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I have been feeling like I have been painting rather tight, lately. The above image was taken from a really abstract photo reference I found on wet canvas. I cropped the image to create a panoramic scene. I like how the light fell on the distant hills and the moisture came up from the surface of the ground in steamy looking fog. The whole scene, in the photo, was darker and cooler throughout and I added my own choices of color to this. I wanted the ground to cool in the foreground and the hills and middle ground to be warmed by the light coming through the clouds.

I am working with a new paper called Huile or Arches Oil Paper and I am really liking that I can paint and lift on the surface of this paper. It allows for me to play with the water and my brush longer than any of the other watercolor papers.


  1. Oh…I’m really *liking* this, Leslie. Very inspiring. Thanks! R.

    • Thank you for the stars around “liking”, Jots. This new paper really helped me to have some fun with this.

  2. Love the sun through the clouds. Great painting.

    • That is one of my favorite things about this piece, also. I liked playing with the contrast of the deep grays and oranges in the clouds against all that bright light. Thank you, Nuno!

  3. Striking!!!

  4. The colors are lovely. Whatever changes you made to the photo worked wonderfully.

  5. What a way to loosen up Leslie, love the way the light is pouring down on the distant hills making the whole composition glow, beautiful!

  6. You’ve managed to capture the sunbeams and they are amazingly done, Leslie. What a beautiful piece this is! Colors are exquisite, the whole scene a joy to behold.

    • Thankyou for that about those sunbeams, Sherry. With this oil paper, you can wait for your washes to dry and lift out color with a wet brush as you soften some of the edges. The same with the mist. Some of the local color remains so it gives that impression what it is crossing over. I love it! The colors were just plain fun to experiment with.

  7. This is brilliant Leslie – love the gorgeous light and deep colors.

    • Thank you, Mary. This was fun to just let go with a little. πŸ™‚

  8. Love the warm against the cool. It gives a strong promise of breaking up the storm. Thanks for the information on the paper. I will have to check it out.

    • This paper can be found at both Cheap Joe’s and Dick Blick. Thankyou for that about the warm against the cool. That is exactly what I was aiming for.

  9. Striking. Really like the clouds and the beams of sunlight on the hills against the darker foreground.

    • Thank you for that Trapper Gale. It has taken me some time to get clouds to read halfway decent in watercolor.

  10. Looser, but so much going on. Marvellous, particularly on the horizon. What colours did you use?

    • Oh my! Tons of different colors which is one reason why it appears there is a lot going on, Outside Authority. halloween orange, blue stone and light washes of aureolin in the sky. Warm hills are mixtures of quinachridone burnt orange, diox violet and that one on the far right that has that gray color in it is the blue stone where it is grayed out and quin burnt orange and diox violet at the base. Foreground hills that are blue/black are mixtures of alizarin, aureolin and prussian blue to go blackish with diox violet thrown in. There’s quin burnt orange breaking up the bottom of some of them. The greens are earthen green. I opt for that quin burnt orange instead of burnt sienna, now, because it works better wet-in-wet with the blues and greens than the burnt sienna. It’s a lot of playing with those colors. Hope that helps. These are colors made by American Journey at Cheap Joe’s. Thank you for this comment!! πŸ™‚

  11. Wow! The color is stunning! The light rays and steamy fog are just magical. Well done! Sounds like you found some great paper, too. πŸ™‚

    • The paper is simply enjoyable. Learned about it in Watercolor Artist magazine. It is the first paper I have run across that allows for lifting as well as being able to withstand many washes, Cindy. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  12. Love this picture!!! I want to go get lost in this painting, makes me think there are many more beautiful things to see behind those mountains:)

    • Wow! Thanks for that! Yes, there must be more behind those hills! πŸ™‚

  13. Wow! I mean, WOW.

    • You just tickle me, Eva. I finally got a little abstract enough? Thank you for this…… πŸ™‚

      • I adore the way this ‘shimmers’!
        tickle tickle
        It catches light working—which is a delightful thing from my vantage point, Leslie.
        I’m going to see how the reblog works…hmm. πŸ™‚
        Btw, do you laugh when tickled?

  14. May I reblog this, Leslie?

  15. Reblogged this on 47whitebuffalo's Blog and commented:
    My friend Leslie White plays with watercolor paints a lot.
    Between her art and her students, she’s forever connecting beautiful dots.
    This is one of her latest better-than-Kodack-clicers-ever-dreamed shots.

  16. Oh now I’m tickled! It’s such a lovely ‘lead’ image for my ‘crows’ post. LOL. Thank you, Leslie, for some beauty today.

    • Thankyou!!!!! You made my day!

      • Hey, you sure BRIGHTENED up mine. πŸ™‚ Got to share the good vibes. Go, DeeDee Ling!

  17. I love the mist in the foreground and the shimmer of light in the middle ground. However my eye is drawn right to those beautiful rays of light over the mountains the that magnificent sky.

    • Thankyou, Carol. I was just so intrigued with what was going on in this photo reference that I had a blast trying to transform it into paint! I have tried to do skies like this in the past and fallen flat on my face. I have also tried to do mists and foggy scenes to no avail. I think this paper offers up so many possibilities that I can’t seem to pull off with others. Maybe one of these days, we will understand what paper and what colors to do the job? It keeps us searching.

  18. missed this post, great atmosphere in there… the sections of light from the sky, just beautiful πŸ™‚ … Hope to practice more watercolors, so tricky!

  19. Leslie, what are the dimensions of this piece?

  20. Lovely – the whites are so bright and the colors are brillant. Is oil paper a bright white and reflective like Yupo?

    • I don’t know if it is as bright as Yupo, Linda, but it is brighter than regular coldpress Arches. When I set a coldpress painting next to one done on this paper, you can tell the difference. Thank you for this comment! πŸ™‚

  21. The panoramic format suits this image. I like the effect the new paper has had on how the painting developed. Watercolor can be such a formal and tight medium.

    • You are so correct. I have that tendency to be way too tight, Al. I just love everything about “trying” with watercolor. I don’t think I will ever stop learning what the water does with pigment. I guess you could say we are both fascinated with water. You at the river and falls and me on the paper with my watercolors. πŸ™‚ Thankyou!

  22. Wow, very beautiful Leslie! So much to see that you’ve done.

    • Thank you, Sherry. Hopped over your way and am so impressed with your work. I like all the texture that you create with your brush in your paintings. You make a scene come to life!

  23. Another great painting, Leslie!
    Love the sun reflects thru the clouds ❀️

  24. Hi Leslie, do you sell prints of your work? This is just beautiful!

    • Thank you, so much, for your inquiry, Louis. I do not have my work printed. I sell the originals. However, this one has just been framed and entered in an upcoming show, soon to be judged. Thank you for your comment.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Windswept Winter Tree | Leslie White on 03 Nov 2013 at 1:50 pm

    […] in format. Instead of cropping an image into a long and narrow format like in the previous post here, I cropped my reference photo to a square. A square will often give an up close and personal look […]

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