Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day #8 Incoming Tide, 5x7, oil

Reference photo and initial sketch.  I am working on an orange toned canvas, which is my usual procedure.  I like the warm underglow.

Goal - Working with blues and correcting the photograph. 

Massing in the blues.
Aerial perspective tells us the sea becomes cooler and lighter as it recedes into the distance. But the sky has different rules.  It is darker, ultramarine blue, at the zenith, warming as it goes to the horizon, cobalt with a touch of permanent green light, or cerulean blue, all mixed with white, continuing to a soft peach at the horizon.

This painting is a little heavy on the right because of the dark land mass.  I could balance the weight with the clouds, as I have done in this step, but the busy sky would detract from the crashing surf which I planned as my focal point.
Incoming Tide, 5x7. oil

Here I have lightened the land mass and increased the surf to the left. Adding the sailboats on the left also helped to balance the weight of the painting. I softened the sky so that it wouldn't compete with the focal point - the surf at the little point of land.

It's great to paint from life, but often you have to paint from photographs.  I always remind my students that "Photographs are 99% wrong" - especially when it comes to values, colors, edges and very often, composition.  The camera sees in a mechanical way, putting everything in focus and flattening the perspective. 

The photo is used for reference only and you should work from your own photographs, because you have been there and have an image in your mind that is far better than anything a camera can catch.

This painting is sold.

Thank you for visiting with me.



  1. Thank you for your step by step explanation!

  2. You're welcome, Tatiana. I love your name!

  3. This painting turned out great. The sky is my favorite part. Thanks for sharing your process.


Your comments and questions are always welcome. Thank you.