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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

From Rockpile

Over the course of the last 8 or 9 paintings, I have been visiting the locations that I have painted the most.

This is the current line up of colors.  I have never used a set pallet.  As a pastel artist I would try to carry as many colors as I could.  When I painted inside I had the same approach.  I think I have just about every color that Old Holland makes.  One of the biggest challenges that I have is developing the mixing skills required to get the breadth of color that I am used to.
I am not sure where the drawing in purple came from, but I like the use of it to establish values and shapes within the painting.
I am continuing to work towards less drawing in the initial phase of my painting.  This painting ended up taking about 5 and half hours.  I want to get down to 3 hours for a painting this size.  
At this point, some of the value separation has been lost.  I want to get the values closer to their final representation right from the beginning.  This will speed up my painting considerably. 
The block in is finished.  I am trying to have each area of the painting as dark as possible so that I can work my way up in value.  I will try and leave traces of
All of the elements of the painting are in place and I am adding the details to them.  
Here I begin to work on the values.  What is the lightest area of the painting?  What is the darkest area of the painting?  I work to balance everything from the lightest to the darkest and in between.
Saving the detail of the palm trees for last.
The light changed quite a bit at the end.  
The saturated colors at the end of the day are the best.  I wish I could paint quickly enough to capture them .
This day just kept getting better till it was over.
What a great spot to paint.  
A shot of my pallet.  I like including this to get an idea of some of the colors that I am mixing and how my paint usage is changing.
Time to stop.
The finished painting "From Rockpile"  24x32 oil on board.
The value shot. I would like to see greater separation between the lightest and darkest parts of the painting.
The detail shot.  I like the progress I am making with my brush strokes.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Twilight Upon Rockpile

The overcast day was going to allow me to select some different colors for the painting.
Painting the same location repeatedly has become an exercise that has allowed me to speed up my painting. The familiarity with the composition has sped up the decision making.  This "automatic" painting has eliminated a lot of the problem solving and allowed me to focus on my application rate.
I am still doing a certain amount of drawing in my initial stages.  The drawing has calmed down some and there is more shape creating which is heading in the right direction.
Changes in the light and changes in the tide made it necessary to commit to a particular moment in the sea scape.  I thought the beauty of the scene got better and better as the day progressed.  This made it difficult to not change the entire painting.  I loved the detail of the rocks that were revealed by the tide going out.  The clouds had burned off bringing Rockpile alive with color.

This photo captures the essence of the composition.  I moved the trees around a bit to open up the view to Rockpile.
As you can see there is a lot more blocking in than in my earlier efforts.
The finish of the blocking in of the painting.  My goal is to get to this point as quickly as possible.  My previous efforts have taken too much time to get to this point.  The key will be to be able to eliminate the drawing and put down these shapes from the very beginning.
From this point on, the focus is on defining the various shapes within the composition.  Comparing the values, colors, while maintaining consistency in my representation of the light on the landscape becomes my focus at this point in the painting.
Here I have changed the shapes of the trees and the rocks by carving into them with the blue water.
The tide keeps going out and the sun keeps peeking out from the clouds.
At this point in the painting I am working to get the same level of development throughout the painting.  I am also working at insuring the consistency of light throughout the painting.
As the sun set the water lit up.  This was a good opportunity to create a stronger contrast between the ocean and the palm trees.  Everyone says not to chase the light; but this was the best light of the day.  As a pastel painter it was very easy to add the last touches at the very last moment.

Some of my next steps will be to develop more sophisticated brush strokes, a fuller richer color development, and smoother application.
As I was cleaning up, I took a picture of my easel from a distance.  I like getting a different perspective on what my painting looks like from distance.  
The finished painting.  Twilight Upon Rockpile 24x32 plein air oil on board.
The value shot.  This is a better representation of the values.  In a  couple of my Rockpile paintings the palm trees did not stand out enough against the water.  The sun sinking lit the ocean up and made the contrast much easier to represent.
The detail shot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

From Noon Till Dusk

The initial drawing to establish the composition required some correcting.  The horizon and the distance between the palm tree clusters required some redrawing.
I have some unconventional habits that I am trying to work through as I continue to explore oil painting en plein air.  One of those bad habits is painting with the sun on my pallet.  I had a painting that was too dark as a result.  Because of my particular setup, I am having difficulty getting an umbrella that will work.  Meanwhile, I continue to be careful about not staying too dark.  I am trying to work to the lighter values quicker in the painting so that I am not spending all of my effort "in the dark".

When I started painting plein air with pastels, I went through the same process.  I started with a drawing and then worked to fill in the blanks.  As I progress, I will probably make the same adjustments that I did with pastels.   I will draw less and paint the big shapes and then elaborate on them.
From a time management standpoint it is taking way too long to get to this point in the painting.  Instead of drawing the shapes and then getting the large value shapes established, I should just move to the large shapes.

I continue evolve from painting to painting.  It is very exciting to see the growth I am making.  One of my commitments that I have stuck with is to complete every painting on site and to never touch it up in the studio.

These paintings in oil have not compromised those values, but it has resulted in some very long days on location.  As a result, I have switched from turpentine to gamsol.  I was finishing the day with a headache.

This is how I want my initial block in to look without all of the initial drawing.  Most of the drawing is gone and has been turned into large shapes; so why not just get to the large shapes without all of the work?
I still am working at nailing the values.  I had to go back into areas of the painting to get them dark enough to have the lights read properly.  All of these little things just add time to the painting.  Don't get me wrong; painting all day is an  amazing experience.
Because the paintings are taking so long to paint, I am changing the light within the painting.  I started in the morning and ended at sunset.  There is no way to hang onto an impression that long.  Honestly, that is something I am not too worried about.

It was a pretty amazing day at Heisler.  The waves were well above the norm.  Surfers were riding waves between the rocks.  There was a Labradoodle birthday party on the lawn.  There are always potential distractions when painting but focus on location has never been an issue for me.  I often find myself completely thirsty when I have finished a painting and realized that I should have used the restroom hours earlier. 
At this point, I am working to insure that all the parts of the painting are finished to the same degree.  One of the things that I have noticed is that although I have changed mediums, my style is still evident in my paintings.

As the shadows grew long, I began to push to insure that I was going to be able to finish.  I went from shade on my pallet to sun then back to shade during the course of the painting session.

The light at dusk changed the whole nature of the landscape.  The colors were so vibrant and rich that I could not resist chasing the light.

The light falling on the painting changed the look of the painting as the sun went down.

My pallet at the end of the day.
The finished painting.  "From Noon Till Dusk" oil on board 24x32.
The value shot.
The detail shot.

An endless supply of great compositions to be painted from one spot.