Hurricane Weather

Another beach scene, and a building! Am I on a roll or what? Here, something very simple, but when you think about how the painting was made, perhaps not so simple.

The lone, cylindrical shape heeds shadow and sun, and standing against the sky, It needs to be obviously separate. I could have used masking fluid to create the hard edges, but I didn’t. Instead, I painted around the lighthouse, starting at an edge and then puling the colors out. I did okay on the left side, but the right side was more problematic. Oh, well. Still, I rather like the end result given the challenge of the multi-colored sky.

Fires, hurricanes, and now snow in the middle of the country. What’s going on!?

Church in the Dunes

Southern beaches, from the Carolinas around Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico coast, have a quality very unlike that of California or New England. Soft white sand, beaches beautifully wide and flat, sea oats, and dunes that catch the breath. The sky is vast and expansive, clouds build up, and there is something grander than can be described. I am trying to capture this, from reality and from imagination.

If you have noticed, over the past several months my paintings, in pastel, gouache, and watercolor, have been centered on the theme of water. Rivers, ocean, lakes. I am beginning to feel comfortable with water now, and it is time to expand the subject matter. Now, simple buildings are going to be included, and sand. Sand is remarkably hard to paint! It varies from dark beige-brown to incredibly bright and white. There is also black sand, but I’m not there yet!

Today’s painting is a church, tucked in the dunes of some coastal island. Sandy, dirt roads run between dunes with scrubby vegetation. It works.

Breaking Fog

Another study of an Oregon coastline. Morning fog with a bit of sun breaking through.

I must admit, I am really pleased with how this painting turned out. It seems that returning to the scene (of the crime?) is helpful, as well as working in different media. I did this same scene in watercolor a bit ago, and I plan to do it in pastels as well.

Done on Arches 7×10 inch hot press 140# watercolor paper. Hot pressed paper seems to be the best choice for gouache. Time to order some more!

Estuary

 

This is a pretty small painting – but most gouache paintings are as the medium almost seems to demand it.  After the disastrous flowers of the other day, the feeling of overworking my paints, I decided to simplify.  Yesterday’s beach scene is a good example of simplification.  And today is a bit more complex of a painting, but it is still simplified.

To simplify things, I looked at the big areas.  This meant the sand in the foreground, the sky, and the masses which make up the middle ground, both light and dark.  Those were laid in first.  From there, more details in a middle stage, and final details – the small stuff – were done.  This also matched the brushes I used – big to medium to small.  “The Three Bears” and the Goldilocks effect.

I also was a lot calmer when I did this painting, and I was in the studio, not in 85F weather with a steady breeze to dry out my paints and raise my temper!  Lesson learned there.

The Slough II (Pastels)

A second rendition of “The Slough, II”, this time in pastels on Mi Teintes 9×12 paper.  Perspective is fixed, and I like this version so much better!

The original “The Slough, II” was done in gouache a few days ago – you can see it in my earlier post.  That version was totally wackadoodle in the world of real perspective – the only part that worked out was the front curve of sand, whereas the midground and background didn’t work.  Fraggy (another blogger!) had some good insights about the issues.

In thinking about Fraggy’s comments as well as reviewing what I did, I really have no excuse.  I just did a very, very poor drawing on the paper, sort of sketching things in without checking their relationships.  So, today, I worked on the drawing a bit, and the result is much better.  I considered vanishing points and straight lines, et cetera, et cetera.

I really feel so at home with pastels.  My only complaint is that the end product is easily smeared, even with the use of “final” fixatives.  I need to research that a bit . . .

The Slough (Gouache)

This scan has a really greenish cast for some reason – or maybe I just used a lot of green without realizing it.  Anyway, given the fact that yesterday’s painting looked like it was sliding uphill into the ocean (art can do that, even if reality can’t), I worked on it again, this time using gouache.  Here, the sand works a lot better – at least it seems to be doing the right sandy thing!

Maybe some watercolor tomorrow of the same subject?

Beach Study

I like the beach, in case you haven’t noticed.  Grass, sand, cliffs, water, wind.

I broke down and did a value study for this scene.

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.

 

Beaches & Sea Grass

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.