April New Works and Their Stories

10 May, 2019 0 comments Leave a comment

Paintings by Karen Richardson

It is remarkable how many memories can be captured in a simple lake scene. I grew up in the Canadian Shield region of Ontario, just east of Algonquin Park, so landscapes filled with clear water, sturdy rocks and wind-sculpted pine trees are ingrained in my soul.

April was another productive month in my studio, as I continued to create exciting new work in my northern lakes series. I love painting the effect of calm water and the stillness it imparts to the viewer. Many people tell me these paintings remind them of their childhood too.

Summer Retreat by Karen Richardson

Shown above is 'Summer Retreat' watercolour on panel (no glass) 24 x 18". This was inspired by several earlier paintings I created of stormy skies over an island cabin. Here are those earlier paintings:

Refuge by Karen Richardson  Island in the Storm by Karen Richardson

'Refuge' (16 x 12") and 'Island in the Storm' (11 x 14"), shown above, were created in 2016 as demonstration paintings at watercolour workshops, where I showed students how to invent an imaginary scene using two reference photos. Here are my reference photos below.

The image of a wee abode perched on a rocky isle continued to haunt my imagination, even after the 2016 paintings were completed and found their forever homes. I wondered what it would look like under clear blue skies and in a large format. 'Summer Retreat' was the result. For more information about this painting, click here.


 Summer Memories by Karen Richardson

'Summer Memories', watercolour on panel (no glass) 18 x 24" shown above, was inspired by a scene I painted in February, called 'Welcome to the Lake' (18 x 24", shown below with reference photo to the right).

Welcome to the Lake by Karen Richardson   Photo of Big Cedar Lake by Karen Richardson

I was enthralled with this earlier painting because it is the view from the cottage my husband's family used to own on Big Cedar Lake near Apsley. We have many wonderful memories of this lovely spot, and when 'Welcome to the Lake' sold in March (to a family who also had a raft like this one at their cottage), I felt compelled to create another version of the scene. I moved the raft and added some lily pads to make a new composition and I love the result.

For more details about Summer Memories, click here.

I have several other excellent reference photos from our times on Big Cedar Lake and plan to make more paintings of iconic summer memories.


Come Fly With Me by Karen Richardson

Shown above is 'Come Fly With Me', watercolour on panel (no glass) 12 x 16", which was inspired by a weathered piece of driftwood on the beach at Neys Provincial Park near Marathon, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Superior. We camped there last summer and I took a bunch of awesome reference photos. Here is the one that inspired this painting, along with a gull photo by Iris Vallejo (used with permission).

Photo of Beach at Neys Prov Park by Karen Richardson   Seagull reference photo credit: Iris Vallejo (Pixabay)

For more information about Come Fly With Me, click here.


Wild Blue Yonder by Karen Richardson

'Wild Blue Yonder' watercolour on panel (no glass) 12 x 6", shown above, was inspired by this photo below of a winter scene that I took back in the 1980's during a snowmobile trip.

Winter Pines photo by Karen Richardson

This photo also inspired this winter watercolour scene below, 'Enchantment' 5 x 14" which I painted and sold in 2006.

Enchantment by Karen Richardson

I find this grouping of pine trees very appealing so I decided to make a vertical summer lake scene, place the trees on a rocky island, and invent their reflections. Here is the concept sketch I made of the imaginary island prior to starting the painting:

Sketch for Wild Blue Yonder painting by Karen Richardson

I added the underwater stones in the foreground of the painting to balance the composition and give an indication of a rock-based region like the Canadian Shield. 

The literal meaning of Wild Blue Yonder is 'a location far away that is appealingly unknown and mysterious'. What a perfect title for this imaginary scene.

To see more details about 'Wild Blue Yonder', click here.


Dive Right In by Karen Richardson

The last painting I created in April is shown above. 'Dive Right In' watercolour on panel (no glass) 8 x 8" shows the view from my sister-in-law's dock on Lake of the Woods near Kenora, Ontario. It is perfect in its simplicity and will bring back wondrous memories for many people, of sweet summer days spent on peaceful northern lakes.

For more information about 'Dive Right In', click here.

Does any of these paintings bring to life a childhood memory for you? If you have comments you wish to share, please do so using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post. 

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