New Works: Mist and Moonlight
Usually when we travel in the Airstream I fit in a painting day once a week or so, just for the joy of it.
The rest of my time is spent living the simple life with my husband: hiking, kayaking, making healthy meals, and slowly exploring the region in which we find ourselves.
This past summer, with steady sales of my artwork continuing in the galleries back home, I was keen to paint more frequently.
I found the dinette in our trailer (pictured above) to be the perfect spot to set up a simple painting space for a few hours at a time.
By the time we got home and I returned to the art studio, I was able to mount and frame a half dozen new works (pictured here).
In these paintings, I have continued to focus on misty northern lakes, bringing more imaginary places to life, venturing into a moonlit night scene, and branching off (pun intended) into a pile of colourful maple leaves.
This pair of blue lake scenes began as simple blue graded washes for the sky and a few horizontal streaks of blue for the water ripples. It took 3 or 4 layers of paint to build up the colour density I was after. I left large blank white areas in the middle to add some islands and reflections later.
Listen to the Silence, varnished watercolour on 14 x 11 inch panel.
I invented the overlapping blue hills for the background, wetting the bottom edges with clear water to simulate mist.
When that was dry, I painted an imaginary island, again with mist cloaking the shoreline, and a canoe seen coming towards the viewer.
I added a soft reflection under the island so it would not draw the viewer's eye away from the canoe.
The Answer Will Come, varnished watercolour on 14 x 11 inch panel.
I knew I wanted an interesting island centred in this piece so I looked through my treasure trove of Lake of the Woods photos. (We visit family there most summers.)
This is the reference I chose, adding some hefty rocks to the front of 'my' island. Again, I added water when painting the bottom of the island, to simulate a foggy shoreline.
The water ripples in the foreground needed more visual interest, so I imagined some smooth underwater stones and painted the shadowy spaces in between them. Then I added a few above-water rocks to lead the viewer's eye between the foreground and the big island. Lastly, I painted in a hazy reverse image for the island reflection.
Reunion, varnished watercolour on 10 x 10 inch panel.
One of my painting buddies goes on an annual canoe trip with a group of women friends, and she was kind enough to supply me with several dozen photos of canoes taken at various places during her trips.
These are a great resource whenever I want to add a canoe into an imaginary scene.
For this painting, I used her reference photo (shown here) for the foreground and invented a couple of islands to make a more interesting scene. I changed the canoe colours and decided to make the season autumn, so the trees would complement the canoes.
Misty Beginnings, varnished watercolour on 10 x 10 inch panel.
This painting was inspired by a quick photo I took out of our truck window one summer as we were driving along Hwy 17 north of Lake Superior.
I thought this little point of land on the edge of an island looked interesting.
I imagined a new scene roughly based on the photo, adding more mist, a canoe, more prominent rocks, and individual trees on the point.
Some Enchanted Evening, varnished watercolour on 16 x 12 inch panel.
This was an experimental piece, meaning I had no idea if it would be successful or not. I knew I wanted a night scene with lots of deep blues and black, with a yellow full moon and its reflection across the water.
I imagined a slight breeze rippling the water and how the resulting reflections would behave. I figured the rocks would have some warm tones, coming from moonlight.
I breathed a big sigh of relief when this painting turned out so well.
Maple Flooring, varnished watercolour on 11 x 14 inch panel.
I took this reference photo decades ago while walking in the woods and have painted from it twice.
It is a simple scene, but that red maple leaf is so wonderfully symbolic of Canada, and it was fun to work with bright colours.
As cooler weather arrives, I feel my inner energy rising. It's time to get the garden trimmed back and close out the growing season. I look forward to having lots of studio time this fall and winter to create more new paintings, and then share with you the stories behind them.
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