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Sometimes one scene can provide inspiration for multiple paintings.

Sometimes it takes multiple tries until what you have on paper feels right.

These 4 watercolours are from the same photograph that was taken in the Languedoc region of France several years ago.

This one was painted about a year ago and most resembles the photograph.

Trying to be looser,  this one was painted 2 weeks ago.

This one was painted last week.

I finished  this one yesterday.

I like something about each one but I think I’ll have to do it again because none are quite “there ” yet.

With this photograph it will take multiple attempts to get it the way I want.  However, I can now see at least  two different directions I could go in and so maybe it will turn out that the photograph will be the inspiration of multiple paintings.

The Open Road

I bought some watercolour books recently and have been using the wet in wet techniques in them to try and loosen up my painting.  In this painting from a picture I took in France the background is totally different from that in the photograph.

watercolour landscape

The Open Road

I’m not sure where the photograph was taken. It could be from the day we got lost.  We knew we were somewhere in Central France and headed in the right direction.  We figured out where we were once we hit the Loire River, which fortunately was where we wanted to be.

Sun Drenched French Countyside

Many years ago I went to France with my aunt.  We sketched our way across the south of France and then up to Anger where my aunt was attending a conference.  It was a great trip.  I have many photographic slides and sketches from that trip.  I have converted many of the slides to digital format which makes it easier to find images to paint.

watercolour of sun drenched  countryside

Sun Drenched Hills

This watercolour was painted from one of those photos.

Most of my sketches are labelled as to where we were at the time.  The slides are not.  Using the sketches as a guide, I think this picture is from somewhere near Retournac.


This is a watercolour I painted using one of my photographs taken in the south of France.



It is an example of not planning what you are going to do before you do it.  I chose the picture, sketched it onto the watercolour paper and then started painting without thinking too much of how I was going to paint it.  Therefore, there were things that had to be “fixed”.  I have to admit that this is typical of how I usually paint, I am too impatient to plan it out carefully. However, this time I did even less thinking about it than usual.

Sunflower Fields

This is a watercolour from a picture I took while cycling in France.

Sunflower Fields

house detail


Cycling in France – Watercolour sketch

In anticipation of a visit to the Van Gogh exhibit that is currently at the National Gallery in Ottawa, I decided to do a watercolour in his style.

I chose a picture that I took while cycling in France.

Paysage Languedoc

Paysage Languedoc
Nancy Leigh-Smith

I sketched the outline in pencil first and then used the paints. It went very quickly.

Detail: Paysage Languedoc

Detail: Paysage Languedoc

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