New Works: Mist and Moonlight

20 September, 2022 3 comments Leave a comment

Karen Richardson in her mobile art studio

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.

Varnished watercolours by Karen Richardson

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.

Varnished watercolours by Karen Richardson

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.

Click here for more information about Listen to the Silence.

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.)

Photo Lake of the Woods by Karen Richardson

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.

Click here for more details about The Answer Will Come.

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.

Photo Lake Traverse by Averill Ambrose 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.

Click here for more information about Reunion.

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.

Photo by Karen Richardson

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.

Click here for more information about Misty Beginnings.

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.

Click here for more information about Some Enchanted Evening.

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.

Photo by Karen Richardson

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.

Click here for more information about Maple Flooring.

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.

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 exhibitions.


« previous post   |   next post »

Leave a comment

Comments are checked before they appear


  1. Silvia Damar September 27, 2022

    Your watercolor are magnificence, I love the mist!

  2. Diane Schurman September 27, 2022

    I love your paintings and reading the back story of each one is fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Namaji Hill September 27, 2022

    Wonderful to be drawn back into Mother Nature with your beautiful paintings!