Along the Italian Coast

This was a rather fun painting to do just because it forced me to really rethink using white.

The ocean was the problem.  I thought I had put it in so it would be fairly light, particularly toward the distant shore.  Instead, when it dried, it was darker than I wanted.  The trees on the hill in the midground were essentially the same value as the water!  This was quite an eye-opener.  In the end, I put plain white (zinc) onto the paper, and kept blending it in until I got it where it was acceptable.

From there, it was back to the background.  It was also too bright.  I toned that down, and greyed it up a bit.  The background shore was too bright.  More work.  Then, back to the midground, foreground, buildings and boats.  I painted – with oodles of white! – the buildings, making them abstract shapes and then adding slightly darker shades to make the buildings seem 3-D.  More trees.  Finally, reflections, boats, and their reflections.

While I don’t consider this to be one of my better paintings, it is certainly one filled with lessons, in particular the usage of white (lots!), perhaps in the future check the colors on a separate piece of paper to see how light or dark they will dry, and finally deliberately trying to create abstract color blobs for buildings and trees that are discernible as such, but still indistinct in the distance.

I am ordering more white today!

Between Seasons

As we move into winter, I think of the places I lived when I was a kid, where 6 feet of snow was a “mild” winter.  Today, the low was about 56 F, and the high about 78 F.  Very different – and as an adult, I admit to preferring a lack of snow to an abundance!  Nonetheless, the seasonal changes are apparent here, just more subtle – the shift in light, the change in the blue.  Even the air smells different.

Working with Inktober, I can feel a shift in how I am approaching drawing, and painting.  I am simplifying but being more specific about the brush or pen size I choose and how to deploy a line or a brush stroke.  While there is a lot to be desired here – such as a sense of architectural reality and non-topsy-turvey houses – I had a lot of fun looking at areas of color as a suggestion, not a reality, as a plane rather than the detail I normally hone in on.

Maybe there is some hope after all!