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.”.
This is the photo I took of the lotus plant I wanted to paint.
I began with a black and white painting on grey paper as a value study.
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.
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.