Watercolour and Collage Demo

Lake Louise Mood

By Karin Richter, CSPWC SCA ASA www.cosmopolitanart.net

Initial photograph of Lake Louise:

Lake Louise

Correct use of fan brush

Brushes used for this painting:

  • 2' flat wash brush
  • 1' flat sable brush
  • Small bristle fan brush (short hair, single row of hair)
  • No. 5 Round Sable
My thumbnail sketch

Colours used for this painting (Winsor & Newton professional quality W/C paints):

  • Permanent Magenta
  • Winsor Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue Deep
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Schmincke Prussian Green
Design patterns

I start by doing a thumbnail sketch to figure out my composition and the ever important values light, medium and dark of my painting. It only takes a few minutes and gives me an opportunity to correct any mistakes now rather than later when I am caught up in the excitement of painting.

Here I show the major design shapes of this painting.

My initial photograph of Lake Louise shows a moody day and I decide to keep my painting fairly monochromatic. I start by taping an 11' x 15' 140 lbs. sheet of Winsor and Newton W/C paper onto a board. I love this paper because I do not have to stretch it. It flattens right out. I lightly sketch in the placement of my major shapes. I taped the straight line of the water with masking tape to keep it level.

With a mixture of Permanent Magenta and Winsor Blue and my fan brush, I start fairly dry, dragging the brush over the paper, keeping handy my 1' flat brush to add water where needed to create the effect of mountains shrouded in clouds. I added a bit more Winsor Blue to finish the sky. Backruns are o.k. here, they look like clouds.

Close Up
Lifting Masking Tape

With the same colour mixture, only slightly thicker, I continue to paint the left side of the mountains, working in Prussian Green as I move down to the tree line. I finish the bottom part of the slopes and the right side of the scene with mostly Prussian Green, often dragging my fan brush vertically to give the impression of trees. I now lift my masking tape. I add shadows with the colour mix I had for the mountains, slightly thinned.

Detail of the water
Finished Painting – Stage 1

Now I paint the water/floating ice in the foreground by first drybrushing with the fan brush and quickly adding water as needed using Winsor Blue and a bit of the colour mix I used for the mountains above for some reflections. The painting now needs to dry thoroughly. I use a hairdryer.


The next step is to apply oriental rice papers. I use two kinds mostly. One fairly transparent with long irregular fibres in it, the other more opaque, light brown in colour with pieces of bark or leaves embedded in it.

I use an old brush to apply acrylic matte medium to adhere the papers to the painting. Medium goes on milky but dries clear. I now tear small pieces of these papers according to what the painting design may call for.

I look for the texture or direction of fibres that will enhance the brushstrokes already on my painting. I don't overdo it. I just apply the collage where beneficial, only to enhance, not to create a totally mixed media piece of art.

Finished painting: Lake Louise Mood

Once thoroughly dry, I assess what is in front of me and start painting into some areas, specifically the spaces between the fibres to further enhance the appearance of the rocks or trees or floating ice in the water. It gives the painting interest and a more three-dimensional painting.

Karin Richter Karin Richter has been a professional artist for 15 years. She is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the Society of Canadian Artists and the Alberta Society of Artists.

Her watercolours, oils, acrylics and pastels have been featured in countless shows locally, nationally and internationally. She is an enthusiastic teacher and workshop instructor to many aspiring artists.

Karin is a featured artist at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. Artnest Gallery in Calgary and Candler Art Gallery in Camrose., Alberta carry her work. You may visit her website at www.cosmopolitanart.net. She can be reached at karinrichter@shaw.ca.

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