Earthbound Artist

Fitting In a Winner

15 April, 2018 1 comment Leave a comment

Fitting In, watercolour by Karen Richardson    

Last fall, I created this watercolour painting from a photo taken in Nova Scotia during our 2017 Maritime trip.

I love the apparent simplicity of this composition, with three smooth pebbles sitting in a cleft of weathered driftwood. But the image implies a more complex meaning to me; one of shelter, security, togetherness, and family.

When the painting was completed, I posted a picture of it on Facebook, to ask my online friends for suggestions for a title. The image got a strong response, with about 50 title ideas coming forward. The one I selected was 'Fitting In', but I made note of all the suggestions, to use on future paintings I am creating in a series about cracks and crevices. An artist friend also suggested I add a living creature to the driftwood cleft, peeking over the stones. Hmmm... food for thought.

Karen Richardson with her painting 'Fitting In' at the 2017 PineRidge Juried Art Exhibition.

Then I entered 'Fitting In' in the This Is Home painting competition, sponsored by Artwork Archive. My artwork took first place with over 800 votes on Facebook, winning the Voter's Choice award of US$300. A few weeks later, two of my paintings, including 'Fitting In', were accepted into the PineRidge Arts Council 18th Annual Juried Art Exhibition (shown above). This competition had 190 pieces submitted by 103 artists, with only 65 paintings being accepted into the show by the juror.

During this time, I recognized that this image would be an excellent subject for a watercolour class, allowing me to teach several key aspects, such as choosing a focal point, contrasting light and dark, depicting smooth and rough textures, and mixing subdued colours, to name a few.

So this spring, I taught this subject twice in classes held in my Lindsay studio, and my instincts were correct; my students LOVED painting this scene and learning all I could impart along the way. They used actual stones from my rock collection as reference, to make their creations unique.

Here are photos of my students with their finished pieces:

Weathered Wood and Stones, 2-day watercolour class by Karen Richardson

Weathered Wood and Stones, 2-day watercolour class by Karen Richardson

Several of the students made comments after class:

"I learn so much when I take workshops with you. You have such a fantastic knowledge base. You explain the why as well as the how! Painting in your studio, surrounded by your incredible paintings, is such an inspiration. And you are a joy as a teacher! Thanks a million for an incredible time!" ~Diane S.

"We had such a wonderful time. I learned SO much about handling watercolour and how to achieve different textures. The "ah ha" moment for me was learning how to mix all those subtle colours from just three primaries. Karen is an awesome teacher who is able to convey so much of her knowledge and experience to her students." ~Jan Z.

"Thank you so much for the whole experience. It was such an inspiring and educational two days. I know that is due to your organization, presentation and overall thoughtfulness of your students. I did not really believe I could leave that workshop with a piece of art that resembled what Jan had shown me after she attended the 'Pebbles' workshop. What an amazing feeling that was... Thank you again for sharing your expertise and delighting in the pleasure that your 'gift' brings others." ~Roz G.

I made a new demonstration painting during each session, to show the students various painting techniques, and I decided to add a living creature to each one, to make paintings that were different from my first version. Here are the three paintings shown as a series:

Fitting In, watercolour by Karen Richardson   Curiosity, watercolour by Karen Richardson   A Moment's Rest, watercolour by Karen Richardson

In considering appropriate titles, I first came up with 'Fitting In', 'Sitting In', and 'Flitting In' for the series. Then I thought, since possibly these three paintings will end up in the hands of separate collectors, the humour might be lost. I decided a more appropriate title for the version with the squirrel would be 'Curiosity', and for the version with the butterfly, 'A Moment's Rest'. I would love to hear your thoughts on titles.

These three paintings, part of a group of almost 40 pieces, will be on display at my Spring Open Studio (weekend of April 28 and 29, 1 to 5 pm) in Lindsay. I hope you can meet the trio in person. One can't help but smile when seeing them.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please let Karen know by clicking on the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post.

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more of her painting stories, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

The Making of 'Listen to the Lake'

01 April, 2018 4 comments Leave a comment

Every now and then, I find myself in complete awe of a painting I have finished. Somehow, my creation is greater than the sum of its parts. It simply makes my spirit soar. I am drawn to step into that scene and breathe in the scent of pine trees on the gentle breeze, or pick up a special stone, a relic entrusted to us by antiquity, and feel its smooth solidity in my hand.

Listen to the Lake, watercolour by Karen Richardson

My latest beach scene from Lake Superior, 'Listen to the Lake', has had this effect on me. My gaze is captured by luminous waves and I can hear the lapping water of that peaceful shore. I love the punch of colour provided by the lime-green lichen on the large boulder, and the way the distant headlands fade into the mist. I want to be in this special place.

Fortunately, I had the foresight to take a photo of each stage of this watercolour painting as I created it, allowing me to produce a 90-second video of the making of 'Listen to the Lake':

What does 'Listen to the Lake' say to you? 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 of her painting stories, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

The Making of 'Northern Reflections'

05 March, 2018 2 comments Leave a comment

I grew up in the Canadian Shield region of Canada, just east of Algonquin Park. The northern Ontario landscape of my childhood - lakes, rivers, pine trees, sand, and rock - remains vividly in my mind to this day. The majority of my paintings contain one or more of these landscape elements.

Karen Richardson on Stoney Lake

The last few summers, my husband and I visited with long-time friends at their cottage on Stoney Lake in central Ontario. The above photo of me was taken on their boat when we were cruising the lake.

I have taken many beautiful photographs of the scenery on Stoney, which looks similar in many ways to the region in which I spent my childhood. The photo below is the view from our friends' dock.

Photo of Stoney Lake by Karen Richardson

I decided this would be a great reference photo for a six-week advanced watercolour class I taught at Meta4 Gallery in Port Perry last fall. The scene had interesting reflections, rocks, mosses, lily pads, and tree trunks.

Here are some photos of my students at work on their paintings.

Students in Karen Richardson's watercolour class

Students in Karen Richardson's watercolour class

Below are photographs of my demonstration painting, showing how it progressed. The lower half is already finished. I used a new and unusual method for painting the reflections on the water, and became so engrossed in the process that I forgot to pause and take photos in those earlier stages. 

Northern Reflections, watercolour in progress by Karen Richardson.

In the first photo (above), the base layer has been applied to the rocks, moss, and forest greenery. Salt was sprinkled on the stone and moss while the paint was wet, to create a textured effect. When dry, the salt was brushed off.

 Northern Reflections, watercolour in progress by Karen Richardson

In the second photo (above), the upper left quadrant has the second layer done. I used two-brush technique, (one brush loaded with paint and the second brush loaded with water), working on dry paper. This allows control of the paint flow to a minute degree.

Northern Reflections, watercolour in progress by Karen Richardson

In the third photo (above), the second layer of paint has been applied to the upper right quadrant. The painting is about 95% finished at this point. The remaining steps are to go over the whole painting, adding more dark shadows into the forest background, and adding more texture to rocks and moss using a dry-brush technique.

Karen Richardson with her watercolour students

The photo above shows me and my students with our finished paintings. Everyone did an amazing job and enjoyed learning some new techniques. No two paintings looked alike, even though we used the same reference photo.

Northern Reflections, watercolour by Karen Richardson 

Here is a photo of the finished painting in its frame. Northern Reflections, watercolour, 16 x 20". I am very pleased with the way it turned out. When I look at my painting, I feel like I am back in a little piece of heaven on a northern lake. Click here for more details about this piece.

What is your favourite region to visit? 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 painting classes and exhibitions.

Hand Feeding Elk in Northern Ontario

18 February, 2018 5 comments Leave a comment

My husband John and I had another amazing adventure for Valentine's Day, which is also our wedding anniversary. We got to hand feed a herd of elk!

Karen Richardson hand feeding an elk

How did this come about, you ask? Well, we drove about 8 hours north of where we live, to stay at Cedar Meadows Resort and Spa in Timmins, Ontario for 3 nights. Here is a photo of John with our truck, trailer, and snowmobile, with the resort in the background.

Unloading our snowmobile at Cedar Meadows Resort

Our resort package included breakfasts and dinners in the dining room and use of the  Nordic Baths in the Spa. The resort has an excellent chef, so the food was beautifully prepared and presented. I had a tour of the Spa, which was very high end. The Nordic Baths were two outdoor pools - one hot and one cool, in the Finnish tradition. I never imagined I would be swimming outdoors in a Canadian winter, but enjoyed the pools, as well as the steam room and sauna. Very rejuvenating.

On Valentine's Day, we went for a morning snowmobile ride on the local trails, which were well groomed, wide and flat. Then at 3 pm, we joined the daily wagon tour through Cedar Meadows Wildlife Park, which is adjacent to the resort.

We had an amazing time, hand feeding the elk herd. We also met Brutus, their 2,500-lb bison, and heard about Felix, their resident bull moose, but Felix was taking the day off in the back of the property and we didn't get to meet him.

I made this 3-minute video of the highlights of our elk-feeding experience:

We enjoyed a four-course Valentine's dinner that evening, and the next day traveled by snowmobile to Iroquois Falls and back. The terrain is surprisingly flat in that region and the weather was cloudy and dull, so I didn't get many interesting scenery photos. But I did get this quick shot of the Frederick House River as we traversed the bridge.

Frederick House River, Timmins

On the fourth day of our trip, we headed back home to Lindsay under sunny skies. We passed through the beautiful Temagami region during our drive, and I took some decent photos of the white pines along the highway. These majestic trees find their way into many of my northern landscape paintings.

White Pines in the Temagami region of Ontario

If you would like more information about the resort, here is their website https://cedarmeadows.com/

Did you do something memorable to celebrate Valentine's Day? Please share your comments by clicking on the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post.

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

The Artist's Studio

05 February, 2018 9 comments Leave a comment

Karen Richardson's Studio

At the end of last year, I took some time to catch up on paperwork in my studio office, finish some framing, and do a general studio tidy-up. Once that was done, everything looked so uncluttered and clean I took some photos to show you what a working artist's studio looks like. I also want to share with you some key features that make my creative space both comfortable and efficient. Welcome to your personal virtual studio tour!

When you come down the stairs to enter my studio, you see the panorama shown above. It is an L-shaped space, with my creative area on the left and my gallery and teaching space on the right.

Our home is a bungalow with 8' ceilings on both levels. In the lower level, large above-ground windows face west and north, to fill the space with light so it doesn't feel like a basement. We added four 2' x 4' LED ceiling light fixtures that greatly enhance the natural illumination.

Karen Richardson's Studio

The photo above shows my studio office. The desk and black file cabinet on the right house my computer and day-to-day office files and reference binders. On top are white photo storage boxes containing reference photos I have taken, sorted by subject matter and season. I take thousands of photos but just print the ones I think I may use as painting reference some day.

The white bookcase on the left mainly holds my collection of painting technique reference books, plus office stationary. The glass doors keep the dust out and make it easy to find what I'm looking for. The window in the middle is the one on which my wild turkey visitor knocked last month.

Karen Richardson's Studio

The photo above shows my office and creative space. On the left is my trusty collapsible print rack that I take to art shows as well as use in the studio, to display my giclee prints and matted paintings. The small bookshelf in front displays Watercolour Toolbox, the art instruction book I wrote. On top of the desk hutch is the satellite radio receiver that supplies whatever genre of music I choose, to keep me company as I work. Mostly I listen to soft rock or quiet jazz.

On the back wall is the tiny gas fireplace we added to this space, to make it cosy in cooler weather. I have it on all day, every day in winter. To the right of that, under the north window, is the drafting table where I do most of my painting. The working surface is 3' x 4', large enough for a full sheet of watercolour paper plus reference photos displayed to the sides.

In front of that is a desk credenza just over 5' long, that is very handy for assembling frames or doing any job needing a large horizontal surface. When one of my painting buddies comes here, she works at this desk while I paint at the drafting table.

Karen Richardson's Studio

To the right of my drafting table is an Ikea cabinet I bought over 30 years ago. It primarily stores unused framing materials, painting supports, paint palettes, paint tubes, and rags. The photo above shows it with the doors open. The adjustable shelves are 24" x 30", so this cabinet stores a lot of stuff.

Karen Richardson's Studio

Continuing around my creative space to the right, I have a black flat file cabinet that holds an astounding amount of watercolour paper, paintings in progress, brushes and other art supplies, office supplies, giclee prints, art card supplies, and archival bags. I bought this used metal cabinet from one of my framing suppliers when they no longer needed it, and I had it repainted at an automotive paint shop. Each of the ten drawers is 2' x 3' inside, so that is 60 square feet of horizontal storage in total. I love the efficiency of this cabinet! 

Around the corner to the right is my painting display space. I have professional grade wall hooks spaced 24" apart horizontally, with a second row 20" below the top row. This layout fits most sizes of finished paintings, without having to move hooks, although some of the larger pieces may cover two hooks.

Karen Richardson's Studio

My display space shown above consists of three walls, one 10 feet wide, one 12 feet wide, and one 8 feet wide. There is a short hallway to the right with display walls 2 feet and 6 feet wide. This gives me a total of 38 linear feet of gallery space. This is also the room I use for teaching my watercolour workshops. I teach up to five students at a time, and we each work on a 2' x 4' portable table. The photo below shows a typical class (and a different display of paintings).

Watercolour workshop in Karen Richardson studio 

No art studio or teaching space would be complete without a bathroom. In the photo below, you can see the bathroom we added on this level when we renovated. I also display a couple of finished paintings in there.

Karen Richardson's Studio

This completes the tour of the public area of my studio practice. The photos below show more studio storage and equipment that is in our furnace room and not accessible to the public (except on this virtual visit).

Karen Richardson studio

Shown above is my wonderful automotive storage rack. Each shelf is capable of supporting up to 500 lbs. This rack stores my painting transport boxes, shipping materials, business records, bulk storage of Watercolour Toolbox books, art show lighting equipment, framing materials, as well as some household items. Those 13 binders on the right are scrapbooks that document my entire art career to date (paintings, awards, shows, etc.). All this on a bit of floor measuring 2' x 6'.

Below, also in the furnace room, is my mat- and cardboard-cutting table. The slots underneath store mat board, and painting transport boxes, bags, and portfolios. The drawers hold my framing hardware, tools, and equipment.

Karen Richardson studio

I hope you have enjoyed your personal virtual art studio tour. I hope to see you in person in my studio at some point in the future.Visitors are welcome by appointment, or during an Open Studio event.

If you have any ideas, questions, or comments 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 learn more about the life of a professional artist, travel tales, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions. 

The Making of 'Snow and Stone'

22 January, 2018 4 comments Leave a comment

Snow and Stone, watercolour by Karen Richardson

Last year I instructed a six-week watercolour class at Meta4 Gallery in Port Perry, for intermediate level students (meaning they have extensive watercolour experience). I chose this winter scene of a big rock and a fir tree because it would provide an opportunity to work with several different painting techniques, and I love to paint rocks in any setting. My finished 16 x 12" demonstration painting is shown above.

Snow and Stone watercolour workshop taught by Karen Richardson 

This is the graduation photo from our class. You can see all the students worked hard and did a great job on their paintings. Each piece looked different than the rest, which is always the case in my classes. I encourage students to make their own way when developing their compositions, such as in choice of paint mixtures, or in the amount of detail they want to achieve.

Reference photo for Snow and Stone, taken by Karen Richardson

The reference photo above was one I took many years ago on a snowmobile trip in northern Ontario. I liked the composition, but would have to use some imagination to make the flat lighting more interesting and to simplify the background.

Snow and Stone, work in progress by Karen Richardson

Step #1 (above) Drawing / Snow Shadows

I began by sketching the scene on layout paper, making all corrections before tracing my drawing onto Arches 300 lb. cold pressed bright white watercolour paper. Then I decided the best angle for 'invented' sunshine would be from the upper right.

As with all my paintings, I used a limited palette of paint colours for this scene. With just yellow (New Gamboge), blue (French Ultramarine), and dark brown (Burnt Umber) I mixed all the colours needed for this scene. I wet all the snow area with clear water, and brushed on a watery blue mixture everywhere the imagined sunlight would not fall, to give the effect of snow shadows. The sunlit snow was just the clean white of the paper.

Snow and Stone, work in progress by Karen Richardson

Step #2 (Above) Masking / Base Layer on Forest and Fir Tree

Once the snow shadows were dry, I applied masking fluid to the trunks of the birch trees, to make sure they stayed white while I painted the scene around them. This masking layer will be removed near the end of the painting process, just prior to painting the birch trunks.

While the masking dried, I mixed up a bright green and a medium green, using different combinations of blue and yellow. I wet the entire background above the snow line and dropped in bright green where the imagined sunlight would fall. Then I added sections of medium green where shadows or coniferous trees would be. I made sure to leave space for the sky, into which I placed a few strokes of blue to give a soft cloud effect.

While the background dried, I mixed up a dark brownish green for the foreground tree shadows, using all three colours. For my main subjects, I often paint the shadows first, let them dry, and then paint the actual colours of the subject over top. This sequencing allows me to place my shadows accurately, while I can clearly see my pencil lines. If I paint the subject colours first, they can obliterate my pencil lines, and my shadow shapes then require some guess work.

Snow and Stone, detail of work in progress by Karen Richardson

Step #2 Detail (Above) Negative Painting on Fir Tree

I painted the fir tree shadows onto dry paper, using a negative-painting-with-two-brushes technique. One round brush held the paint and the other round brush held clear water. Working on dry paper, I applied the paint above the highlight shapes of each needle cluster, and then placed clear water immediately above, but just touching, the painted section. The areas of wet paint and water flowed together slightly, creating a soft transition. It takes a lot of practice to judge the amount of fluid needed to create this effect, which is why this subject was a great learning experience.

Snow and Stone, work in progress by Karen Richardson

Step #3 Second Layer on Forest and Fir Tree

Once the fir tree shadows had dried, I erased the masking layer from the birch trunks. Then I painted the entire fir tree with a couple of green mixtures, making sure to keep the lighter ones on the upper right, the sunlit side of the tree. Since watercolour is a transparent medium, the shadow layer showed through the second layer.

When the fir tree was dry, I painted the birch trunks with whispers of pale blue and pale brown paint on the left halves of the trunks, and clear water on the right halves, to give a cylindrical effect. I painted the branches and tree trunks in the forest with a dark brown mixture, making sure to lighten the colour on the right and upper sides by adding some water.

Snow and Stone, watercolour by Karen Richardson

Step #4 Completing the Forest / Painting the Rock

I added some negative painting effects to the forest shrubbery and tree masses, using a dark green mixture. This gave the effect of sunlight falling on the forest and made it more three dimensional than in the reference photo. Once dry, and to finish the forest, I added more twigs and small branches, and dark scars on the birch trunks, using my rigger brush and calligraphy pen.

Getting ready to paint the first layer on the rock, I masked out the dried leaf shapes and blobs of snow underneath the fir tree. When that had dried, I used a rigger brush with dark gray-brown paint to create the dark cracks in the rock and the shadows between the dried leaves. Once dry, I used my two-brush technique with the same paint to create the softer shadows on the underside of the rock. Then I let the paint dry fully.

For the colour layer on the rock, I made pale mixtures of gray-blue and gray-brown. I wet the entire rock with clear water, brushed in the two colours using the reference photo as a placement guide, then sprinkled on table salt and left the painting to dry over night. Then the salt was rubbed off, leaving a pale patch in the colour where each salt crystal had been.

I removed the masking fluid and painted the leaves and snow beneath the tree. I added some tiny twigs in the snow here and there to complete Snow and Stone, watercolour 16 x 12". Click here for more photos and details of the finished painting. I thought it turned out incredibly well. What do you think? Please share your comments by using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post. Thank you.

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more painting stories, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

A Visit to Frozen Niagara Falls

08 January, 2018 5 comments Leave a comment

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Canada. Photo by Karen Richardson

Usually, if there is enough snow cover at this time of year, my husband and I make time for snowmobiling. But this month, with severe cold warnings for two solid weeks, it was just too darn cold to hit the snowmobile trails. Instead, we took a day trip with friends to visit frozen Niagara Falls, to have lunch and do some photography.

Canada's Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls. Photo by Karen Richardson

It was -27 degrees Celcius when we left home in the morning, and -16 when we arrived in 'The Falls' at lunch time. With the damp atmosphere near the falls, the temperature felt as cold as it had been at home. We were glad we had dressed in layers, including thermal long underwear, flannel-lined pants, and our parkas. Below is a photo of my husband and me, taken at The Falls by our friend Carolyn.

John and Karen Richardson at Niagara Falls.

Being so cold, it was difficult to take photos and keep my hands warm, and intermittent clouds blocked the sun most of the time. But I managed to get a few really good shots and a couple of quick videos of the Falls in action.

I compiled the best views of the afternoon into this two-minute video, which also conveys some interesting facts about this natural wonder. Turn on your speakers and enjoy!

Have you been able to brave the cold and have some outdoor fun? I'd love to hear about it in the comments (click on 'Leave a Comment' at the top of this post). Have a great winter, everyone.

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

100 Smiles from a Year of Watercolour Workshops

26 December, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

Karen Richardson teaching watercolour students in her Lindsay, Ontario studio

This year, during watercolour workshops at my Lindsay studio, and weekly classes at Meta4 Gallery in Port Perry, I had the pleasure of painting with almost 100 students.

Over one third of them were in my Pebbles 1-2-3 one-day workshops, held in my Lindsay studio in spring and fall. Here are photos from those beginner level workshops. Notice all the smiles:

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour workshop at Karen Richardson studio

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour class in Karen Richardson studio

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour workshop grads in Karen Richardson studio

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour workshop grads in Karen Richardson studio

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour class at Karen Richardson studio

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour class at Karen Richardson studio

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour students in Karen Richardson studio

In this final Pebbles 1-2-3 grad photo below, you can see my demonstration painting (Time to Head South) in the foreground:

Pebbles 1-2-3 watercolour class at Karen Richardson studio

These students below were in my 2-day beginner Tulips class:

Tulips watercolour class at Karen Richardson studio

I taught a Muskoka Lily 2-day intermediate level class twice. My finished demonstration painting is titled Stillwater Lily (click here to view).

Muskoka Lily watercolour class grads Karen Richardson studio

Muskoka Lily watercolour class at Karen Richardson studio

Here are me and my students in a 3-day advanced level Lake Superior Bay class:

Lake Superior Bay watercolour class grads in Karen Richardson studio

These students below are working on their Hollyhocks and Stone paintings in my 3-day advanced level class. My finished demonstration painting is titled Hollyhock and Stone (click here to view).

Hollyhocks and Stone watercolour class in Karen Richardson studio

Below are me and my students in a 3-day intermediate level Flag Iris class:

Flag Iris watercolour class in Karen Richardson studio

The photos below are graduation photos from my 6-week class sessions at Meta4 Gallery in Port Perry.

Northern Reflections: (Click here to view my finished demonstration painting)

Karen Richardson with her students in a Northern Reflections watercolour class

White Breasted Nuthatch: (Click here to view my finished demonstration painting.)

White Breasted Nuthatch watercolour class with Karen Richardson

Snow and Stone: (Click here to view my finished demonstration painting.)

Snow and Stone watercolour class with Karen Richardson

Blue Jay:

Blue Jay watercolour class with Karen Richardson

Thank you to all my students, who made a watercolour journey with me in the last year. Together, we learned a lot!

My Spring 2018 classes will run from mid March to the end of April. Registration will open in February, and I will email you the schedule then if you are subscribed to my studio updates. (New subscribers may join using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time.)

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more painting tips, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

A Christmas Visitor

25 December, 2017 2 comments Leave a comment

A few days ago, I heard a thump on my studio window. I thought maybe it was Santa's reindeer.

Upon investigation, I discovered it was the Christmas Turkey!

I took some quick photos with my phone from my studio window.  I think this fine fellow has his eye on the beautiful stones displayed on my window sill.

Wild Turkey at Karen Richardson studio

Maybe he was just checking out his reflection in the window glass.

Wild Turkey at Karen Richardson Studio

Or perhaps the cactus garden looked good enough to eat.

Wild Turkey at Karen Richardson's studio

The flock moved around our house and I took these photos below from my other studio window. What majestic, large creatures these are.

Wild Turkeys at Karen Richardson studio

They look black from afar but are very colourful up close. Their body feathers are purple and bronze with black tips.

Wild Turkeys at Karen Richardson studio

This photo below was taken from our living room window. My husband counted 18 turkeys in the flock. They are digging for food in a field that grew soybeans earlier this year.

Wild Turkeys visit Karen Richardson's studio

These turkeys live year round in the farm fields and hedgerow behind my home and studio, but they don't always grace us with an up-close-and-personal visit. I guess they were full of Christmas cheer on this occasion.

I hope you are enjoying special holiday time with friends and family. I am profoundly grateful for the support I have received all year from friends, followers, students, galleries, new clients, and my faithful collectors. I wish you every happiness and success for 2018.

Do you have a wild turkey story to share? Please use the 'leave a comment' button at the top of this post.

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more studio news, painting stories, travel tales, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

The Superior Paintings Begin

20 November, 2017 2 comments Leave a comment

In my previous post, I told the story of our camping trip to Lake Superior this summer. Although I am in the midst of teaching watercolour techniques to over 50 students this fall, I have carved out some private painting time in my studio, inspired by my Lake Superior trip photos.

Clarity, watercolour 28 x 11" by Karen Richardson

The painting above, Clarity (watercolour, 28 x 11"), was the first major work inspired by this trip. I used several experimental techniques and am excited with the result. The scene depicts a view from the coastal trail near Rossport, on the north shore of Lake Superior. The water is so clear, it becomes almost impossible to tell if rocks are above or below the surface. I'll let you decide.

I made a short time lapse video, showing how this painting grew from start to finish. Click on the arrow below to view:

Click here to see more information about Clarity.

For my second Lake Superior painting, Time to Head South (watercolour 16 x 20") shown below, I was able to combine the activities of teaching and producing a major piece of artwork. I began by drawing the two Monarch butterflies and the autumn leaf in pencil on my watercolour paper. Then I drew in the stone shapes as a background.

Time to Head South, watercolour 16 x 20" by Karen Richardson

During three of my one-day Pebbles 1-2-3 beginner workshops, I used this composition as my demonstration painting. I shaded and coloured the stones, working around the butterfly and leaf shapes. I used my Lake Superior trip photos as inspiration for the specific stone markings.

As with all of my paintings, every colour in the painting was mixed from primary red, blue, and yellow paints. Once the background was finished, after the third workshop, I painted the Monarchs and leaf.

The title, Time to Head South, refers to the annual fall migration of Monarchs, to their winter habitat in the mountains of Mexico. I hope we see lots of their descendants here in Ontario next summer.

Click here to see more information about Time to Head South.

These paintings are just the beginning of my Superior collection. I look forward to sharing more of them with you.

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to see more painting stories, travel tales, studio news updates, or notices of upcoming painting classes and exhibitions.

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