Across the pond

I have spent a lot of time looking at water and trying to figure out how to paint it, and its mysteries have still not been fully revealed to me. But I have sketched the pond in Baie d’Urfé often enough to at least have a plan of attack for how I lay down the washes. I start with the blue (leaving the lily pads white) that is a reflection of the sky and gets deeper and cooler as it comes towards me. There’s lots of cerulean blue up near the rocks and some cobalt added in as it gets darker. When that’s really dry, I add the tree reflections in different layers of dark green. The light colours in the lily pads are next, and then there’s a final layer of really deep and dark greens under the lilies. This usually has some darker blues like Phthalo or Ultramarine and even some Alizarin in it. The rocks, foliage across the pond and foliage closest to me are next. The final step is the calligraphy — the little grasses and brush strokes that are mostly done with a rigger.


20 Comments on “Across the pond”

  1. Chris Kopet says:

    Love this one! Elegant


  2. Vivifier says:

    Hey Shari,
    Just want to let you know I follow your blog now for a few months and I really like and admire your work! This one is again soooo pretty and well build up!
    Thanks a lot for your inspiration and all the tips you spread into the world 🙂


  3. Meg says:

    I love that you take the time to explain how you go about your paintings.. It’s so helpful for those of us who view your work and wonder ‘how does she DO that?’


  4. This is just wonderful. Love all the deep dark greens.


  5. Patti says:

    Love your explanation of the various colours and layering. It really helps us folks just starting out with watercolour. Beautiful!


  6. Mary says:

    Enchanting Shari 🙂 Maybe that’s why Monet had his lily ponds down to perfection… from
    painting them over and over again, he knew where he was going just like you and your pond !


  7. Gloria says:

    Have been following your posts for a couple of months now and am really enjoying all your work. I do not paint anymore (painted with oils about 40 years ago) but I am getting the urge to try my hand with watercolors. You are an inspiration, thank you for sharing your talent.


  8. Vicky Porter says:

    I’m always fascinated by your process. Thank you for sharing it. This sketch is wonderful!


  9. Jane Hannah says:

    Hi Shari — thank you for the steps, this was really really helpful! And beautiful at the same time -)


  10. Oui, quelle générosité de ta part! J’aime beaucoup.


  11. Pat Brookes says:

    I really appreciate the way you explain why and how you did what you did to paint such a beautiful scene.


  12. Jody says:

    Watercolor painting works best for me when I have a plan, just as you have laid out here. Thanks for detailing your steps, it helps me remember to make that plan. Your color is always so clean and the shapes just the correct value. Thanks for puttng the work into posting. jody


  13. Marko says:

    I can’t tell how much I enjoy jour postings – your blog is one of half a dozen I visit daily, and a valuable source of constant inspiration and motivation. Thanks for your dedication!


  14. anne farmer says:

    I agree with Jody about having a plan. Wonderful picture.


  15. Lee Kline says:

    You capture water and reflections with elegance… Lovely.


  16. CRayArtMusic says:

    Water is tough. Very well done


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