After Monet produced his series of water lilly paintings, can anyone else take them on? It is a beautiful subject and coincidentally the “birth flower” of July. When I was at Lake Alta recently, I took a number of reference photos. I wish I’d done some onsite sketches, but the photos I took are making pretty good reference.

Water Lilly Shadows, Lake Alta CA

Waterlillies, Alta Lake – Oil on Linen – 11×14

I found the shadows left by the water lillies on the shallow lake shore intriging, along with the reflected sky. I added the flowers towards the end (they were not in this reference photo, but others). I wonder if it’s too much? Perhaps one of them should be closed, to add variety? I think I’ll leave out flowers in the next painting, or focus on them alone. Adding too much to a painting takes away focus.

I’m happy with the color harmony. Most of the leaves were green, but some were aparently in their later stages, so were turning brown. It was a challenge to separate these turning leaves from the warm colors of the lake bottom. As always, to separate the colors, I used different base colors, eg, Hansa Yellow Orange for the lake bottom, and Yellow Ochre for the turning leaves. Similarly, when I want to separate differnet leave types, I’ll use different pairs of blues and yellows.

3 thoughts on “Water Lillies on Lake Alta

  1. Bart Westgeest says:

    I think it is a true beauty! Marvellous colours – fresh and strong.
    Don’t think the flowers are “too much” as the leaves and the reflection of the sky “steal the show”.

  2. Rob Mackintosh says:

    Nice painting Ed, the excitement of the sky reflection dancing on the water looks terrific, and invites my eye toward the lillies. I also like the subltle colour changes in the upper right to middle of the dark water. (to me. thats what separates a painting from a contrasty photo–in a photo there is nothing in the darks but dark)

    Regarding the flowers –in vs out, as you were thinking, I like them in, but that first (closest) flower toward the mid of the painting is close to the edge, and could leave some pink line reflection on the water that kisses the edge of the sky reflection. To me then the flowers would definately “belong” to the painting, because reflection locks it in solidly as “being there” as well give a bit of further pink colour distribution–much like triangulation.

  3. Rob, I see what you mean about reflecting the water lilly in the water. Good catch. I’m going to do a number of other studies, although I don’t have many reference. Need to go back!

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