Earthbound Artist

How to Paint Newfoundland Beach Rocks

08 April, 2015 3 comments Leave a comment

Have you wondered how to paint lifelike rocks? Check out this progression of photos from my recent watercolour class, 'Newfoundland Beach Rocks'.

Here are my four students working hard on their paintings.

First, I sketched a contour drawing in pencil on 300 lb watercolour paper, and masked out the white caps on the waves with masking fluid. Then, using New Gamboge, Antwerp Blue, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson, I mixed up some dull washes of paint and applied them to the boulders, using a darker mixture towards the bottom of each rock, and a lighter mixture on the tops. (The entire painting was created using only these three colours of paint.)

I wet the sky area with clear water and dropped in some blue and grey mixtures, leaving some white areas to represent clouds.

While the sky dried, I painted the ocean area using a slightly darker mix of blue. I pre-wet only the calm section directly under the headland, and then added horizontal strokes of blue, interspersed with strokes of clear water, starting at the top and working my way down toward the near shore. This produced the effect of waves. I added darker blue under the white caps.

When the sky and ocean areas were dry, I painted in the distant headland using a charcoal grey mixture. Then I dropped in spots of clear water to create intentional 'blooms' or pale shapes, simulating the look of distant shadowed cliffs.

Applying paint to dry paper, I started adding some stripes to the boulders, using various mixtures of grey and tan.

I completed adding stripes to most of the large boulders, and darkened the rock shadow areas using a dark grey mixture. I also darkened the ocean with a more vivid Antwerp Blue layer, and removed the masking fluid, to complete 'Newfoundland Beach Rocks', 10 x 8".

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Miami Book Awards Ceremony

25 January, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment


These are the official photos of me accepting my medal and a framed illustration award from the Reader's Favorite Book Awards, for my book Watercolour Toolbox: Essentials for Painting Success.

I was one of about 250 authors honoured at the ceremony, which was held in the nightclub of the Regency Hotel Miami last November, during the week-long Miami Book Fair International festivities.

Among the award winners were two authors from Canada, some from Australia, Denmark, England and other foreign countries, with the majority from the US. Everyone was dressed in suits and party dresses, just like the Academy Awards in miniature! My husband and I had a grand time that evening, chatting with authors and their spouses, all with interesting life stories to tell (go figure!).

We also spent a morning walking through the street fair portion of the Book Fair. There were hundreds of booths showcasing authors, publishers, publicists, printers, and other facets of the international book industry. Many venues hosted seminars and presentations by writers.


The first picture above shows me with my book in front of the Reader's Favorite booth, and the second gives a view of part of the Book Fair, which took up about six city blocks in downtown Miami. I tell you, the book industry is a whole other world out there...

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Blue Rose of Sharon Wins Mayor's Award

26 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Isn't it interesting how most artists need affirmation of their work? That is certainly the case with me, and I received a great boost this week.

At the PineRidge Arts Council's 15th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, my watercolour painting Blue Rose of Sharon (pictured above with me at the opening reception) won the Mayor's Award and a cash prize.

It was an honour to have Ajax Mayor Steve Parish present the award to me on Friday night (see photo above).

He made a lovely speech beforehand, touching on the recent, tragic murder of a Canadian soldier as he stood guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Mayor Parish noted how art can bring all people together in harmony, no matter their religious or ethnic backgrounds, and he reminded all of us how necessary art is to bind multicultural communities together.

The Juried Exhibition is on display at the McLean Community Centre in Ajax, Ontario, until November 22. About 60 art pieces are on display, chosen from 178 entries.

Thanks to Mary Cook, PRAC photographer and webmistress, for taking the photos and sharing them with me.

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Watercolour Toolbox Wins More International Awards

29 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

I have some exciting news to share.

Readers' Favorite Book Awards announced recently that my art instruction book, Watercolour Toolbox: Essentials for Painting Success, has won an Illustration Award, as well as a Bronze Medal in the 'Non-Fiction Home/Crafts' category of their 2014 book competition. The awards will be presented at the annual Miami Book Fair International in November.

Earlier this year, my book was a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and a Bronze Medal winner in the How-To category at the Independent Publisher Book Awards, both held in New York City.

When I wrote Watercolour Toolbox, I focused all of my talent and energy into offering simple solutions that would help artists overcome universal artistic challenges. I illustrated the manuscript with photos of 40 of my watercolour paintings, and chose FriesenPress as my publisher because they could make my book available virtually anywhere books are sold. I wanted to share my painting techniques and strategies with as many people as possible.

It feels great to have my efforts recognized internationally, as each of these competitions attracted thousands of entries worldwide.

For more details about where to purchase my book, visit


Richardson Destination Revealed

16 June, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

After years of searching for a suitable property throughout central Ontario, from Owen Sound to Bancroft to Brighton, we have selected a home in Lindsay, (30 minutes NE of Port Perry) and will be moving there this summer.

We've been packing like mad since selling our Port Perry home at the end of April. It's amazing how much you accumulate after 22 years in the same place, and we have done lots of purging and downsizing.

Many people have asked if I will be teaching after we move. I do plan to offer painting classes in our new home, starting in 2015, after we are settled in and finish remodeling.

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Book Wins International Awards

19 May, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment



I'm delighted to let you know, my painting instruction book Watercolour Toolbox won a bronze medal in the 'How-To' category at the Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York City this spring.

This international competition attracted over 5,500 entries, from all 50 U.S. states, 9 Canadian provinces and 32 other countries.

Watercolour Toolbox also was a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards that were announced in May, and was awarded a Five Star Review from the Reader's Favorite Book Awards earlier this spring.

It's lovely to have my book recognized by industry experts, but it is the appreciation my readers and painting students express that really warms my heart.

Where to buy Watercolour Toolbox

Record Turnout at Farewell Studio Tour

05 May, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment


Due to our upcoming move from the Port Perry area, this spring was my final chance to host a site on the Lake Scugog Studio Tour.

I was delighted to welcome 450 visitors to my place on the first weekend in May. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with everyone and had record sales. Several keen patrons purchased art and books from my web site before the tour even started.

The photo above shows visitors' shoes in my foyer on the tour weekend. There was even more footwear piled outside on the porch. We were busy!

Thanks to all of you who went home as happy new owners of my paintings, prints, books and art cards. My artwork will be much happier in your home than in a moving van. (And I have much less to pack now!)

Here's a sampling of the paintings I sold during the Studio Tour:



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Grad Photos from my April Watercolour Workshops

14 April, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

The first half of April was busy with more workshops learning how to paint realistic stones. The workshops were one or two days in duration, all at my Port Perry studio. Check out these smiles:


Sand Pebbles 1-2-3


Underwater Stones (class #2):


Underwater Stones (class #3):

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Grad Photos from my March Painting Workshops

31 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Here are the smiling faces from my March Watercolour Workshops. Everyone worked hard, had some laughs and learned a lot.

Sand Pebbles 1-2-3:


Evening Light:


Underwater Stones:

Subscribe to Karen's Newsletter if you wish to receive timely email notices about future watercolour classes.

Karen Richardson Artwork Featured on Artsy Shark

19 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

I had some great news today - I am thrilled to be the feature artist on, which is an American web-based company that teaches professional artists how to promote their work.

I started following Artsy Shark's blog about a year ago, when I was investigating ways to market my art instruction book Watercolour Toolbox, and found their blog posts to be full of great advice on all aspects of art marketing.

I applied last fall to be featured, but did not know until today when my work would be showcased.

The article captures my story in a nutshell - how traveling with my camera inspires my artwork and my art classes - and is illustrated with ten of my paintings of rocks and flowers.

Here is the link to the photo article.

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