I’ve taken photos for years and use different software to enhance the final results to express what I want. With this painting, I was not quite sure about the distant cliffs and the depth of color in the ocean. Too light? Darken? My instinct was that darkening both would make a better painting in the sense of contrast.
Overall, I like the above painting – it looks pretty good. In the one below, I used a brush in Lightroom to darken the cliffs and the sea.
I like the second choice better. I haven’t painted over the cliffs or ocean to make them darker, but if I were to publish things, I could do some “post” in a digital format. If you look at the frame of the above image, you will see parts of it are darker, the result of using the LR brush.
I wonder how many other artists do post-processing of their paintings. I have taken scans and turned them into black and white images to check contrast and value – so why not for making painting decisions as well? It’s all a learning process.
Islands form chains, perhaps peninsulas. Off the coast where I live is an island that reaches out into the sea. It is more like a series of islands connected by narrow bits of land – I expect these will disappear over the next century as waters rise, and then one island may become three or four.
In the pursuit of simplicity, I used a large brush and chose the major colors. I put in verticals to suggest cliffs. Parts of this painting work – and others do not – in particular with a sense of dimensionality and depth of field. I tried to create greys using opposite colors, such as cobalt blue and pyrrol orange. Despite that, I did learn a few things. One, wait and think. Two, use colors far darker than you think are necessary. Three, keep it simpler than you think it should be.
Another “direct watercolor” from a photo I took sometime ago when up along the bluffs in Carpinteria, CA. This one might be worth repeating just because there are some areas I really like about it, but the rocks to the left of the cliff are rather dismal. The topmost rock was really a boat on the horizon! I painted the boat first, and then it just got bigger and bigger, to the point I morphed it into a dreary rock. Those rocks need work, as does the color gradation of the sand on the beach. I like a lot of the colors, but overall the sparkle is missing from the photo. If at first you don’t succeed . . . ya know.