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Painting Botswana Lagoon in Watercolor

By Mary Ann Boysen


Botswana Lagoon is another painting on Watercolor canvas, handled in a much different way than the Winter Feeding Ground. This one is basically opaque, and looks much like an acrylic painting. The decision to make it more opaque is that there were many items in the painting, and it is quite large: 40" x 50". I found it a bit difficult dealing with transparency on such a large scale when the canvas does not absorb color, but lets it run!

Botswana Lagoon - Watercolor Landscape

In order to maintain control of the botswana lagoon color, I added a touch of Permanent White Gouache to all the pigments used. It only takes a small amount so that you don't destroy the intensity of the color desired. When the white is added, the paint becomes more pliable and juicy. I was able to manipulate the color with greater ease.

I began with the sky and tried to keep it transparent, but it became obvious that I could not maintain any depth of color, so I also added a touch of white to the blue so that I could handle it more easily.

By the way, the sky color was painted over the entire canvas so that the water would be a total reflection of the sky. Then, of course, I began with the greens in the background, middle ground and next the lily pads themselves.

They are not all the same color green and when the edges turn up, another color rears its head! At least there was some complement to the green. In working this large, I found it difficult to paint around the tiny lily pad blossoms, so I didn't! I had originally masked a few of them, but ended up mixing more white with the blue and painting them over the other objects.

Oil painters do this all the time. Why can't I?

The last details were the dark reeds in the foreground and middle ground. The middle ground was detailed with some negative painting for depth, and I had to stand at the side of the painting to paint the tall grasses that go off the top of the page. Whatever works! In this case, I even used my left hand, since they were on the left side of the painting, and it was too difficult to reach from the other end. We artists must stand on our heads sometimes!

Return to Watercolor Landscape from Botswana Lagoon

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