Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stay on the Path

And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16a

Pastel on Self-sanded Arches, 15x11

I am always inspired by the beach and the dunes in the early morning.  The air is still and bright.  There is the promise of heat later, and the sea breeze will come, but for these special few moments, all is cool and quiet.

Beach conservation has come a long way, and most people stay on the old paths through the dunes.  The footprints from the previous day remain, but most of the dunes are pristine and untracked.

I developed the basic design of this piece for a 10-minute sketch.  I completed it with memories of experiences and a combination of a number of reference photos.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dunes 3 - 10-Minute Study

Pastel on UArt, 9x6

I did another study of a passage through the dunes to the beach using a photo for reference.  When the 10 minutes were up, I was ready to throw the picture out.  It was a true disappointment, but when I looked at it this morning, I saw some chance of salvation.  After about 20 seconds and a few minor strokes, I think this is a good start for a larger work.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beach Vista - 10-Minute Study

Pastel 9x6, UArt

On this study, I tried to keep within the 12 color limit, but I found that a handicap more than a challenge.  On future studies, I may up that number to 15 or possibly 20 depending on the complexity of the the colors I need to represent.

I need to concentrate on variations and contrasts in value and temp as much or more than the nuances of color as shade.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Light Calls - 10-Minute Study

Pastel on UArt 400, 9x6

Working quickly with a limited palette of 12 pastels. I find that I would like to add a few different colors and values, but I'm going to learn to stay with my original choices.

Every day in every way....  Who can tell.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dunes 2 - 10-Minute Study

Dunes 2 - Pastel on UArt 400, 9x6

10-Minute study of another shot of the dunes at Jax Beach.  I'm working with a different photo that includes more of the dune face - experimenting with composition.

Today's notes - the greens are too dull, need more shades of blue and purple.  I like the composition, but the values need to be deeper, darker on the left and right.  I realized when the time was up, I had not used the deep brown which I had planned to push the values.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dunes - 10-Minute Study


Dunes - 9x6 on UArt 600

This is my first effort in a 10-minute study with 20 pieces of chalk (or fewer) under the inspiration of Maggie Price.

Process - I select my subject, select 15-20 pieces of pastel, set my timer, and after some serious reflection and a plan, I hit the START.  When the timer goes off, I stop, regardless.

Evaluation - I need to make a broader selection of values within two or three hues.  Use the broad side of the pastel more than the point.  Concentrate on abstract forms and shapes, then add a few details.  Use of time and the basic plan were OK.

Hey, with this start, I can only get better!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ragged Marsh

Pastel on sanded Arches, 15x11
Plein air painting at Castaway Island Preserve, Jacksonville.

In the morning, the views across the marsh to the line of pine and cedar trees are always full of mystery and contrast. 
The summer is coming and the colors are turning from reds and brown to green and gold.  The cedar trees provide the solid, deep shadows and the various kinds of marsh grass throw in the color.  The pine trees stand above oaks, cedars, and underbrush as “tree herders” watching over their ragged and tangled charges.

Note on cameras: I use a Canon ELPH 320 HS, but I have not been completely satisfied with the color and contrast of photos of my paintings.  I did some experimenting this afternoon with manual settings and found the results were much more satisfactory.  I set the camera for "cloudy" daylight.  The colors are still slightly too green, but I can adjust that with just a touch from Photoshop.

Cord Grass Hammock

Pastel on sanded Arches, 15x11
Plein air painting at Castaway Island Preserve, Jacksonville.

At some time in the past a small channel was dug through the salt marsh, and some of the piles of sand beside the channel have become small islands dominated by marsh grass and small cedar trees.  This painting is one of those small “hammock” that dot the Castaway Island marsh.
When I started this painting, the tide was full.  The sea breeze ruffled the water keeping the reflections indistinct but filled with color.  The cord grass is just starting to show the green of summer, but the spartina in the background has already turned to its summer colors.
After I got home and looked at the painting on my easel, I decided to add the hint of the cedar trunk on the right in order to tie the trees into the foreground.