Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW

Carolyn Rondthaler conveys the feeling of serenity in her watercolor “Lotus”

Editor’s note: In this post, Carolyn describes how she went about creating her watercolor Lotus, after seeing a potted lotus. Her painting is currently part of the show “Summer Work” at the CHAW Gallery, 545 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC. 

In July I went to a reunion of friends in Portland, Oregon, where I used to live. One of the things we did was to go to formal Chinese gardens, called Lan Su. While there, I saw something I had never see before—lotus plants in bloom in planters. There were several of them, and one, set in front of carved doors, inspired my painting “Lotus.”.

Carolyn 2

This is the photo I took of the lotus plant I wanted to paint.

Carolyn 3

I began with a black and white painting on grey paper as a value study.


Carolyn 4

I noticed that the strongest colors in my photograph were pink and green. I did a color study and decided to do a painting with a very limited palette. I chose the complementary colors of red and green, remembering that in watercolor pink is “watered-down” red.  The browns are all combinations of those two colors.

Carolyn Rondthaler LOTUS watercolor

I then started working on the composition for painting and did some rearranging of the background so that the main bloom would be against a dark space and the carved background would be simplified and not compete with the lotus plant.
I am pleased with the result. I think limiting the palette helped convey the feeling of serenity that I experienced when I first saw this type of lotus.

About wisemarian

2 comments on “Carolyn Rondthaler conveys the feeling of serenity in her watercolor “Lotus”

  1. cmrondthaler
    September 12, 2018

    Thank you Marion for a superlative job on this.


    • wisemarian
      September 12, 2018

      You are welcome! Just as the CHAW show is such a good way for visitors to be engaged with art, I think publishing these posts on the blog about each of us is about the best thing we can do with the blog. See you next week


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This entry was posted on September 12, 2018 by in Artist process, Watercolor and tagged .
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