February New Works and Their Stories
February was another good month for painting summer lakes scenes in my studio - the perfect antidote for winter winds and snow blowing outside my windows.
The first two paintings shown here are 18 x 24", which is the largest size I can make due to size limitations of the standard wooden art panels and 300 lb watercolour paper I prefer.
Above is pictured 'Welcome to the Lake', which is inspired by the view from my husband's family's cottage in the Kawarthas. I love the clarity of light in this scene and the flawless reflections. I remember that wonderful feeling of anticipation when arising in the morning, looking out at this peaceful lake and getting ready to enjoy another fun day at the cottage. I have wonderful memories of this place.
The diving raft, kept afloat by four empty 45-gallon drums, was one of several rafts built over the years by my husband-to-be, his brother, or his dad. The shoreline of the Richardson cottage property was sand with a few weeds, but I took the liberty of changing it to smooth stones in the painting, to make what I think is a more interesting composition.
Shown above is the second 24 x 18" painting, 'Whispering Waters', which is part of a new series depicting islands in northern lakes. I am thrilled with the mist in the background, which nicely contrasts with the dark hues of the island and adds a sense of mystery to the scene. The complex reflections were very challenging but turned out even better than I had hoped.
Everything in this piece is taken from my imagination and general reference photos from my trips throughout northern Ontario, except for the green cedar-strip canoe. It was made by First Nations (Huron) in Wendake, Quebec for Simpsons-Sears. My husband bought it in their store in 1963 and we still own this fine craft.
Shown above is 'Mystified', a larger (9 x 12") version of the two little square canoe-and-mist scenes that I painted and sold in January. I love the sense of mystery in this piece, and the little pop of red from the canoe is the perfect contrast to the green trees and gray background.
Three of the galleries representing my work, who saw this image when I posted it on Facebook, asked if they could have one for display. A popular scene! I plan to paint a fourth version in a 12 x 16" format. It is impossible to make the paintings identical to each other, due to the serendipitous nature of watercolour, so each painting will be unique.
Continuing with the concept of misty canoe scenes, shown above is a new 12 x 12" work titled 'Island Spirits'. The scene is from my imagination, but based on many northern lakes I have visited and explored by kayak. Places like this revitalize me and renew my creative energy.
Watercolour is a natural when it comes to portraying fog or mist, but it takes precise timing, moisture control, and lots of practice to get it right. I think I have the hang of it now and am keen to do several more misty lake scenes. They are satisfying to do and it just feels so good to immerse myself in these calm and quiet locales.
Now comes something completely different. I finally finished this lively tulip piece, 'Spring Splendour', 12 x 9" shown above. This was a demonstration painting I did for a workshop several years ago. The original blue-green background had granulated and looked odd, but I loved the composition and colours of the flowers. Not sure how to proceed but unwilling to discard the painting, it languished in my unfinished works drawer for years. I recently decided I had nothing to lose and painted 4 coats of a very dark watercolour mixture I call 'Black Magic' over the background. I love the drama this creates.
And as our winter turns to spring, I look forward to creating more new paintings and sharing with you the stories behind them. Shown above are the tools of my trade, all ready to go.
Which painting is your favourite? If you have comments you wish to share, please do so using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post.
Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more painting stories, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.