See how this outdoor painter considered her options for capturing a “Joyful Day” in watercolor at Acadia National Park.
By Marjorie Glick
On a 2018 painting trip to Acadia National Park, the idea for the watercolor painting “Joyful Day” (above) was born. Sunlight, clear water, ocean waves, sunshine, and a perfect breeze. Sitting by the ocean, feet in the water, on a perfect rock, and using another nearby rock for a table — I immediately knew that I wanted to paint a large watercolor of this place. Being in this moment was pure joy, and the title came to me while I was sitting there.
The challenge was to choose which aspect and which composition would best describe my experience. I wanted to paint it all but I had to narrow it down.
I was struck by the transparency and activity of the water, the grandeur of the rocks, and the stream flowing into the ocean from the mountains. Acadia is described as where the mountains meet the sea.
To begin, I warmed up with a quick sketch of the rocks — because the color complexity didn’t come through.
My original idea was to paint the stream flowing into the ocean, but in order to capture the stream, the ocean became too far away and secondary. I wanted the painting to be about flow and sunshine.
I liked the image (above) but it didn’t capture the movement and sparkle of the ocean, so I decided to zoom in even closer and distill to the water — very nice but not what I was looking for.
Getting close: I then very quickly did the sketch below and this turned out to be what I wanted.
From the sketches and paintings, I chose an image that best expressed what I was experiencing. Not the best of the sketches, but the best idea for a large-scale watercolor.
The finished watercolor (which took several months to complete):
> Click here to subscribe to the free newsletter, Plein Air Today
> And click here to subscribe to PleinAir Magazine so you never miss an issue!
> Looking ahead, join us in January 2021 for Watercolor Live!