Landscape painting advice -
Lynn M. Rix painting on her boat on Pine Lake

Actually, Lynn M. Rix tried to avoid greens by painting from a boat … and she ended up with a lot of green in her landscape paintings. How so?

“I don’t normally like painting in the summer because I don’t like painting green,” says Rix. “And it’s hot.” So she hatched an idea she came up with last year, and painted from a 13-foot Boston Whaler boat. “It’s a little boat, so I only paint on it when it is really calm,” she says. “Painting on a lake is cooler and less green — but there’s still a lot of green! When I lined up 12 of my paintings from on Pine Lake, I was amazed at how much green there is on them. Just by painting the buildings and reflections and some of the trees in the background, I was painting greens. I hadn’t noticed.”

Landscape painting advice -
One of Rix’s boathouse paintings

Landscape Painting, On Water

She acknowledges that there were fewer greens, an improvement. But painting from her boat offered a mix of benefits and drawbacks. “It was really fun, and my childhood came back — I grew up on this lake and my 96-year-old mother still lives on it,” says Rix. “I was really enjoying summer and enjoying this lake. But it was a little difficult. I normally paint standing up, and I can’t on this boat. I had to put my cigar box easel on my lap, or on the seat of the boat. It was a challenge figuring out how to attach an umbrella to the boat. The clamp wouldn’t stay on the gunwale, and if I clamped it on the seat then it was really low and I would hit my head on the umbrella. I had to turn it around backward.”

Plein air artists
Landscape painting en plein air – this is Rix’s setup on the boat

She also had one anchor. “I knew that I might move around with just one anchor, but I didn’t get a second one — that would be just another thing to carry and have in the boat,” says Rix. “I decided I could make it work. I found that if I was patient, the boat would swing back around again. Until it did, I could look around my shoulder to see what I was painting.” Finally, Rix found that even small waves made painting straight lines difficult. “Getting straight lines on buildings was a challenge,” she says, laughing. “I didn’t want them to look like they were falling down. Sometimes I had to straighten them up back in the studio.”

Landscape painting advice -
Some of the boathouse landscape paintings Rix executed this summer

And painting boathouses was her principal goal this summer. “I wanted to paint the houses that I loved growing up; I fear they are going to be ripped down soon,” she says, “and be replaced by some monstrosities. I showed some 8 x 8 in. paintings of a few boathouses to the local yacht club last year, and they shared them online and put them in their newsletter. I sold a bunch and got some commissions for this summer. The lake was developed in the 1890s and it was very Germanic, with many of the boathouses resting on stone pillars.”

Landscape painting advice -
“The Twins,” by Lynn M. Rix

Summer is ending, but Rix will be back on the lake in a few months for one more commission. “They want me to paint a house on the lake in winter,” she says. “That’s going to be fun. I love painting winter.”

This article was originally published in January 2017

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  1. Thank you for the article about the painter of boathouses. I use the Strada mini easel when painting in tight quarters…and put it on a plastic serving tray on my lap. I liked the paintings, but could use very little red to tone down the greens.


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