Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Luminous Moment

                                                         No. Salmon Creek Beach at Twilight  7x11 oil on linen
When this is dry I'll soften the transition of fog and sky, but I'm leaving it as is, not quite tweaked to finish, because TA DAH it is the first one that has a particular color effect I've been going for over weeks of time, while progressing through the current 100 Challenge studies of the sea, working to master the longer views of the sea. I'll do a post later on what a 100 Challenge is and why I find them so useful. Keep in mind I have done only studies for over two years to give myself mastery of the basics  in preparation to do my first larger scale works. My own private seascape atelier program

There is an amazingly beautiful light after sunset, that lasts for about 10 min max and turns the sea into a luminous, heart wrenchingly exquisite moment. Most people leave after the sun goes down, next time you are at the sea stay a bit and see if you can see this moment.  It shows best if the sky has thin overcast. Of course I will never be able to really paint it, but coming close will count.

At this time of light all the values are close, if you squint, the sea and foam make one area with just a bit of the top foam lighter where it goes above the main wave, and the scud coming in is a violet shade against the more viridian of the waves...then the sky reflects brilliantly into the sheeting of the spent wave. I have brushed in the foam more directly without fussing with it, much harder to do than laboring over it, by the way, if it is not right the whole area is scraped down and you load the brushes to paint it again. One or two excellent strokes will get it right. Sargent was known for this in his portraits. Often spending a whole day on a face only to wipe it out at the end. The dashing in energy of just the right stroke and fresh paint really adds to the movement I'm trying to get in the foam. 

Here is a detail of the lightest light and darkest dark, the values are very close which is what makes it such a challenge to capture. 

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