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The above two paintings were created by using a gouache resist technique that I teach in my watercolor plus class. If you would like to try one, I have a tutorial on this technique here.

Both paintings were created with the use of one photo reference from wet canvas. It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of variation that can occur during multiple repeats of the same reference by the same artist. I think that is one of the reasons I am so drawn to fine art painting. What was the artist thinking? What was the artist trying to share? What was the artist seeing? Try as I might, I can not make a second painting of the same subject look just like the first one. Things change. I either see new things in the reference material or feel differently the second time through.

Every once in awhile I will give my students the same reference to work from and  they all look so different! Some choose to paint only a portion of the reference.  Their color choices always vary.  Their drawing styles and techniques are different.

For me?  Reading a painting is just like reading a book. There is always a hidden story about their creator in them. Creativity is a wonderful thing!


  1. Oh, my. What a treat. They are both very good for different reasons. I am drawn to the top one, but like the pale wine color at the bottom of the second one. It contrasts well with the dog. The detail on the dog, however, I like better in the top one for some reason I cannot define.


    • Ha! I think that top one’s eyes look more engaged with the viewer, don’t you? Looks like he’s ready to follow you anywhere in a spit spot. Something happened with the resist in the second one around the eye on the left, the dog’s right eye. I think it made that one look a little sleepier and relaxed into his environment and content to stay where he is. I don’t know….. I did the second one because I was pushing the envelope for white. The top one looks more like it might be a black dog. Interesting, methinks.
      Thank you, Kate!


    • No. Not Tucker. The bottom one resembles him in the nose but the hair is too straight. I’d say, the bottom one looks like a cross between Tuck and Payton. Ha! Thank you for that about my thoughts this post. Never at a loss for a reference, right?

  3. Both look equally beautiful, the technique suits the subject so well.

    • You say something interesting about the technique, Padmaja. I wanted to see how well this resist with ink would work with a subject that was predominantly white. Ha! To me, the first one could be a black dog and the second one could be a white dog. Thank you!

  4. They both look very lifelike and beautiful. Blessings to you, Leslie…

  5. I guess it wouldn’t be art if you always were able to draw the subject the same each time. I like the one on the bottom; the eyes are so appealing.

    • I think you are right. I remember seeing that ” 60 Minute ” clip a while back about the artist that copied famous works so well that it was hard to tell they were frauds. That amazes me…… So much to learn about the world of art and creating. Thank you!

  6. What an adorable face! I think I prefer the second one – looks much fluffier! The warmer color, too. But both are terrific!

  7. You know, you just may have given me the oomph I need to repeat a subject in painting. I’ve always lost interest after one go through but I love your thoughts on it. Love both of these pieces but that first posted painting is my favorite of the two! He is adorable!!

    • Thank you, so much, for this comment. It means a lot when a fellow artist says they may have looked at something differently because of something I’ve said or done.

  8. Amazing!!

  9. Both are beautiful. I like what you said about painting the same thing twice and having it come out the same. You can’t do it. Each painting reflects the artist with a different mood, feeling or what the artist’s tools were doing (at the artist’s hand, of course.) I’m babbling…but you know what I mean.

    • You are not babbling. I hoped many of my visitors would respond to this thought. I have a friend who frequently paints from the same reference. She is attracted to its many possibilities. It is not so much that she is trying to paint it better, but marveling at what all is there and bringing that idea to a piece of paper. It is a photo of a bridge in Central Park that she took years ago and there is a lone figure on the bridge and the light captures that figure just so. The dark passages of shadow to one side is kind of blurry and the colors are not that distinct and what she does is fantastic while bringing that image forward over and over again. She also likes painting sunflowers over and over again and I marvel at each and every one of them being different. My little experiment, above, does not begin to touch the multiple ways I could create with that one reference. Thank you for responding to my thought about this. I remember your painting of a view from your friend’s apartment window and then seeing it again with a cat looking out at the scene. Wow! From this: and on to this: and back again to a photo here:

      • I guess I do like to paint things more than once. It’s funny you referenced those particular blog posts….I just thought today (after I trashed my city-scape) that I want to try painting the scene with the plants and the view again.

        I like that your friend works from the same photo over and over. It may be an interesting project.

  10. Wonderful painting and love the little dog. I wonder if what you say about the seeing of an artist is available to one who does not paint? Never thought about it before.

    • Oh my goodness. I’m sitting here thinking about what you said you wonder. Yes; …and I think there have been books written about seeing a situation or a task differently, approaching something differently. I have to admit that I look at many of these books as self help and that it takes energy to bend my will to the task of changing; but you introduce something new, here, Gretchen, because the artist shifts and their seeing changes and they are acting as a response to what they see rather than trying to mold themselves to a preconceived notion of what is right. I know my feelings change the kind of day I have and can taint some situations I find myself in. I know a traumatic situation can force us to view life differently. Very interesting comment and thank you for that; the idea of seeing freely and creatively in all that we do.

  11. I like them both and even I would try hard I could not do the same again.. whats the point we live and everything change every time.. that is the beauty of it all in my eyes. beside we develope and the more we do the better we do it. Our vision on what we do change and develop also. i often read about artists that paint the same scene time after time…never the same. I love to see a change as it fresh and show creativity, that is the reason i find painting so expressive and that is why I enjoy it so much, nothing stand still.

    • I like what you said about nothing standing still, Doron. Perfect way of seeing art. Thank you for this comment!

      • Pleasure it is something I noticed specially when I drive around I see the world in beautiful true colours thanks to art but at times you can’t even stop to take a picture of something you just saw and I know tomorrow it will be so different.. But perhaps we are human and can’t take it all. Thank goodness we have our memories for ourself but it is always nicer if it something we can share.

  12. Both are lovely although I’m drawn to the 2nd one particularly-I think it’s the whiter fluffier fur and the warm dusty pink of the foreground. The 1st is almost like a negative if that makes sense? . What an interesting post Leslie-I love how you make me think about things in a different way and yes it is always fascinating to see how different artists each have their own interpretative of the same subject.

    • Yes. Negative or not maltese and a little black mix breed dog? Thank you for that comment about about seeing things a different way, Nic.

  13. The resist work seems a little like thinking backwards, almost like for a linocut. I like the dark effect that the inks give. I can’t decide which I like better. One time I look I like the top better and the next time I like the bottom better. That’s a good thing, I think.

    • I think it is a lot like a linocut, Ruth. With this resist, though, the artist has a bit more control of the imagery, more like drawing offers the artist. I like your linocuts! Thank you!

      • I like the extra control part/ I may have to try this.

      • Yes, because you are using a brush to paint everything you do not want the black ink to settle on, so it is rather like reverse drawing. You are drawing the white areas. I just think a brush gives you more control than whatever the tool is you use to cut linocuts. Have fun!

  14. And I thought painting a white dog was impossible!! You did a great job! What fun expression.

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