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The above painting was a result of an accident. I was just working away at creating another abstract using rice paper and watercolor. I was paying attention to my color choices, values and areas of interest and not trying to come to much of anything of an image. In fact the image I was working on was this one:



I took it outdoors in the sunlight and photographed it. I had already planned to title it “Torque”. It looked twisted and sort of like a landscape in turmoil from wind or avalanche or fire.  So much of this that we hear on the news.When I came back in from doing that, I set it, turned a quarter of the way around, quite by accident. When I turned to look at it, I saw this:



Immediately I saw the figure in it and the guitar, the hooded jacket or sweatshirt he was wearing.  How exciting. The whole time I’m telling myself, “Don’t ruin him.”  I like this idea of working with the elements of composition and arriving at something new. It is as though the mediums and the artist come together and work together, one influencing the other. It is so much more fun!

I put a few finishing touches to it and called this done:




  1. Fabulous!

  2. Fab X two!!

    • Thank you, Jots. Are you painting, yet, after the move? …I keep bopping over to see if you’ve posted.

      • Leslie, Geez I hate to say this but…the deal fell through. I’m now living amongst packed boxes, although did keep out enough art supplies to take with me on my recent trip to UK to celebrate BIG numbered birthdays for/with two close friends. A great holiday! Back now with renewed spirit. Lots of English sea coast sketches to complete…two on table that should be finished by end of week!

        You know…it is always going somewhere. I’ll eventually get to where I’m supposed to be, and when.

        Grinning with patience…..R.

      • Oh my! Hope you find a place soon!

  3. I loved it as soon as I saw it in my email box. Btw, rabbits arrived safely. You should get return mail later this week. 😀

    • I’m so glad the rabbits made it. Thank you for the comment, Yousei. 🙂

  4. These are great compositions with beautiful colors ……reminds me of summer turning into autumn

    • I’ll bet each of us could have found something different in this. Several of my students saw other things. It does look like those colors of summer into fall. Thank you for that!

  5. Beautiful serendipity took a meaning when the artist in you identified the amazing subject that was hidden, loved loved this experiment of yours Leslie!

    • I like that word serendipity. That does describe exactly what was happening with this. I want to do more of this kind of exploring during my break this summer….. Thank you, Padmaja!

  6. Very cool process! I definitely see the guitar (especially with the strings), but I admit I am having a bit of a harder time identifying the fellow in the hooded sweatshirt. However, the color is beautiful and it’s very dynamic!

    • Yep. The guitar and the strings are what I wanted to make most representational, making the viewer search for the rest. I would not have seen the figure had I not viewed it from a distance. I don’t know if it will work with a computer screen, but you could try backing up about 15 feet and see if the image of the guy in the baggy gold hoody and the suggestion of one leg in blues jeans appears for you. He is either sitting down or bent-knees and really getting into what he’s doing, Cindy. 🙂 Thank you!

  7. Wow, Leslie! Never much of a fan of abstract art, I do like when I can see something in it. I don’t see the figure readily but I sure see the guitar and love it!! The colors are awesome too.

    • I have always been interested in what is behind an abstract,; what drives an abstract artist; and what they may be trying to say or see or explore. I used to stare at this one sculpture downtown when I would pass it and wonder “why”, why did the artist create this seemingly confusing network of steel beams and rivets? One day I was sitting nearby it and it was late in the day. I could see the long shadows it cast and the reflected color from its surface in the shadows and it was beautiful, just the dimension and the design of it. I watched the shadows change as the sun got lower in the sky and it transformed my view of the abstract from that moment on. I began to read about design and composition and began to look at other abstract works more closely. What happened for me is that I began to see things. I began to see conversations the artist was having with color and composition and value and design and it made all the difference in my appreciation for the abstract. Thank you for this comment for you have given me permission to share a little of my journey along the way, Sherry.

  8. I find it interesting how your oranges and reds dominate and therefore work even with the blue and cooler background – this is a great colour study

    • Oh you have a good Eye, Stephen. I stuck with the primary color palette of red, yellow, blue for this one! The oranges happened quite by accident as my brush mingled reds and yellows. Thank you, so much!

  9. Very nice painting Leslie. I love the color palette. It’s funny, but when I first look at it, I had a musical impression. That was before your explanation. I would say it is very successful.

    • See? You are so accepting of the colors and what is around you, you could pick that musical movement up sooner than I! How fascinating! Thank you!

  10. Love it Leslie!

  11. I see Greek gods, Roman soldiers, sabres, doric columns, life models, Toulouse lautrec theatre goers, japanese mountains, a bandaged boxer’s fist, a futurism vortex…..
    It’s an heroic, epic painting which should adorn the side of a urn. Excellent and perfect colours!

  12. Love the image and the process

  13. Oh wow this is so neat!

  14. Awesome!

  15. Once again, I missed a post. 😦 I wonder what’s going on with my email? How funny that when you turned it around you saw the guitar player. This too said music to me from the beginning. The reds, yellow and oranges are balanced nicely with the cool blues and the rice paper gives it a great texture. This is a great abstract piece, Leslie.

    • Thank you, Carol. I would like to get a little better at this, so maybe I can explore this summer after classes end. It is so freeing to use composition guidelines and fun to work with the rice paper and return to paint. I never really know what I am going to get until two layers are down.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] next week we began much the same way with layers of pigment and rice papers and searched our compositions for something representational and developed it to portray what we saw. Both of the first exercises were free of any reference […]

  2. […] I began layering and painting to bring that imagery forward. It is one of my favorite ways to work. Here is the one I did last […]

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