Friday, 24 November 2017
Driving down to the coast it was a grey blanket of cloud so I was pleased to find this beautiful sky when I arrived and I liked the little glimpses of light on the water.
Painting a sky one of the things I think about is edges. Making some of them soft and others hard. I do this by wet into wet paint, or wiping with my hand or rag to soften an edge. The hard edges I paint and leave. Also keeping the tonal range close together and changing the colours warm to cool. The sky when its a feature like this I put in first - also it changed quickly as ever!
I had to be careful that I didn't make the boats to poppy in tone or colour as they were contra jour and not very lit. But I wanted them to have some differentiation between the mud and boats to see them!
The sky line is roughly mapped in as I didn't want to draw attention to it - its not important. The sweep around of water there is a big contrast of tones between the water and the mud so the eye is drawn to this bit which it good (& intentional!)
Here is my palette and on location pic:
Thursday, 23 November 2017
So I was all fired up afterwards and did this painting.
I was lucky with the tide it was just right for a nice shaped shoreline. I painted that first and then the sky with pastel colours. See pic below with how I started.
I wasn't sure about posting this one as the easel fell over (it was on a slanted harbour wall - The Cobb) and the painting came off the easel and all the solvent spilt onto the painting! This is a photo of it before it was ruined, but thought I'd post it to tell the story!
NB don't wipe turps off a painting as you wipe the painting off too!
I did this study that evening sunset, I tired out my new lights they work really well for nocturnal/sunsets. You can buy them from Amazon as orchestral or reading lights they come under.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
The family I put in a Mum, Dad and little toddler were lovely to paint, they moved slowly which helped!
I used a mixture of thin and thick paint. The reflections in the wet sand were thin and the light next to the sea thicker, I echoed this light on the horizon in the sky.
I made sure I got the tonal value and the shapes of the cliffs right - the iconic 'Golden Cap'.
It wasnt long before the sea was lapping at my ankles!
It helped I was quite far away from the subject so its easier to translate onto a small board - see below.
I started with thin dark paint on the harbour wall and then put the light in on the water next to it, as it could change quickly.
It was the only bit of water in the harbour as the tide was out, it looked like the plug had been pulled as it's a mass of mud, bouys and boats!
A grey day apart from the sliver of light on the horizon, the sky was fun to paint.
There's an estuary going through the beach which deposits water and makes the stones on the beach darker with algea which helps to break up the line of the sea to sand.
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
It was a grey day but the sun came out for 30 minutes or so and I grabbed it!
When a subject is changing so quickly I paint it in the order it's going change the most.
1. Clouds - the shape & colour
2. Light on the water the lightest part and the area surrounding it
3. The sun & area around it
4. Horizon line of the sky how it compares to the sea - how the yellow in the sky compares to the sunlight on the water.
5. Sea - the darker waves int eh foreground
6. Block in the rest of the sea and sky
Painting like this is fast and focused not stopping in one area long observing and getting it down as a moment in time.
I painted this subject 4 times during last week, so helpful to learn the subject shapes to then focus on other aspects like the tonal values or colours.
I put the little people in to give some scale of the huge beach - no colour needed just dark silhouettes.
The flat top cliff is called Golden Cap and is the highest point on the south coast of England being 191 meters. The top of the cliff is sandstone hence the name.
I have just had a week in Dorset painting the local area of Bridport, Charmouth & Lyme Regis all on the Jurassic Coast.
I was lucky with the weather, it didn't rain once! and had some great sunsets and rises.
I have about 10 paintings to post from the trip and will do 2-3 a day.
On the first day I arrived to catch the sunset, and was really pleased to find this view at the end of the caravan park I was staying in - dramatic cliffs with great shapes.
I started to paint late afternoon and had 3/4 of the painting down when the sunset lit the sky, it was beautiful. I tried putting in the colourful sky but it didn't fit the rest of the painting and I would have had to repaint the lot to match, I decided to keep it how it was. Sometimes you can't chase the light!
Saturday, 11 November 2017
The boats were the easiest bits and fun to paint. The sea and sky ... Because it was dusk there wasn't much light shining on the boats so they were silhouetted against the sea and getting the tonal value right was hard. And the sky being a small strip needed to get the colour intensity and tone right - 4 attempts later!
I painted the boats with a short flat brush - Rosemary & Co 'Ultimate' range and then painted the sea in a bigger size of this brush it didn't look right too uniformed in the strokes, scarped it off and re did it with a large round brush. Better!
The foreground stones of the beach also tricky as I don't want to make it too blocky and strong as its not the feature of the painting, but it was dark because of the time of day.
A good learning painting which is harder to do when painting outdoors as the time is limited and you are just focusing to get the painting down.
Been preparing 40 board (see pic below) for a trip to Dorset - I wont be using all 40 boards! Having a week in a caravan in November & hoping it's not a mistake! But looking forward to painting the Dorset coast.
Thursday, 9 November 2017
I had one of those days which didn't work well for painting. Why?
I started 2 paintings which I have scraped off and this was the 3rd. The other two the composition wasn't working plus I had bitten off more than I could chew.
Caroline Greene asked a question a couple of posts ago about whether I have awarenes and intention behind every stroke and mark I make. It's an interesting one to think about when you paint. Do you do the painting a bit like driving a car being on auto pilot - suddenly and the painting is finished and you don't remember the process! I try to have awareness as much as I can while doing it, but being tried makes a difference as you don't have the ump! and to make all the decisions required. I was tired yesterday.
This little oil sketch is ok, and I'm happy to have something for all my efforts! We were pleased to see the sun just before it set. But by then our fingers and toes were so frozen & numb we couldn't do it anymore, time to go home....
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
There are three main colours two of them being complementary Red-Orange & Green-Blue, they do seam to go together well and the other a warm and cool grey.
Two areas I found difficult in the painting were the strip of houses on the horizon and the cabin of the boat. The houses I repainted until I finally cracked it, painting a block of similar tone and then over painting and picking out some roof shapes, it didn't need much. The Boat cabin was getting the drawing right and the tonal values within it. The mud line also got to fussy and overworked so wiped it off and had another go. (See pic below for the 3 areas.)
I sometimes re paint san area as many times as it takes, it often adds to the painting to have ghost of marks underneath, so I don't think of it as a negative thing - although it can be frustrating sometimes!
Sunday, 5 November 2017
The boats were really silhuetted and strong shapes. I moved my body so the compostion of them worked - and then I didn't have to move them on my painting. I did edit a few out as it was too complex for the size board.
Again painted quickly as after 40 minutes the sparkle was gone. Limited tones 4 main ones. The colours mainly yellow and blue - Ultramarine & Naples Yellow.
Looking for little highlights on the boats as well especially the tops where the sun hits them.
When I get back to my studio I always get the paintings out and line them up on my shelf to decide if they work or not. I'm pleased with these two as a pair - it's not often they work together.
Not easy though, as this scene shanged within 30 minutes of starting it. I posted the photo (see below) on Instagram to show how different it looked - the wind had picked up so no reflections and the the boat had turned 180 degrees, oh my!
Kept the colour palette limited as it was contra jour the colours are mire subdued and silhutted. I ratio of tonal values: most of it is light eg the sea and sky being the same and a small area of very dark tonal value which makes the composition interesting.
Little highlights of almost white dotted around for the sun sparkles.
Thursday, 2 November 2017
I have noticed the light is changing now the sun is lower in the sky and it was a gorgeous morning.
With this faffing I then started without drawing as I wanted to capture the light as it was so I just got the colour down.
See the stages below. So much harder to work out all the shapes and proportions as you go but it seams to work well as a method - one that Richard Pikesley artist, has suggested to me in the past.
I also experimented with getting the wall and lamp post in on the left side, but being a relatively small board the two strong uprights (the bridge & post) competed with each other and didn't work so I took the lamp post out.
Painting the bridge without drawing first
The two paintings which got into the prestigious Chelsea Exhibition last weekend.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
I thought the sunrise was going to be a bit of a damp squib. So I had started another painting of the fishing boats but without the light it wasn't working so when the flash of orange appeared I picked up my easel and almost ran to the edge of the beach! Then painted a quick oil sketch to get it down, sunrise seams to change more quickly than sunsets. I started with the bit that would change the quickest and the most important - the orange in the sky and water reflection and then painted everything else around it including the land.
This was the last painting of Beer....back to Surrey.
I stepped back to look at the painting and thought how nice the scene looked, it's the red boat I painted when I first arrived in Beer.
I looked around after I finished the previous boat painting I posted and saw the light on the water and sky and thought I've got to paint that! So I turned my easel around and started straight away. The light only lasted about 30 minutes so it was a scramble to get it down.
I blocked in the main shape of the cliff first and then the water and sky. I had painted the same cliff the day before from a higher aspect but haven't posted it as Im not convinced the painting works! It's not easy because the cliff is white chalk but there was no light on it, it was behind therefore in silhouette. Underpainting in one colour and then picking up areas over the top seams to unify. Also keeping the paint for the water thinner in some places and thicker where the light hits.
There were some figures, so small you can hardly see them, but there there :-)
The scene reminds me of something Monet would paint!