Summer Memories (watercolour 18 x 24", shown above) is part of a series of paintings focusing on reflections in calm northern lakes. I love the clarity of light in this scene, where a swimming raft floats in the perfect calm of a new day, lily pads rest serenely on the surface, and the clear water reveals ancient stones near the shore. Looking at this peaceful place, the viewer remembers lakeside memories just like this.
Step 1 (above)
This painting began with a graded wash of blue paint, darker at top and bottom, to represent the clear blue sky and its reflection in the foreground water. When that was dry I drew a pencil outline of all objects in the scene, using several photos as reference.
Step 2 (above)
I masked off the waterlily leaves and some thin lines on the water near the horizon with masking fluid. When dry, I added several more layers of blue to the top and bottom of the scene, making sure to keep the horizon area white. This gives the effect of glowing light.
Step 3 (above)
The next day, after the blue paint layers were fully dry, I added shadows around and within the underwater stones.
Step 4 (above)
Once the stones were fully dry, I removed the masking fluid from the waterlily leaves and painted them.
Step 5 (above)
I began to paint the grisaille layer on the far shore and reflections. This gray paint locks in the shadow details of the pencil drawing while I can still see it clearly. There will be more colour layers added later.
Step 6 (above)
Once the grisaille layer was fully dry, I started blocking in several different green sections on the far shore and reflections. This variety of colour will make the trees look more natural.
Step 7 (above)
After adding a third layer of colour to the far shore and reflections, I painted the raft and its reflection, which took several layers to achieve the depth of colour needed for the shadowed parts. Then I removed the thin horizonal lines of masking fluid near the far shore and painted them pale blue. This simulates the effect of a slight breeze in the distance.
Once the paint was fully dry, I mounted the watercolour paper to an archival wood panel, then varnished to provide protection from UV fading, then mounted the panel in a black wood floater frame to complete 'Summer Memories', watercolour 18 x 24".
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.