Sunday, September 15, 2013

Daybreak........The Privilege of Waking up at the Lake.

I got the idea for using the poured watercolor technique after seeing a few posts and video tutorials on Facebook. The videos gave step by step instructions and it looked like a lot of fun, so I thought I would give it a try.

We have a very recognizable group of trees on one of the islands at the lake. They stand like sentinels guarding a small thin strip of an island that contains nothing more than the remains of a dock and a fire pit and of course the trees. The trees are the scraggly type of pitch pines that grow in the Indian River Lakes Region and the Thousand Islands. I love their silhouettes and thought they would look great against a soft ethereal background. The poured watercolor technique just about begged to be used to help achieve this effect.

 I lightly sketched in the silhouettes of the trees and the shape of the island. I didn't mask the trees or land because I planned on letting the poured color become part of the final color of those area. I was thinking of the colors of the morning sky, yellows, pinks, purples and dashes of blue. After mixing a few colors and lots of water in Dixie cups, then getting my paper nice and wet, I poured the colors onto the paper, and let them run, mix and form new colors. I blotted up excess color and then left the painting to dry.

A few hours later I came back to the studio to look at the painting. I was very pleased with the soft veils of color, pinks and purples layered over one another and the yellows shooting through like the morning sun just breaking over the horizon. The trees and land received a few more coats of paint to make them stand out against the background. A soft line of trees, more implied than actually seen stretch across the background adding to the illusion of depth.

Every time I look at this painting I think of what a privilege it is to wake up at the lake. Seeing the mist lifting slowly off the water, hearing the loon's call in the distance as a lone fisherman casts his line into water so still, barely making a ripple. We are so lucky to have this privilege. And with this privilege comes a responsibility to insure that it will be there for future generations. Does the lake belong to us or do we belong to the lake? When we first bought our camp, I felt that the lake belonged to us. Right now I feel that I belong to the lake. And each morning that I wake up at the lake the privilege is renewed.


  1. I think you write like a poet, Joan. This is lovely. And your art technique sounds wonderful. I really would like to take some art lessons when I have more time. Janet F.

  2. Thanks Janet! I am thinking of putting a book together which would be instructional, but also have the added component of the inspiration behind a piece or some thoughts about the subject matter. Quite a few of my blog posts were written as instructional to help my students bridge the gap between the lessons presented in the classroom/studio and the pieces they paint on their own at home. But sometimes the story behind the painting just needs to get told too!