The Making of 'Reflections of Yesterday'

10 January, 2021 3 comments Leave a comment

Pictured above is my watercolour painting 'Reflections of Yesterday' and today I am recounting the story of how this remarkable painting came to life.

In the spring of 2017, my husband and I and several friends explored New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island for two months in our travel trailers. I posted three stories showing the highlights of this fantastic trip ('Perfect Prince Edward Island', 'Camping in Beautiful Nova Scotia', and 'Top 5 Must-Have's for Travel Fun').

While exploring the quaint seaside village of Victoria in PEI, I photographed a colourful, weathered shed window from five different angles. I knew the various elements of this scene would work well as a watercolour portrait. The two views shown below are the ones I chose as painting references.

PEI shed window photo by Karen Richardson   PEI shed window photo by Karen Richardson

I liked the colours better in the red window trim in the left hand photo, but I preferred the reflection of the jellybean house in the right hand photo. One of the advantages of being a painter is that I can 'mix-and-match' my references.

Every inch of this painting was pure joy to create, from the cracks in the wood shingles, to the flaking red paint of the trim, to the distorted reflections in the vintage window glass.

For this painting, I tried out watercolour paints made by Sennelier in France and I was very impressed with their clarity and strength of colour. The three pigments I chose (Sennelier Red, Sennelier Yellow Deep, and Phthalocyanine Blue) worked perfectly for this piece. I will be using these paints again!

Fortunately I had the foresight to take photos as I worked on this challenging composition. 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 2-minute story:


The completed painting (shown below) is mounted on an archival wood panel, trimmed, varnished, and presented in a black wood floater frame. There is no glass to get in the way of enjoying the details of 'Reflections of Yesterday'.

This 12 x 16" artwork was acquired by a collector in Sunderland, ON shortly after completion. A little piece of my heart and soul went with this painting. I consider it to be one of my master works.

Click here to see more details about this painting.

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  1. Dianne January 12, 2021

    I love this painting Karen!I was particularly impressed with the under painting in gray tones. I tend to want to move too quickly when I paint so it was great to see your slow and disciplined approach.

  2. Janet love January 12, 2021

    Thank you so much for sharing this video of how you created such a wonderful moment in time. You are a master of the medium.

  3. Brenda January 12, 2021

    Karen, I agree, this piece is truly a master! I enjoyed the video, and not sure why I would have the right to, but I am so proud of what you are doing with your talent. I still like to say " I knew her when…."