The Caribbean is a magical area – palms, sunny, sandy, windy, brilliant light, azure waters – and a place of terror, such as the fury of hurricanes, and in the olden days, pirates! Here is California we also have such brilliance, but our hells are fires and earthquakes. It seems there is always a counterpoint for something.
I like the beach, in case you haven’t noticed. Grass, sand, cliffs, water, wind.
Of course, I did it on an accessible page in my sketchbook, but since I did the study before the painting, I knew where I wanted lights and darks. As I worked, I pulled dark areas together to contrast with lighter / brighter areas. I mixed my colors using zinc white, but this time used titanium white straight out of the tube to highlight the ocean waves.
I’ve been wondering why people say “zinc for mixing, titanium for highlights.” Zinc is a transparent white, so it blends with gouache and watercolors without distorting the values. Titanium is a more opaque white, and as a result good for highlights, but not recommended for color mixing.
I guess if I was a true plein aire painter, I would be outside at the beach recording “Beach Fun” for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019. Alas, it is not to be.
Sort of “meh” about this one. It was a lot harder to do than I thought it would be – what is more simple than a pail and shovel? Well, it was! It’s like there are 3 different styles here – none of which match or integrate well. I like the shadows on the sand the best.
This one, I will say, makes me feel pretty good. I like the surf board and the highlights on the leash. As well, the foggy sky with the sun breaking through is a far cry from my usual blue skies. Overall, the atmosphere is good for beach fun, I think.
I really cannot say how much I am enjoying painting in gouache! Like watercolor, there are times it makes me crazy, but as I do more and more painting, it is beginning to make sense. Some of the colors I have are not what I really like, and it is easy to get muddy, just as in watercolor. Letting things happen is also part of gouache, as in watercolor, but that is the beauty of any art form – it can go places you never expect and create some lovely, happy accidents.
Painting and relaxing at the beach are perfect expressions of this prompt for #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.
Relaxing – so what comes to mind? I thought of ways I like to relax – reading, going on a hike, baking, going to the beach. The beach won! No matter what the mood, the shore is always a place to relax. Soft wind, strong wind; soft cloudy skies or fierce rain; vast stretches of sand, rocky coasts that are difficult to walk upon.
I don’t do beach sand very well. I dug out a great book, “Take Three Colours: Watercolour Seascapes” by Geoff Kersey. It’s a nice book for beginners as it explains so many things and techniques, works with a limited palette, and a few brushes. His samples are illustrated number by number. I rather like them as they make me think differently – I am a magpie and I go for 50 different colors, not 3!
Thus, I warmed up with Kersey’s study called “Sand Dune” – perfect for the beach, I would say. Not my best, but it was a study in techniques, not a work of art. Techniques included mixing greens and terra cotta. I had to substitute Organic Vermilion for his WN Light Red, and play a bit, but I limited myself to the Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Yellow along with the OV.
Warmed up, off to Pixabay! I wanted something simple and beachy. This sandy path to the foggy horizon got my attention. No, you cannot see the ocean, but you know it’s there! I tried to catch the subtlety of a the fog in the distance, aiming to soften the grasses as the painting moved into the distance. I also wanted to keep it warm – the foggy day with a bright sun trying to break through.
Another image from Pixabay. I may have painted it before. There is something so lovely about this beach – deserted, alive with plants and animals, the slap of water on the shore. I can smell the sea, too: salty, briney, a bit rank from marshlands. This painting is also more complex. I am not sure if I got the sense of distance correct (I have no depth perception), so I worked at making distant items simpler and paler / bluer. The grasses nearer the beach perhaps could have less detail. Hmmmm.
Finally, a painting from a photo I took several years ago when my friend Glenn and I hit the Central Coast of California, north of Santa Barbara. We visited Refugio Beach and El Capitan Beach. I cannot recall which one this was, but the mood was one of wind and cold, and a storm coming or going. The Pacific was dark, as was the sky; the wind was blustery. Altogether, it was an adventure! We were cold and shivery, but so pleased with just being out in the wind and weather.
Of all of the paintings, the last two are my favorites for different reasons. I painted for about 5 hours, too. Relaxing? You bet! I love the beach, and it was a delight to paint it today.
Nearly everyone I know loves the beach, but there are exceptions. Mostly, they don’t like sand! To me, sand is one of the best parts of the beach. Barefoot, sinking into sand as the tide goes out, walking on warm sand. Watching the sand skitter across the beach with the wind, in lines or swirls. Hearing the waves come in and out, a whisper to a roar. Walking in sand can also be hard work! And then, the plants. Grasses, strange sea radishes (that are rather tasty), sea weed and other flotsam. All these make a beach.
Time of day gives a beach character – blinding high noon, subtle dawn, fiery sunset. All these add to the experience. Weather, too. Wind, rain, snow.
Where you live also adds character to the beach. Northern, southern, tropical. Rocky, cliffs, sand white as snow to black as night Birds, too, and other animals live along the shore. Beaches are magical worlds wherever they are found.
This morning I set out to do a couple of things. First was to do another ink / pen drawing. I used the same sketchbook as I did yesterday, one with lightweight paper that worked very well yesterday. Second, the attempt to stretch myself a bit and do a beach scene. I find waves incredibly difficult.
The sketch itself was okay – nothing particularly challenging in and of itself. I rather liked the composition. However, if you look at the sketch above, do you see those little greyish streaks in the lower left and center? That should have clued me in then and there – the paper is very thin. Water? What was I thinking of?
And here we are, with washes applied with a lot of water. Even though you cannot see it, the paper became mottled in appearance, buckled and crumpled. Ugh! But, what the hell, I may as well try something. And thus, I picked up my box of Caran D’Arche’s Neocolor II crayons, and carried on . . .
Having never really used the Neocolor crayons before, I will say I liked them. I scribbled in colors which I thought might work, and then laid other colors on top of them to blend before using water. And then with a waterbrush – not a laden brush – I smoothed and shaded.
I am not pleased with this picture at all, but I still learned something about a medium I haven’t really explored – the watercolor crayons. On a heavier paper designed to take water, there is a lot of potential here. I love coloring, so I can see myself moving into this area, perhaps more so than with watercolor pencils, which seem more delicate to me in their color rendering, but perhaps that is wrong as I have limited experience with them as well.
Oh, well. The picture was a disaster, but the potential far outweighs it.