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The scene, above, is a view of a private pond north of where I live. The owners have been kind enough to allow me to take photos of and paint scenes from their property.

In class, right now, my students are creating paintings in watercolor on different surfaces or incorporating different mediums. We do something different each week. Week before last was the crayon resist. This week we painted something on a surface that we prepared with “gesso juice”. I wrote a post about how to prepare the surface of your paper here. I actually added sand to the gesso when preparing this surface. If you enlarge the above painting, you can see evidence of the sand in that large tree trunk on the left.

This surface is very FREEING. It is not as slippery as Yupo, so it is easier to apply the pigment. You also have the ability to lift color and to play around in the image. I always spray these with acrylic matte fixative when I’m done. Otherwise, a drop of water could do damage.


  1. That’s really lovely, Leslie!

  2. Exquisite is what came to mind and followed by peaceful. Nice painting!

  3. What a quiet secluded spot for relaxing and meditation. Only problem is that the water looks inviting and beautiful, I’d want to go for a refreshing swim! Very lovely painting.

    • It is beautiful sitting and painting there. I can’t see the road because the woods blocks all that. Thank you!

  4. I love this painting πŸ™‚

  5. Beautiful painting. I love the colors particularly that pink color that runs across the painting. I also remember this property. You’ve done beautiful paintings there before. I can see where you sanded and I like the texture it gives to the painting. I feel like this would be the perfect place for a summer afternoon.

    • Thank you for that about the pink color. I hadn’t even noticed that it gave off a pinkish cast to it. I think I need to spend more time on this type of surface. They are quicker to paint but I don’t think I have figured out all the varying possibilities to texture the surface and still be able to use watercolor on it. It really helps me to learn my dark, mid-tone and light pigments since the surface doesn’t allow for multiple layers but forces me to blend color and work from my lights to my darks. Thank you, Carol!

  6. Wonderful, as always Leslie. I love the color control here, and that fat space of cool blue on the bottom.

  7. Love the vibrancy of this painting and the sunlight streaming in. Yours must be great classes!

    • You are so kind! I am so fortunate to enjoy the company of fellow artists who take these classes and set out to explore what I introduce. What really makes it work so well is that everyone willingly shares their paintings and experiences and often bring new ideas to class for us to try. Thank you, so much!

  8. Beautiful painting. As always, I love the finish with the “gesso juice”!

    • Thank you Nuno! I believe it was you who shared my Empire State Building on your blog. That was the first time I had tried this. Thank you for that, too!

  9. What beautiful and rich color in this piece!! Love the water too. I find myself studying how other artists manage to make a forested area look so full. I haven’t landed on the secret yet.

    • You are not alone on that forest idea. It is a lot of fiddling. No easy fix, for sure, Sherry. Thank you!

  10. Beautifully serene, terrific color and style. The water is wonderfully done!

  11. Lovely Leslie –

  12. Very intricate Leslie, so glad you were allowed to work on this beuatiful pond!

  13. Nice and peaceful just like summer can present. The grove of trees in the center pull me into your painting and makes a mystery.

    • Thank you for that, Gretchen. Their woods are neat looking, like they go on forever, but really not. You just can’t see the finish line. Dense comes to mind, and there are neat clumps of greenery here and there. Their woods always appear to be filled with warm colors. I think that makes things appear so much more inviting unless it is a scorching hot day! Ha!.

  14. So good to see you still unfolding your wonderful gifts here… Hugs and love…

  15. Lovely summer colors. I like the purple along the shoreline.

  16. Ha! Gesso Juice and Sand – (sounds like a rock band) – Leslie you are so experimental and released

    • Wow! Hope someone reads this that needs a band name! Ha! I like the sound of that! Kind of Reggae sounding, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ Experimental I am. Can’t seem to just stick with one thing forever and ever. I guess the one constant is the watercolor, though. I have tried other mediums and I just keep running back to watercolors and all the things I can use with them. Thank you, Stephen!

  17. lovely colours and textures!

    • Hi Nicola. I am so sorry I confused you with another blogger, also named Nicola. Thank you for this comment!

    • Inese Poga Art Gallery
    • Posted June 12, 2014 at 11:58 am
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    • Reply

    Your experiments with colors and surfaces always result in great paintings! Just beautiful!

  18. Love the colours in this one and it sound like great joy to be part of your class thanks for sharing the ideas.

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