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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shadows at Low Tide

The second painting of the day was 24"X 36".  This is the most I have painted in one day.  I painted a total of 24 square feet for the day.  I did not start till about 11 am so I think I could double my output if push came to shove.  On this last set of days off I intended to start painting some nocturns but I will have to establish a different routine around this.  I will need to take a break for dinner at the location for the painting so that I can rough in the composition, eat, and then return to do the rest of the painting.
As I progress in skill I develop a trust of the decisions I make about the painting.  The less second guessing, the less problem solving, the quicker the painting. Each one of my paintings should not be dependent on the previous one when I am painting multiples outdoors.  The color schemes are very different from each other.  The compositions are very different in design and the values are different as well.  The best paintings are the ones that involve the fewest number of conscious decisions.  When everything flows from start to finish, the quality of the painting usually comes to the top.
By posting these paintings in their original size, I am able to analyze the quality of the composition in a different manner.  By breaking the painting down into smaller sub-compositions, I can determine the strengths or weaknesses of the parts of the whole.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crystal Cove Finish

Bigger is Better Again

When you see the painting up close the abstract elements become more apparent,

Bigger is Better

I am posting in the original size so that you can see all of the marks in the painting better.  It is also interesting to see the breakdown in the composition.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shaws Cove

Easter Sunday at Shaws Cove.  The tide is low but coming in. The fog had burned off over the beach but was still hanging around over the ocean
Throughout this painting, I used the blue color of the board to represent the shadowed areas within the paining.  Since I was painting on a 24"X 36" board, my mark making needed to be crisp so that I would have good time management.
After my initial sketch, I started working the upper middle values with my mark making.  My focus was to put down marks that closely resembled the tidal rocks.  Again, as I worked the shapes of the rocks I focused on the negative space being left behind to represent the shadows between the rocks.

Shaws Cove

As I worked through the foreground and the background, I had to figure out what the area of interest would be.  The shape of the rocks in the background were dramatic and gave the painting character.  The detail and values of the rocks in the foreground pull you into the painting.

Up to this stage in the painting. I was still working at determining the shape of the rocks within the composition.

Once the shape of the rocks and the water was finished. the remainder of the painting became an exercise in comparison and contrast between the various areas within the painting.

Shaws Cove

At this point, I was trying to finalize the different value planes within the composition,  I defined some of the darker values within the deep shadows between the rocks as well as some of the flatter planes in the distance.

As the darker values took shape it made the choices for the lighter areas in the painting easier.  With my value range more or less established, I went about developing the foreground more fully.

With the foreground well defined and the background established, I went on to bridge the two with a subdued middle ground.  

Shaws Cove

The waves started pounding the shore as the tide rolled in.  My time was growing short.

At this point in the painting, I am refining the highlights within each area of the painting.  I am making sure that all parts of the painting relate well to each other.

I made sure to develop the mid range colors within the shadows and to add the final details.  I made sure to balance the highlights from foreground to background.

Shaws Cove

Once I finished with the mid range colors, I added the finishing touches

I had to move my stuff before I finished because the waves threatened to wash over my pastels.

I used a limited pallet for this painting.

Shaws Cove

This painting flowed from start to finish.  The ocean blowing in over the rocks and the empty blue sky filled my day.
This painting went quickly.  I was able to work all the areas of the painting with a minimum of going back into it.  Because this was the second time that I painted this scene, I was able to work quicker than if it had been the first time.
This is the painting in it's original size.  By viewing the painting at this size, I am able to evaluate the success of the painting by measuring the parts of it more closely.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Monday in the Park

This painting was handled differently than many of my other plein air paintings.  I started with an a toned board like most of my paintings.  I then developed a full under painting in a complimentary color.  The red under painting was the opposite color of what I intended the finished painting to be.   I handled the pastel through the under painting in a very light manner so that I could add layers of local color at the end.  I moved gradually towards the local color slowly adding layers of color that approached what I wanted. The local colors bring the composition into balance.  This painting is my version of a pointillist painting.  Although this painting is not composed with small dots of color, the prismatic colors laid down in many individual strokes are intended to produce that same visual feeling.

Monday in the Park

Irvine Park which has been around since 1905, has been the subject of many classic southern California plein air painters over the years.  

The challenge for the composition for me was arrangement of the trees at the end of the pond.  

Here you can see the light handling of the pastel by the amount of the under painting visible beneath the red.  You can also see there is more painting than drawing in my approach.

Monday in the Park

As I moved towards the local color from the complimentary color, the painting became more balanced in it's appearance.  The painting looked good in the shadows but I was not sure how it would appear in the light.

A lot of people like to paint with an umbrella so that they can see the colors without the reflection of the light on the paint.  Because I paint with pastels, I prefer to paint with the sun on my surface so that I can see the intensity of the colors.  Since I was painting in the shadows, I was unsure how the painting would turn out.