Sunday, December 15, 2013

Nelson Lake Custom Landscape Painting in Watercolor

Detail of "Nelson Lake" watercolor
Nelson Lake is a beautiful lake in northern Ontario. The client's family owned property right on the water for decades and she wanted a special gift for her parents. So she ordered a watercolor of the lake as viewed from the property. What a great idea!

Read along and I'll show you how I paint the full scene below. You can click the images to see them larger. Or skip to the finished piece.

Alison has detailed instructions about what she wants shown in the painting. This is helpful when doing custom work as it allows me to understand what is most important to include.

The island (in the detail above) must show clearly because the family used to pick wild blueberries there.

Since there will be a picnic table in the foreground, I suggest a basket of blueberries on the table. Alison likes the idea and sends me pictures of the baskets they used.
I do a few sketches to work out what I want to do for the composition. Then I transfer the drawing to the watercolor paper and begin with soft washes of color in the sky and the lake, using a rosy glow to indicate a peaceful morning scene:

You can see the picnic table and a stone fireplace with a chimney in the foreground.

Birch trees are common in northern Ontario. There are birches to the left of the picnic area, so I paint the shadow sides with blues and grays:

Next I deepen some of the colors in the water and add washes of grayed blue and green to the distant hills:

When those washes are dry, I add details to the hills and deeper, warmer values to the island and closer hills. This visually brings them forward. I also paint the foliage in the foreground trees. Adding a touch of warm yellow gives a hint of morning sunlight on the leaves:

Now that the lake and hills are finished, I can work on the foreground.

First I paint the foliage at the edge of the lake and details for the tree trunks:

Then I paint the bright flowers blooming in the foreground. I think they are marigolds, but Alison was not sure. They could be wildflowers. I also paint the brick patio and stony earth in the foreground:

The last details include the fireplace, picnic table and blueberry baskets. We had not discussed a fire in the fireplace, but I add one to give warmth and life to the foreground. Alison is happy with the addition. It looks ready for a pot of coffee and blueberry pancakes!

Below is the completed painting. I'm sure it will bring fond memories to the family.

Nelson lake is a beautiful lake in northern Ontario
"Nelson Lake" Ontario custom watercolor painting

I'm happy to take custom orders. Contact me for a custom painting of your pet, home, garden, grandkids, favorite vacation spot or whatever your heart desires.
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