Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cooley Lake House--originally in The Artist's Magazine

"Cooley Lake House"

9" x 12"
watercolor on cold pressed paper

Did you ever have one of those times when everything just went right--things fell into place, your tools behaved as you wanted them to, and the colors of the world just sang to you?

That's how I felt when I did this painting--it just worked, for me.

The beautiful, honest old farm house with its broad, inviting porch is no longer there--it was on a new Missouri Department of Conservation acquisition, Cooley Lake Wildlife Area, and it was considered to be an "attractive nuisance," liable to be a danger or a target to vandals. I'm glad I painted it and its old barn before it was gone.

This is on an old oxbow of the Missouri River, before the channel moved, perhaps in the 1953 flood; what a view that would have been from the house! We've been there many times to watch the herons, ducks, and thousands of snow and Canada geese. It's much quieter now, as eutrophication has filled in the lakes until they're quite shallow, but it's still a great place to paint.



While watercolor is still quite damp, you can use the handle of an aquarelle brush, a cut-up credit card, or your fingernail to push color out of the way to make lighter areas.

Here you can also see a bit of spatter, some wet in wet work and even a tiny bit of salt to make the texture of the rough grasses whispering in the wind...

A figure, carefully painted, suggests the quiet and isolation. I scratched a bit of detail in the upper edge of the grassy area, can you see it?

Drybrush work with varied greens made good foliage; I connected the leaf masses with fine, dark lines to show the trunks and branches.

This is a favorite place to paint; I've done dozens at the wildlife area.

Painting in a series or in a specific locale helps to ground us, and there's never a reason to be bored--nature is too varied and interesting!


This painting will come to you matted but unframed for ease of shipping; it also allows me to keep costs down and make art available to more people!
I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.



  1. Love the painting and I love your mini-demo! Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Melissa! I miss that old house...glad you liked the demo!

  3. Cathy, this is beautiful. I just got home from a long day at work and this painting soothed me right down. I am a fan of old buildings, overgrown fields - things that remind me to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. The added treat to this post is your mini-demo - yay! Thank you.

  4. I love that too, Gabrielle...I imagine living there was lovely!

  5. You're right, the colours are exquisite and the painting is really lovely!

  6. Thank you, Maree, I love those times when everything falls together.


I'd love your feedback...please share your thoughts!


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