The Making of 'Bathing Beauties'

26 February, 2022 2 comments Leave a comment

Photo of Lake Superior by Karen Richardson

Several times each year, my husband and I enjoy driving and sightseeing on Hwy 17 in northwestern Ontario, along the northern shore of the largest lake in the world.

Some of the world's oldest rocks, formed about 2.7 billion years ago, can be found along this shore. The lake itself is about 10,000 years old and contains ten percent of all the fresh water on planet earth. 

Of course I am referring to Lake Superior, the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes, and the inspiration for many of my paintings. One of my favourite spots at which we stop during our journeys is Pebble Beach in the town of Marathon, to take photos of the shore, such as the one shown below. 

Photo Lake Superior by Karen Richardson

Marathon's Pebble Beach is composed of smooth round stones the size of citrus fruits - from limes to grapefruits. The colours are rich and varied, especially when the stones are wet, and many have interesting stripes or other markings.

The scene never looks the same twice, with wind and sunlight affecting the behaviour of the waves and the colours of water and rock.

A few years ago, we were lucky to visit the beach on a calm, sunny morning, and I took dozens of photos from many angles.

Sometimes I had to put my camera almost in the water, viewfinder out of sight, hoping to capture the low point of view I was after.  The photo pictured here is one of those lucky shots.

Bathing Beauties watercolour by Karen Richardson

Back in the studio, as I worked on the 20 x 16 inch painting shown here, I substituted prettier colours and patterns on some of the foreground stones to make the painting interesting and dramatic. I have seen gorgeous stones like these elsewhere on this shore.

While I was working away, I stopped frequently to take photos of my work in progress, so I could show you the steps involved in creating this large artwork.

At some point in this painting journey, the title 'Bathing Beauties' came to mind.

I assembled the photos into a one minute video. Click on the image shown below to see how this painting came together.


This painting has been acquired by a collector, but custom print reproductions of 'Bathing Beauties' are available through my print-on-demand publisher FineArtAmerica. Click here for details.

I have many more dramatic photos of this beach and am looking forward to creating more paintings of this remarkable place. If you are a 'rockaholic' like me, you will understand my compulsion.

Do you have favourite spots on Lake Superior I should visit? If you have suggestions or comments you wish to share, please do so using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post.

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  1. Janet Love March 03, 2022

    Your paintings bring such joy into my life. I love rocks as well, they always tell a story if we stop and listen. Thank you so much for showing the video on how you created Bathing Beauties.

  2. Elfrida Jeppesen March 03, 2022

    Beautiful bathing beauties, Karen.