35.75 x 24 in | 90.8 x 61 cm
On this Autumn evening the light was bright but hazy, the kind of light that intensified the colors and creates glare off the surface of the water. The Red Maples (Acer rubrum), of course, stole the show, but the diffuse light also lit up the grasses and sedges on the banks. White Pines (Pinus strobes) on drier ground towered above the maples, framing the composition.
The surface of the pond was covered with the heart shaped leaves of Yellow Pond Lillies (Nuphar variegatum) mixed with round leaved Fragrant White Water Lillies (Nymphaea odorata). In contrast to the vibrant Maples and glowing banks, the pond lilies, usually a rich green, reflected the sky more than their true color because of their angle to the light. As a painter in love with color, I enjoy painting brilliant colors more than dull ones. I was tempted to paint the lilies in rich hues of green but it is important to stick to the mood created by the lighting effect—intense fall leaves and faded lilies.
The lilies had to look as though they were floating on top of the water rather than part of the reflections. To create the effect of floating lilies I painted the reflection with a flatter technique while I laid the lilies on top with much heavier applications of paint. Painting knives are so useful for these kinds of effects.
The ripples in the water in the foreground resulted from an attempt to steady the canoe. Otherwise the pond was still. Much earlier a beaver had slapped his tail on the water to signal a warning of our presence but his disturbance had died down before I took my photographs. The pond was so shallow that I could see the beaver ‘s wake as it swam under water. Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata), which grows only in shallow water, frames the foreground.