Painting Large From Watercolor Sketches

“Joyful Day, Water over Mountain,” (watercolor, 25 x 41 in.)

On a recent painting trip to Acadia National Park, where Marjorie Glick made a series of watercolor sketches on site amidst the clear water, ocean waves, sunshine, and a perfect breeze, the idea for “Joyful Day” (above) was born. “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-scale watercolor of this place,” she says. “Being in this moment was pure joy, and the title came to me as I sketched.

“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.

“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):

“Joyful Day, Water over Mountain,” (watercolor, 25 x 41 in.)


Marjorie Glick is known for her large scale and vivid realism watercolors that are inspired by New England’s places of antiquity and by the beauty found in nature. She has been painting for 30 years and has exhibited at several regional museums and galleries, including the DeCordova Museum, Berkshire Art Museum, Brockton Art Museum, Beth Urdang Gallery, Boston, and the Forum Gallery in New York. She holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and has studied independently with Wolf Kahn and George Nick.

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  1. I love Hunters Beach, and recently finished a water color there. Yours humbled and awed me. I need to try again,


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