Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My Little beachcomber buddy

"My beachcomber buddy"-16x20 oil
We have our morning walks as well as our evening walks to round out each day. This particular morning we were heading back towards the Ocean Club and Elo was hunting for shells. The sun was starting to bring a sparkle to the water and a glowing aura to her little figure.
I use the repeating diagonal to bring the viewer through the painting and to establish a sense that there is much more before and after what is seen. I purposely omitted any horizon line or distant figures or landmarks. In addition the diagonal brings us right to the subject. The perspective of the viewer, looking down on the child's head,and shoulders reinforces that this is a small child. She is absorbed in the ritual of seeking the ocean's treasures; a universal appeal shared by those fortunate enough to experience ocean beaches.
I used a blue orange harmony which works to create the warmth of the early morning sun and the sparkling effects the sun creates on the water's surface. The long shadow also hints at the time of day.

Contemplating Cape Cod

Our evening walk- 12x16 oil
Each summer we vacation on Cape Cod with family. My granddaughter provides me with unending inspiration as she discovers and contemplates the wonders of the ocean. During this particular evening walk, she went and stood in the water gazing out at the diminishing light and gently rolling waves. The scene was so serene and peaceful, I wanted to capture the feeling to share with viewers.
Dusk creates a much subtler light effect than strong sunlight. My goal was to give her that effect with soft transitions of color and value when moving from warm to cool as I modeled the figure and her clothing. Attention to detail in the figure is juxtaposed to a looser feeling in the water as it flows and swirls around her. I wanted the water to be "quiet" so it's movement would reflect the soft sounds of the lapping waves and the peaceful mood I wished to create.

A surfer's dream

What a ride! 24X36 oil

12x16 oil

12x16 oil
In January 2019, the waves at Ocean Beach near San Francisco reached 40 to 50 feet. My daughter's boyfriend, who is a life long surfer, headed down with some buddies to take advantage of the amazing surf. I asked her to send me some photos so I could do a series of surfer paintings. I was not disappointed. These are my first 3. For color and water patterns I referenced the photos loosely punching up the color and simplifying the spindrift somewhat. I did need the photos for the position of the surfers in the various phases of their rides. The spray and size contrast make for a dramatic image. I look forward to doing more in this series and am grateful to my west coast photo accomplice. The 2 smaller ones went in my suitcase to CA so they could each have one.

A Little Beach Babe

8x10 oil

I recently attended a 1/2 day workshop where we began with an acrylic underpainting.
I had not tried acrylic as an underpainting before, but was pleased with the fast drying quality and the ability to quickly lay down the drawing and values without the colors then mixing with the oils. This underpainting was done with transparent red oxide. The scene was kept simple so it could be accomplished in one brief session. I was pleased with the results and plan to explore this further.



My daughter went through a rough patch recently and was fortunate to have a great friend by her side. Her friend recently had some tough times too. I was going to visit and it was her friend's birthday. I painted her this little champagne toast as a birthday/thank you and a reminder that brighter days were ahead.  Paintings can be more personal, I think, than something purchased in a gift shop. Laurie had been admiring my  paintings so it made my decision easy. She was thrilled.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Santa Cruz Harbor: Same scene, Different Light

Santa Cruz Harbor sunset  6x12 oil

12x24 Oil Santa Cruz Harbor at sunset
Nature's palette is constantly changing. As the sun sets or rises at Santa Cruz harbor the sight is breathtaking. The effects of the sun setting creates a dramatic, ephemeral image. The water's movement echoes the vibrant colors in the sky. The backlit land forms become silhouetted against nature's canvas.
The lighthouse provides an identifying element to the scene.
Working first in a blue orange harmony, I created the small 6x12 sunset painting. The light on the horizon and overlapping land forms  provide calming horizontals creating a peaceful mood for the painting. The small vertical lighthouse brings the viewer toward the sky and provides a feeling of strength and permanence. This feeling of permanence is repeated  in the land and the repetitive motion of the waves. I liked the contrast of the fleeting light and the permanent elements. The diagonals in the water and the diagonal created by the overlapping forms bring the eye back through the landscape. The 12x24  painting, while similar to the smaller version, adds one more layer of overlapping.  The composition is so naturally created that I plan to paint it again. Next I'll try a different format rather than the panoramic view with more sky lowering the horizon to the lower third level now occupied by the cresting wave. Close ups of the backlit lighthouse are also on my radar. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Painting sunlight

"Falling Water" 18x24 Oil

Every season our family spends time in New Hampshire. As a child it was summers at the lake with friends and skiing on vacations and weekends. In 1978, I bought a timeshare and we now go up in the fall and spring as well. Activities have expanded over the years with painting becoming a favorite. Hiking the woods and White Mountains I have encountered so many new painting spots that I couldn't possibly paint them all. The one thing that always captures my attention is the light. It changes the landscape by the minute as it filters in in the morning, dances through the trees and across the snow, hills and water during the day,  creates dramatic skies at dusk and a calming darkness at night. Consistent in the woodland streams are rocky paths cut through the land by rushing water, downed branches that gather along the edges and transparent pools that reveal the bed of the streams concealed elsewhere by white foam and deep dark pools of water.
What attracted me here was the serpentine curve of the stream that created rhythmic patterns of light and dark. The reddish tone of the rocks, pine needles and reflected light compliments the greens of the lush woods. The birches are quintessential NH. This painting represents the feeling I get when walking through the wooded landscape of NH.
I began with an underpainting of transparent red oxide to establish values and  composition. I wanted  to give a warmth that could show through in the final painting. I used underpainting white to establish the flow of the water. After that dried, I blocked in large areas using local color establishing some dark transparent layers first. The painting was built up with a number of layers finding areas to suggest rock forms under the rushing water and illuminating other areas with bright light to bring the viewers eye through the woods and down the stream.