Tanum Pond in Sweden, zoomed in and cropped

Studies of Water Reflections for my Paintings (1)

As an artist having a change of scenery does wonders for inspiration. 2020 was a write-off for me in most ways but in 2021 I learned to dig deeper into myself to find inspiration in the ordinary and mundane. 2022 has started me on a New Year Daily Drawing Challenge, and in the process of thinking about what I was going to draw I discovered some amazing things.

I had done a couple of portraits of my soon-to-be-lost Bird of Paradise plant for Day 2 and 3 but it quickly became apparent that I already had multiple portraits of all my plants.

By January 4, Day 4 of the challenge, I was truly stumped about what to draw. But as luck would have it Cee’s Challenge that day was ‘Water, Water Everywhere’. I quickly put together a post called ‘Shimmer Like Rippling Light on Water’ and in the process remembered that I had wanted to do studies of reflections on ponds.

A watercolour sketch I had done in the late spring of 2020 (10 Paintings in 10 Days Challenge) featured flag irises reflected in a nearby duckpond, where I realized that water and its reflections made an interesting addition to a painting.watercolour in my sketchbook of the contrast of the light yellow irises against dark green pond and dark reflections against light sky reflection
I grabbed this image of a pond at Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre in Sweden. Months earlier I had cut it up into heavily zoomed-in pieces which I started working from. Pond at Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre in Sweden

This crop, from the upper one third of the pond, contained white marks to the left and a green reflection to the right, both of which were quite intriguing to me.Tanum Pond in Sweden, zoomed in and cropped

I started a study of a pond by putting down watercolour washes over white crayon slashes. Then I realized it would have to be quite dry before I started drawing on it so I put it aside and did a pencil sketch focussing on the positive/negative interaction. I really had to think about what I was doing – thankfully all my erasures added yet another dimension to the drawing! (Day 4)Pencil sketch of a pond reflection

Day 5, January 5th, a sketch based on the left side of the blow-up. The colours were a bit dull in this particular sketchbook paper but once I added pencil it livened it up a lot.watercolour, crayon and pencil sketch of a pond reflection

At one point in prepping it for the web I accidentally scaled it disproportionately but thought I’d add it because it makes the water look as if it’s fast flowing.faster moving distorted pond

The addition of pale yellow floating leaves.Tanum Pond in Sweden, zoomed in and cropped

At this point I was a bit disappointed in the colours in my small 5″ x 7″ sketch book. Not really designed for watercolour, the colours were immediately absorbed into the paper and turned dull, not at all like the shimmery blues and greens I wanted. I tried testing out the difference in watercolour between different papers, the bottom designed for watercolour, the top not. However, the book with appropriate paper was four times larger and I knew I would never be able to keep up doing a sketch a day at that size. So it was back to the small sketchbook.Testing out the difference in colour between different papers

Day 6, a sketch in crayon, watercolour and pencil. This turned out a lot darker than I was hoping for, less about reflections and more about the leaves floating on the pond; also the strange whitish markings at the top.
watercolour and pencil sketch trying to capture the leaves and ripples in a pond reflection in Tanum, Sweden

An impression of glimmers in the water of Tanum pond for Day 7.impression of the water in Tanum pond

Final Day 7 sketch.watercolour and pencil sketch trying to capture the blue glimmer of a pond reflection in Tanum, Sweden

Another small section of a pond in Tanum, Sweden, trying to capture the blue glimmer.
impression of the water in Tanum pond

Final Day 8 Tanum pond sketch.
watercolour and pencil sketch trying to capture the blue glimmer of a pond reflection in Tanum, Sweden

More of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Water.


15 thoughts on “Studies of Water Reflections for my Paintings (1)

      1. Oh…I love yours, but I am only dabbling myself. Sometimes, when I choose something I really love, it is OK. But I love the feeling when I paint and sketch – you make me shine when you say you appreciated it! Thank you so much!

    1. Artistic talent is mostly about ways of interpreting your vision of the world and many photographers, including you, are quite talented at this. I checked out your water post and found several images that I wouldn’t mind exploring in detail if I didn’t have so many of my own!

  1. A totally enjoyable and educational post! I think the steps you do to accomplish your images are amazing and so is the final painting. I’m happy that you use photography to guide you. Your art is beautiful.

    1. Staying inside due to COVID had me working from photos, something I don’t normally do. Once I started to crop them and look at the detail, I discovered a whole new way to look at things – the sketch challenge was an inspiring way to spend a dreary plague-ridden January.

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