.

    • Thank you, Meg. Especially for the barn slat comment. I debated having to spend all that time going back in a second time and darklening them. The extra time did pay off in the long run.

  13. This has to be my favorite!!!! The masa gave such wonderful visual texture to your beautiful painting!!! I LOVE this! The barn is amazing and so are the cows!!! Wowza!!!!

  14. for me the Tree draws it all together Leslie, the Barn and the Cows, within the shadows of its great out-flung arms. Wonderful composition, but then, you always deliver something special. xPenx

    • That old tree had me trapped. I could not figure out how any branch that HUGE could still be attached. For all I know, the other end of it may be touching the ground. This is truly a scene I would have liked to see in real life. Thank you, Pen!

  15. That is so beautiful! You are the master of the masa paper!

  16. Such a beautiful painting Leslie. I love how the cows look at the viewer, so peaceful. Yes, I’d love to be there too. 🙂

  17. Good one, Leslie – you and I posted a similar picture on our blogs :), at least in terms of subject matter! Hope you’re well.

  18. I love this painting Leslie. It is magical!

  19. I love the textures on the barn, especially the slanted siding. The cows look very relaxed in the shade.

    • Thank you, so much, Ruth. I thought of you as I drew and painted this. It was like building this barn board by board and I somehow knew how you must feel as you draw and paint your homes and buildings.

  20. I can’t believe what I am seeing! You come up with one stunning painting after another… This is so perfect and beautiful!

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