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This week I returned to painting on masa paper. I found a wonderful reference photo of this old tree on wet canvas and it drew me in to want to try it.

Those of you, who have followed my posts, know that this is my favorite watercolor surface. I have a beginning tutorial hereΒ if you are interested in trying this yourself. I have posted multiple masa paper posts and you can view them by clicking the tag called masa paper under the title of this post. I paint and lift and paint and lift on this surface. I work until I like what appears. There is waiting time in between because the pigment soaks through the toned masa paperΒ to the coldpress watercolor paper I have adhered it to.

I welcome any questions you may have in the comment section below and will answer them as best I can.



  1. BRILLIANT, Briliant! I was missing your masa works!You chose a magnificent subject and brought it out live Leslie!

    • Me too, Padmaja; missing working on masa. I think it is my tendency toward edginess in my watercolors that makes this paper my best friend. It helps to break that due to the textured surface. I also like the toned surface that just continues to suggest possibilities. Thankyou for this comment! πŸ™‚

  2. Stunning!

  3. This is absolutely gorgeous, Leslie!!!

    • Thankyou, Beth! πŸ™‚ I remember the wonderful paintings on masa that you did!

  4. Very cool tree!

    • Thankyou, so much, Caroline! πŸ™‚ Wouldn’t this be a cool tree to look at at the edge of your woods?

        • Carol cordell
        • Posted March 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm
        • Permalink

        It would! It reminds me of the gnarly old tree out front!

  5. Want to sit under this tree and read!

    • That one huge branch makes a nice nook to sit in and do that, Nancy. Me too! πŸ™‚ Thankyou!

  6. fabulous!

    • LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words
    • Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    This is really gorgeous…it is as if you used bark …
    okay I have to check out masa paper….I know I read it some time ago
    This is so beautiful Leslie, Thank you for sharing your art and your work techniques
    John over at StoryDoors shares so much too…that is very kind of y’all…
    Take Care…You Matter…

    • Masa paper is a joy. Takes time to prepare and adhere it to a surface, but well worth the time spent. Thankyou Lady Blue Rose! πŸ™‚

  7. Another beautiful piece, Leslie. I do have a couple of questions… What do you use to adhere the masa to the paper beneath it? Are you paint just as you would a watercolor, or are you pouring color? If pouring (my one attempt on masa, I used a squirt bottle and it helped me tremendously; I could at least control direction a bit), how do you keep your layered colors so clean and true? I know we spoke of wax resist before but I just haven’t gotten around to giving it a whirl!

    • Hi Sherry,
      Everything you would need to know can be found in this post: and this one: They will answer your questions. I do not pour on this surface. I paint on this surface like I paint on coldpress paper. However, I can lift a little and lighten areas and add another color. I wait for my first applications to dry and then lift and enhance with another color. I like to take advantage of the creases and folds that are left behind from the gluing process and may darken some of them. There is a point, with these, that I divorce myself from the reference image and work with what I have in the painting. My layered colors are fairly clean because I choose colors that work fairly well together. I think a tree trunk is not brown but variations of other colors and use them. There is violet in the background breanches of this piece and there is orange and yellow and burnt umber in that warm foreground trunk and branches. There is violet and blue on the shadows. I don’t just think in brown and green for a tree. I hope that helps. Thankyou for your questions and your interest, Sherry! πŸ™‚

  8. Ahhhhhh. I do love your masa paintings and this one is especially beautiful. The old tree lends itself to the Masa paper’s wrinkles.

    • Oh yes! I thought “masa!” right off the bat when I saw the reference for this. I love trees in masa. Thankyou, Carol! I know you will give this masa some time again, too. You did a great job on yours! πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful Leslie. Your style is perfect for this scene, the strength and power of the tree – not to mention texture is fantastic.

    • Thankyou, Mary. Yep. There is something about masa that just works. It’s my favorite toy, I think. πŸ™‚

  10. I do so love Trees, Leslie, and this one, so old and bent as if seeking a better way to grow, then it changed it’s mind and continued on a different route. Fantasy I know, but the whole image is so full of life and character, which you’ve captured magnificently. I bow to a master (mistress? πŸ˜‰ ) of Masa. xPenx

    • I think you are right about this tree changing its mind. It invites fantasy! Thankyou, Pen. πŸ™‚

  11. Wonderful! I always enjoy seeing your work on masa paper and thank you for sharing especially the tutorials. Loving the gnarly tree.

  12. Fabulous painting! You really put this Masa paper to good use! I love this tree! What personality!

  13. I love the texture of the masa paper paintings. It seems to enhance landscapes wonderfully. This old tree is lovely.

    • I love this masa paper and don’t even mind the extra time I have to spend preparing the surface, Ruth. The painting usually takes more time, also, but the results are usually so satisfying that it has become my favorite surface. Thankyou!

  14. Fantastic! Gorgeous color and wow, the effect of all those tiny leaves!

  15. That is sweet!

  16. This is a great piece Leslie. It is visual fly paper. My eyes are glued to it. Love the masa style.

  17. Brilliant work,Leslie !
    Love it πŸ˜ƒβ€οΈ

  18. This is so beautiful! You have obviously mastered this technique and now you have found a worthy subject and done it great justice. Great stuff

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