Paint out at Bird’s Pond

Carolyn and Judy took advantage of a sunshiny day in September to paint outdoors at Bird’s Pond.  We expected the geese to be clamoring in the water, mustering the troops for the great migration south.  Instead, there was no wildlife to be seen.  All was quiet and still.  Then, from the far shore, we spotted these swans with their cygnets.  They came much closer after we had started our paintings with just one swan each.

DSCF5848birdsBird'sbutter and eggs


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.


Wellington – Erased

Removing the masking and the extra blobs of paint makes a big difference.  The colours are bright and clean again.  As are those glaring white spots.  Now the traditional watercolour work begins.  Hooray for picky details!  This is back to familiar territory.  Jeepers, that horse looks like Gollum.  Happy Anniversary my Precioussssss…  OK, time to get to work and fix this painting!


Wellington – Adding Darks

Here is the point of no return… I’ve masked once more and I’ve added the dark darks.  Not the darkest darks, but very close to it.

Speaking of heart stopping moments, it was at about this stage in the painting’s progression when Joshua almost saw it.  I was hiding it while it dried in a cookie sheet on top of the cupboards.  It was very safe until Joshua dried another baking pan and climbed onto a stool to put it away, bringing his eyes to Wellington level!  I hollered at him not to look up there!  He ducked and covered (excellent balance, good thing) and has probably had a cookie sheet phobia ever since.  But I think I saved the secret.  I hope so.

Notice I’m keeping my options open on the colour of the traffic cone.  In reality it is painted black to match the statue, but I like the brighter, glowing red right now.  We’ll see what happens.


Wellington – First Masking

Because I’m using the pouring technique on this painting, I need to use the lengthy detailed masking technique as well.  The first round isn’t too bad: I can still see all the lines and everything is black and white (I mean to say, it is easy to figure out what will be white and what will be covered in paint).