The Making of 'Bring a Paddle'

27 June, 2019 1 comments Leave a comment

Bring a Paddle by Karen Richardson

Bring a Paddle (12 x 12", shown above) was inspired by my travels to countless northern lakes over the years, including Georgian Bay, the Thousand Islands, and the Temagami region. My husband and I have a canoe and kayaks and enjoy exploring peaceful lakes on these watercraft.

Where we live in Ontario, we see gorgeous fall colours in our abundant forests, including the splendid reds of our sugar maples. I decided on a fall-themed painting, featuring the rich dark blue of our autumn lakes, contrasted with lush foliage colours punctuated by iconic white pines.

I used numerous reference photos of northern lakes, islands, and canoes to compose this imaginary scene. Shown below are some of the photos, a concept sketch for the island, and the initial pencil drawing on watercolour paper.

Reference photos for Bring a Paddle by Karen Richardson

This is the canoe reference photo I selected (below), taken by my friend Averill and used with her permission. I changed the green canoe to red to coordinate with the red maple trees in the painting.

Photo of canoes by Averill Ambrose 

After completing the painting, I was particularly pleased with the water ripples and reflections, as they are difficult to achieve, especially when combining multiple references and working on wet paper.

Bring a Paddle by Karen Richardson

Fortunately I had the foresight to take photos of each stage of this challenging painting as I worked. From these work-in-progress photos, I assembled a short time lapse video, so you can see the flow of this piece to its completion.

Click on the image below to view the 100-second story:


I posted in-progress photos of this painting on Facebook and had an offer to purchase before the painting was finished. The Montreal buyer said "I keep missing opportunities to get the ones I love. The last one left before I could... Bring a Paddle already has my heart even if not done yet... As soon as I saw it I knew I couldn't live without [it]... I see great things all the time [on Facebook] but yours speak to me."

I love to hear comments such as this. My goal is to make the world a happier place... one painting at a time. I think I scored a big hit with this one.

For more details about this painting, click here.

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 to see more of her painting stories, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

« previous post   |   next post »

Leave a comment

Comments are checked before they appear


  1. Dianne August 26, 2019

    Love the water and vibrant colours!