Fulmer Lake in Idyllwild

“Fulmer Lake” – 15″ x 11″ – watercolor on paper

I don’t have the opportunity to paint water too often, so this weekend was a special treat as we went, among other places, to Fulmer Lake in Idyllwild, California as some members of our watercolor class convened for a weekend plein air paintout.

It was a weekend of intense learning, practicing and friendship, and I loved every minute of it. This painting, which was done relatively quickly as the sun was setting behind the trees of Lake Fulmer, was both fun and challenging. Parts of it were painted wet into wet, while others were glazed wet over dry.

One of the biggest challenges was the constant breeze off the lake, which dried the paper very quickly. There was little time to dawdle or deliberate.

To answer a question that someone asked recently “calligraphic brushstrokes” are the final marks put on a paper that suggest branches, trees, weeds, iron railings, crevices in rocks, phone lines … just about anything that is a darker linear accent. They may be curving, staccato, dot-like, straight – any shape that serves the purpose. In this ainting, the branches in the yellow tree are calligraphic in nature.

The limited palette of warm and cool colors were chosen to convey calmness and serenity, with a late afternoon glow.


  1. carole
    May 14, 2007

    This is incredibly beautiful. It looks such a peaceful place. You’ve done a great job at making the water look wet – those reflections are dreamy and thoughtful.

    I’m probably not the first, but I’m afraid I’ve tagged you. :)

  2. alison
    May 14, 2007

    Yes, you’ve caught such a serene mood – the limited pallete works so well.

  3. Ronell
    May 14, 2007

    This is a lovely painting Karen and I simply adore the colors…what perfect treatment on the water!

  4. Virginia Hanley
    May 14, 2007

    That’s the look I wanted for the water in my little sketch! Wet! Well, the pond had ripples, and yours looks like still water; nevertheless–if I could just transfer your water into my little sketch…. Lovely work, as usual, Karen.

  5. hfm
    May 14, 2007

    Love the transparency!

  6. Linda
    May 14, 2007

    Beautiful painting — wonderful water! I love the mix of cool and warm — perfect!

  7. Jo Castillo
    May 14, 2007

    Karen, this is a beautiful plein air. Spring .. soft and warm .. great water. Thanks for sharing your weekend. Doesn’t painting at a paint out get you fired up?

    Nice work,

  8. Sherie
    May 22, 2007

    I cannot believe that when I tagged you that I forgot to mention just how beautiful this piece is. So peaceful and relaxing. Love that water and the subtle colors of the foliage.

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