Enjoy the exquisite watercolor portfolio of Canadian artist Karen Richardson, and visit her website to see more of her work.
I am a professional artist, painting instructor, and author of Watercolour Toolbox: Essentials for Painting Success, and live in a picturesque tourist town near Toronto, Canada.
My husband and I love to travel and discover new horizons together. Wherever we go, whether exploring by motorcycle, on our snowmobile, by ATV, in our kayaks, on cross country skis, or on foot, I capture memories with a pocket sized camera. Back in our travel trailer or at home in my studio, I use my photos as reference for my paintings.
Since 1977, our travels have taken us to New Zealand, Tuscany, the Caribbean, Mexico, every state in the U.S., and all provinces and two territories in Canada. Although every region has been wonderful to explore, my favourite North American destinations are Newfoundland, Yukon Territory, and Utah. In the last few years I have included travel stories in my studio blog.
In my artistic life, my most outstanding moments happen when I create a painting that seems greater than the sum of its parts, when people buy my artwork because they absolutely love it, and when one of my painting students suddenly grasps an important concept during a workshop.
The painting subjects that resonate most deeply with me combine organic and inorganic elements, often flowers and stones. Have you noticed, there is something in the human psyche that draws many of us to collect interesting rocks, to display in our homes and gardens? Notably, the most popular subject in my beginner painting workshops is beach pebbles.
The inherent contrast of flowers and stones (soft/hard, fleeting/enduring, brilliant/dull) provides drama and an element of surprise in my paintings, inviting viewers to take a second look. The goal is to inspire a thoughtful awareness of the natural world. My motto is “Making the world a happier place… One painting at a time.”
Since I seldom find the ‘perfect’ flower near the ‘ideal’ stones, I usually select several reference photos and construct an imaginary scene to render in paint.
I work in a realistic style, so start with thumbnails and then a full size layout drawing, which I transfer to watercolour paper. Using just primary colours, I make colour tests prior to starting a painting, to make sure I can mix all the colours I require to depict the scene.
Using a limited palette gives better unity to a painting and helps make the lighting in my imaginary scene look more harmonious. I build up the colour in transparent layers, usually starting with mid-tones and progressing to darks in the final layers. Whites and highlights are created by leaving the paper bare.
My plans for the future are to continue enjoying a healthy lifestyle, in which travel, photography, painting, and collecting stones play a major part.