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.
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' (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', 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).
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.
I have several other excellent reference photos from our times on Big Cedar Lake and plan to make more paintings of iconic summer memories.
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).
'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.
This photo also inspired this winter watercolour scene below, 'Enchantment' 5 x 14" which I painted and sold in 2006.
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:
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.
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.
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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