Skip navigation


I have been raking leaves. I was thankful that we have had some mild and warm days to do this task. I believe the trees in my painting may be old cottonwoods. I liked the bright light.

I added the cows.

I chose to use a piece of watercolor paper that I had previously grunged as I described in this post.


I have also been working on this river scene. This is Elegant Writer and watercolor. The pileated woodpecker was added.

I have noticed that many of my landscapes have been so empty. I am experimenting with adding wildlife and little people to them.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the reference photos for these paintings.


  1. Your pasture scene with the cow and the tree leaves in full colors of fall is very nice. Reminds me of scenes I have seen during this year’s changing of seasons.

    • I was told by a landscaper that a cottonwood is a “junk ” tree. Perhaps, with what he does for a living, he can be at liberty to say that as he does not plant them in people’s yards. I think they are quite beautiful. They are so beautiful when viewed in a clump. Some of them have such a neat abstract collection of branches winding here and there.
      Thank you for this comment!

      • The cottonwood is good for shade, wind breaker, landscape settings and birds that nest in the branches. They aren’t good for burning but maybe offer nutrients to the ground after decomposing.

      • Thank you for adding these thoughts about the cottonwoods. I do not view them as junk and was amazed by his statement. You are so wise about nature. I love visiting your site.

  2. What patience to do all these golden leaves! they are gorgeous! But I am so very drawn to your winter scene: the colors, the fluidity, the peacefulness…

    • Ha! It was with reckless abandon that I attacked all those leaves, Isabelle. πŸ™‚ I do so love clumps of color and value that I can do that with. Getting the cows to look somewhat believable was quite a task as my reference photos were rather large and I needed to apply “little people” style of painting to them. The river scene drew me in when I saw all the pattern to it. What a stark reminder of floods and things past. I visit a very creative site that deals with things washed up along a riverbank here: Thank you for this comment!

  3. As always Leslie I have enjoyed visiting your blog. Not only lovely to look at but educational as well. πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful and serene. Love the pileated, we have them in the woods. Very interesting birds!

    • Thank you Caroline! When my parents lived in a woodsy area north of Brown County, they were visited by pileated. You can hear the sound of their pecking echoing for miles!

  5. OK Leslie…I’ve stalled long enough this gray, wet Monday morning now afternoon. To the watercolour on my table.
    Ready. Set. Go…

    • πŸ™‚ I know you will paint when the time is right, Jots. Thank you!

  6. Two contrasting beauties, each has its own energy. Great compositions as well, enjoyed much Leslie!

    • Thank you, Padmaja. They are contrasting in several ways, aren’t they? Thank you for that.

  7. No wonder you’ve been raking so much, those trees have boatloads of leaves on them! I can’t believe anyone would call these beautiful trees “junk”. And I love your cow looking at the viewer and the other one resting.

    Your river scene is amazing. It works so well with the elegant writer. You’ve gotten beautiful colors and shadows on the trees. And that one red leaf! Gorgeous.

    • I had a couple trees full of leaves, yes, and then the neighbors across the street live in the right spot. The wind brings them on over to my yard to rake. πŸ™‚ I like that one cow looking at the viewer. She cracks me up. She was in a photo reference on wet canvas and i have used her before here:
      I have begun to save references of cows, horses, dogs, people, etc to paint into my landscapes like “little people”.

      That brings me to the part of your comment that makes me chuckle. I hid that pileated woodpecker pretty good, didn’t I? That red shape does look like one little leaf πŸ™‚

      • Ah, I thought I recognized that cow. As far as a woodpecker/leaf…..I’m from the city. What do I know. πŸ™‚

  8. Not sure why my comment has disappeared….will try again.

    These two paintings are so very different, but equally beautiful – youre trees are always wonderful and it’s obvious to anyone that a great deal of thought and work went into both. The shadows are very well observed and I LOVE the cows and red woodpecker. You’re really taking the elegant marker to ever more appealing extremes – they’ll have to start paying you a percentage of their sales soon.

    • Thank you for that about trees. Many years ago, we were taught to draw them in a drawing class we took. She talked about how each one is just another interesting bouquet, prior to that class, I had trouble rendering them. It is totally pleasing painting trees with watercolor. But the time spent with graphite renderings may have helped some.
      One of my students suggested that the elegant writer makes a great tool for quick black and white studies for the watercolor artist to use in the field. I like the different look of it when paired with watercolor. Thank you, June!

  9. Your fall painting is imbued with the qualities of a warm autumn day…the scent of munching resting cows. Nice now that snow has fallen and the temp is below freezing.

    • You received the snow, first, Gretchen. We had four inches week end before last and it came down fast and very wet and heavy. Since then? It warmed up again! It is going to be 50 degrees tomorrow, they say! Thank you for this comment!

  10. Stunning trees.

  11. I’m loving the warmer weather too. I hope you didn’t get too much snow over the weekend. We just got flurries. Love the fall colors and the cow. I didn’t see the pileated woodpecker at first, but he adds a surprising little pop of color, doesn’t he.

    • We had 4 inches that week end, Ruth. Since then? Just rain and snow and really warm for this time of year up here. Thank you for that about the pop of color. That is what I was trying to do. A little surprise for those who study a painting. πŸ™‚

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] trees that have a similar maligned reputation, please check out Leslie’s lovely painting of a cottonwood tree changing its foliage. Β It’s […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: