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Baha'i Temple


The assignment for my Creative Challenge class was to Paint an edifice.  I chose to work from a reference I had taken years ago of the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, Illinois. I lost the white when I painted the shadows and resorted to using white. I don’t like to do that but it surely gives weight to this building. My building appears much older and aged than the glorious real Baha’i Temple.  But!!!!! I learned I will need to be more delicate and light with my washes on white buildings and maybe make it less of a challenge.


  1. I agree, the added white really makes the building pop out. I like it.

    • Thank you, so much, about the white! I will try to use anything to rescue my explorations on paper.

  2. This looks majestic Leslie, I think losing the white in a way added density that is appropriate for the architecture.

    • That means a lot coming from you, Padmaja. I never thought about the density. Thank you!

  3. Really interesting image and love the sky – your work could never be boring. Your great use of white excites me – made me determined to use it myself in future.

    • I just read your post about just letting go and painting. I think that is what happened, here. I throw nothing away. I figure there is something to be learned with every thing that does not go just my way. The white was the rescue this time. Sometimes the rescues are not so noticeable. 🙂 Thank you June!

  4. This beautiful and looks pop off the paper! ❤️
    Love the sky as well❤️❤️❤️

  5. I sometimes paint making a ‘mistake,’ but I always learn something. Never a loss just an opportunity to broaden my understanding. Of course I know that you experience this also. And the temple is lovely. One would never think it a mistake.😊

    • Thank you, so much, Gretchen. I so agree with you about learning something every time we experience what we think is a mistake. The other thought that comes to mind is that idea of happy accidents. Sometimes we learn to “see” differently and the mistake becomes not so much of a mistake, after all.

  6. How beautiful is this Leslie!

  7. This building looks so solid – the white does make it. It is so difficult to paint something that you know is solid and not paint it. And I like the trees!

    • Thank you for this comment, designsweet. I was playing around with some lifting in those trees to see if I could soften edges and make it look like a mist or fog lifting.

  8. I live not too far from Wilmette but I don’t know the building. It is spectacular! The white and different rust tones, with the blue, is so great! Beautiful architectural details and contrast with the foreground!

    • Oh my goodness. It is closer to the lake, not downtown. It is huge and glows white, much whiter than I was able to capture here. It would be well worth your jaunt to try and find it, Cindy. It is huge and about as beautiful as any building can be. Thank you for this comment!

  9. I like the depth and the shading that adding the whites over the other colors give.

    • See why I admire your architecture? Whenever I set out to do this, I think of your wonderfully intricate house portraits. Thank you, Ruth!

  10. this is beautiful!! it’s so hard to portray a white surface — great work !

    • Thank you, so much. Maybe I will try this again in the future. Some day I would like to get the white the way I see it in my mind’s eye. Ha! Just viewed your huge wave painting. Wow!

  11. Fantastic! What play with shadows…

    • Inese Poga Art Gallery
    • Posted March 22, 2015 at 1:29 am
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    • Reply

    I’m not anymore worried about loosing white or not, and I can add whatever is closer at that moment: gouache or acrylic, or wash around with chinese white. I don’t use masking fluid or frisket, I simply never have them and during classes we don’t have time for that, so I’m taking it easy. Some artists use in painting anything starting with fluid acrylics and ending with white gouache, and call this all simply watercolor. I also was very hesitant at first, but later I thought, if that helps, why not?
    Your building looks beautiful and very clean, it is a great painting. It doesn’t look like any kind of challenge at all. It makes impression you mastered this scene with ease and gracefully.

    • Thank you, Inese. I am also a believer in using anything to create what we see. This one, though, I really wanted to try and make glisten and it was just not going to happen. What I do like is that solidness and age and weight that the white did bring to this building. Oh yes, watercolors are considered watermedia today. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  12. Hi Leslie, I like this painting very much. I like the weight of the building and I, too, think it’s ok to use whatever works. This is a beautiful building. Thanks for the link. I think you’ve done it justice.

    • Thank you, Carol. I must be in a bit more critical phase right now. I could not divorce myself from the picture I had in my mind’s eye. I need to practice what I preach, methinks. 🙂

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