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The above painting began as an abstract. I applied alternating color washes and torn pieces of rice papers, allowing each layer to dry. After each layer dried, I rotated my board and looked for something realistic in the patterns that were created by the washes and papers. When I located the whale, 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 year.


The above painting began with a detailed drawing of the Bateleur Eagle but took several layers of watercolor and rice papers to bring the image to completion. The head feathers, face and yellow beak are watercolor. The wing and back feathers are torn pieces of rice paper with watercolor painted into them. I thank wet canvas for the reference image for this collage painting.


I love painting “Little People” !


  1. You get some stunning images and intricate detail from this method. Seems very rewarding

    • Thank you, Outsideauthority. I really like exploring shapes and color with the abstract marks and papers.

  2. Beautiful work!

  3. Hi Leslie, I love how you found the whale while painting your abstract with color washes and torn papers. The whale is quite distinct. I love the he looks like he is coming up through waves and seaweed. The eagle has beautiful layers of feathers with both paint and paper. And who doesn’t love little people. 🙂

    • Oh thank you for seeing the same thing I saw with the whale, Carol. Makes me feel better to hear you relate the greens to seaweed, etc; which is why I chose to add that color to the water.

  4. it’s very clear to see from the completed paintings, just how much you enjoy working this way – lovely paintings – all three of them. I see you used a smidgen of gold here and there in the ‘whale’ image, which really adds something special.

    • That gold is actually in the rice paper pieces I chose for certain areas, June. It is so much fun finding ways to use both the paint and papers to bring forward an image. Thank you!

  5. AWEsome!

  6. So much texture in these paintings. I especially like the eagle head. I bet he looks quite dimensional with the extra paper.

    • Yes, he does look dimensional, Ruth. They kind of make you want to touch them also. Thank you for this comment.

  7. Amazing! Wow, those feathers on the eagle are astounding! Beautiful color and movement in the whale piece. Beautiful set of paintings!

    • Thank you, so much, Cindy! This is when I can explore, like you, coming up with something a little different.

  8. Hello Les, just stopped by to see what you’ve been creating, as usual, you never disappoint, you’re a marvel with a brush. Beautiful amazing work.

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