Hollyhocks at the Lodge

Negative painting can be a tricky technique to approach in watercolour, but we tried it with our gang from the lodge and got some great results.  White hollyhocks were the perfect flower to start with.  There were a lot of jokes about fried eggs before we put the backgrounds in, but each painting ended up looking like bright fresh flowers.

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Snow Caps

I was taken by this image on the day of our first snow here in Northern Alberta: the bright colours of summer flowers each given a tall hat of snow, or a snow cap!  The vivid colours of one season contrasting with the fresh softness of the next called out to be made into a painting. I know this is candy coloured, and it even sparkles thanks to Daniel Smith’s Amethyst, but I like the happy greeting for winter:)



Water Music


I had a lot of fun with this chaos of reflections, flowers, ripples and whatever else was on, in or above the water.  I liked the strong zigzag across the narrow paper and the calmness of the water surface amid the crazy patterns.  You’ll notice that the reflections don’t seem to make sense… well, neither did they in the reference photo!

I once took a music appreciation course and learned a lot about tension and repose in a piece of music.  I think I can say that there is tension and repose in this painting.  My eye can hover for a moment on the flower cup or the flat blue areas before sliding down those reflected stems, whirling through the circular ripples, and bouncing from yellow spot to yellow spot.  That’s where the title Water Music comes from.  Someone more musical than I am might be able to hear the score that accompanies the painting.  I took music appreciation, after all, not Mastery of Music.

An interesting thing I noticed once I had finished: the lake that inspired this painting was Figure 8 Lake, and in the upper half of the painting I can see a Figure 8 pattern in the flowers and ripples.  This was unintentional, but I’m pleased 🙂

Having become very familiar with my painting while painting it for hours on end, I’m actually surprised to see how different the photo references are!  The painting has become the greater reality, the reality is a distant memory.


Figure Eight Lake

There is a small lake not far from Grimshaw, Alberta where the water is unusually clear and calm.  We enjoyed kayaking there last weekend, late into the evening when the air finally cooled.  It was very pleasant to drift around, peering into the water and hearing the kids splash in the swimming area. Here is a bed of water flowers we rested in on the far shore.