Saturday, February 26, 2011

Growing Up On Water


There is no doubt I have been influenced by the people and places of my youth. I grew up on one of Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes in a family devoted to spending as much time as possible in or on that water. Both of my parents swam competitively when they were in school and I have no doubt that my dad would rather have been in a boat on that water than anywhere else. He loved the water and I adored him so that’s where I wanted to be too. I suppose being a Pisces like he was had an influence too. I spent my youth swimming, driving a speed boat or waterskiing in the summer; skating or sledding down our hill in the winter.

Now I have to admit my feelings about being on that water have changed over the years. I still want to be on it or in it; my soul needs it. However, the go fast boats I loved then are no longer a draw – well --maybe not all go fast boats, the sound of one of those wonderful old Chris Crafts brings back wonderful memories. But now I’m more at home with the quiet -- waves lapping softly on the gunwales of an old rowboat or a sailboat; peaceful -- restful. When I’m painting a water scene I want that quiet to come through. My process of pouring helps me feel that peace. I spend a lot of time with each piece, large or small. First, a careful drawing so I can work out the values; then transferring that image to watercolor paper so there are not eraser marks on the paper when I finally get to the masking and pouring; and the final step is taking all that masking off to see if I got what I was working toward.

Some of my poured watercolors and watercolor monoprints will be part of an exhibit opening at the Gallery Uptown in Grand Haven on March 4. Water and Light will feature Lisa Ambrose, Larry Blovits, Sheri Woodard and me. Sheri and I have decided to produce reproduction prints to sell at the exhibit and donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales to the Inland Lakes Protection Partnership. I’m doing this because I believe it’s important that these lakes be protected. I’ll have reproductions prints of  “Morning at the Lake” -- 5x7 matted to fit a standard 11 x 14 inch frame will be available for $30.

Morning at the Lake


Carrie H. said...

Wonderful soothing color scheme Helen. I think the interlocking shapes in the foliage are really well done... and so is the water!
This one is a winner.

Helen Percy Lystra said...

thank you Carrie

Joan said...

Beautiful painting! I can feel the peace and quiet of the lake coming through.

I'm taking a pouring class next month with Jean Grastorf...I can't wait.

Good luck with the show.

Helen Percy Lystra said...

Thanks Joan; I would love to take a workshop from Jean. Enjoy!

Shez said...

Oh Helen, I love that painting. Beautiful work. Enjoyed reading your write up too. You have a lovely way of saying things.
Wishing you a successful showing this week my friend.......Shar