Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fatal Attraction

Many seascape painters are happy to paint the rocks and crashing waves, I like that, other painters put in the view of the sea as a little piece in a landscape, I occasionally do those too, but my real affection and passion is for the small luminous moments that only last about 15 min. and are so subtle no photo can begin to capture it. Fog, mists, last bits of light after the sun has set, all these attract me more than the more iconic views. I say fatal attraction as they are exceedingly hard to paint,
the American Tonalist painters were the most successful.( will do a post on them later) Its very easy to just go for the flash and overdo it so it takes a sensitive brush and hand. Values are very close and color temperature( how warm or cool a mix) is critical. Also as plein air one only has a very short window of time. The only solutions is to try the same thing over and over until you accumulate enough memory and experience that you can work very quickly. Back in the studio I rely on that memory and my current method of making voice memos on my iphone to go with the photo, this reminds me of what I saw and I have less tendency to copy what the camera saw.

              The Land and Sea and Sky Are  One.    7x9" oil on shellacked paper

This is my first attempt, a studio work, on a very particular light that happens infrequently. There must be overhead clouds, mists and some clearing on the horizon to see this spectacular effect. It seems impossible when it happens and stops everyone in their tracks. Here at North Salmon Creek Beach there is a lot of wet sand to reflect it.  I will need to paint this many times to capture all the subtle color and edge changes, but I really enjoy the challenge, and I'm very pleased with this first try. It took me two days of mixing to discover just the right color of that lit cloud.  Of course this tone only lasts a few min. before it deepens more. I also love the seamlessness of the sky becoming sea becoming sand. It will take many paintings to master.

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