There is something in the air, a time of change. Our rather thin rainy season is trading places with our dry season and summer has stepped in close enough to spread warmer temperatures and bright sunshine over the islands. By now most of the Kolea, have left for their cooler northern breeding grounds, and local birds are rushing to build nests, raise their young, and in a matter of weeks, take off to enjoy the world under bright blue skies.

The birds are not the only ones feeling the energy in the air, the sense that a season’s wheel is turning even here in the tropics, the garden seems to be feeling it too.

Nympaea Colorado

Nymphaea Colorado

Passing by a group of water tubs that had laid green and dormant over the rainy season, there was a nymph waving at me, well, a Nymphaea or water lily that is, with a peach colored glow.

There is something in the air, and seeing the unexpected pop of color appear seemingly out of nowhere inspires me to get back to playing in water as well.

With an idea already in mind I start by pulling out three previously collaged watercolor papers, part of a group I did last summer to have on hand for something just like this.  Sometimes when an idea pops in for a visit I want to get to painting as quickly as possible before they leave again so it helps to have a little stock pile of prepared papers on hand.

Trio of collaged watercolor papers

Trio of collaged watercolor papers (11″x15″)

A glass of iced tea close by, reference photos at the ready, and I am off.  Starting with a sketch of the flowers using a water soluble graphite pencil, I want to take advantage of the abstract collage and draw over and under some of the papers.


Beginning Sketch


The next step is adding the watercolors and in the process lifting and blending some of the graphite lines with the paint.  The watercolors are nice enough, but wanting something a bit more opaque and with texture I reach for water soluble crayons to deepen the color and highlight the bumpy terrain of the collaged papers.

Watercolor and crayon

Watercolor and crayon

Once I have finished the flowers, my attention turns to the top border area.  Wanting to keep the water garden theme I draw out lotus leaves with a watercolor pencil. Liking the idea of a division between night and day, out comes the Moon in a cool darkened sky.

Adding the top

Adding the top border

Finally, to balance things out and bring the focus back to the bottom portion where the water lilies are blooming, I go in to the background with more watercolor, lightly adding clear water to allow for more movement and letting the color find its way over the ridges of the collaged paper beneath, pooling in the valleys and sliding over the smoother areas.

Now it is time to set this aside for a bit.  I still have two more prepared papers from this trio to play with, I like working in threes, and will continue on this path for the both of them though painting different types of water lilies for each.  When they are done I will collect all three and view them together and see if anything else will be added before moving on in my journey.  There is something in the air, the seasons have changed, and more creative paths are waiting to be explored.

Nymphaea Colorado

Nymphaea Colorado