Copyright April M Rimpo

Visit April's website
Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Reflections III" watercolor 24" X 16"

"Reflections III" by April M. Rimpo
Reflections III"  • SOLD
Fluid Acrylic and Watercolor
24" X 16" image
30" X 22" brushed silver frame

I am always drawn to dramatic reflections in the water, especially on a still lake.  As you can imagine Mirror Lake on South Island New Zealand is known for its reflections.  Per my normal mode of operation I took many photographs of this lake.  I especially liked the one that is the inspiration for this painting, but I knew it needed modifications to make it an interesting painting. What was in my minds eye was more abstract and had a strong rhythmic interplay between the mirror affect in the lake and the foliage along the bank. 

To develop a design I played around with abstractions derived from the photograph, maintaining the textures of the foliage to act as a foil to the fluid color transitions in other areas. Long spikes pushed into the fluid lake with the intent to pull you back into the textural sides and bring them together.  

A spot of texture in the upper left creates some balance with the large mass of texture on the right. White and Pthalo blue are bounced around the painting to provide color cohesion.

To create this painting I used mask to protect the lightest spots, painted a light wash, added more mask when dry, then repeated this process 3 or 4 times gradually increasing the strength of color with each layer.  The photos below show three stages of development.

The left photograph shows the painting after the first layer of mask dried and an initial wash was applied.  Several more layers of paint and mask had been applied when the middle photograph was taken.  At this point there is so much mask, which looks hard when dry, you really can't tell what the painting looks like.  The photograph on the right was taken after I removed all the masking.  Of course it was pretty stark and needed a lot more work.  I did a lot of blending to integrate the hard edges.  I added more darks to get to the stronger color values that I prefer in my art.  To do this now that the mask is gone I use negative painting (where you paint around light areas) to bring in the darkest colors.

What else did I do? 
  • I added swirls of color in the fluid area so all the detail isn't on the right side. This included a lot  of dark purples and pthalo green in the water
  • The spike got some interesting textural notes and pale color washes to give a sense of depth
  • The lower left needed some color to provide a path into the painting
  • The right side was given more pthalo blue to balance it with the water
  • Splashes of purple were bounced around the painting
I think the transition from the image on the far right to the final painting really made the painting.  Apparently Linda Baker, the juror for the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society International Watermedia 2013 "Legacy", also appreciated the result.  She selected Reflections III for inclusion in that exhibition.    
* Contact April regarding purchase outside the United States


  1. WOW! The painting is absolutely stunning! But I'm so mesmerized by your technique... I don't quite understand where the masking was applied in each photo. do you apply more masking over top of previously painted areas? Can you do that? I'm so intrigued by this and I'd love to see more posts about how to use the masking technique effectively.

  2. As long as you let the paper dry thoroughly before you apply the masking fluid you can apply more masking. It is hard to see the masking as you build the layers up, even in person. In this painting I basically painted with the masking fluid to preserve portions of the last wash where I thought I wanted that value and trusted it was going to come out. The biggest trick to the soften the edges of the mask after you remove it so you don't have harsh transitions.

  3. Congratulations April on being juried into an International Exhibition! How exciting! The painting is really striking. I love the abstraction you created and the soft flowing patterns of blues and greens in contrast with the sharp spiky bits in the foliage. Beautiful.

    1. thank you for your kind words, Claire. I am often a bit more literal. It was fun to focus just on design in this piece.


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

Most Popular Posts This Month

Most Popular Posts of All Time