Sunday, April 24, 2016

First Light

Pastel on UArt, 6x9

When the sun first breaks above the horizon and floods the marsh. the grasses glow with a blaze of spring freshness.  The dark blue of the sky is reflected as an even deeper blue in the still water, and against this tableau the palm trees of the scattered hammocks stand as sentries to greet the coming day.
This painting was completed as a demonstration in the Georgia Nick Gallery in St. Augustine.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spring Surf - GNG Demo Day 1

Pastel on UArt 400, 6x9

What I wanted to capture was the way the surf breaks close to the beach at high tide.  The time of day is mid afternoon.  The shadows are short and close, the colors are bright, and the clouds and the breaking waves are mostly blinding white.  In reality, the waves and clouds seen so white because the other colors are so intense.  I tried to capture that intensity by emphasizing the contrasts in value and purity of color.
This painting was completed as a demonstration in the Georgia Nick Gallery in St. Augustine.  My appreciation to Gayle Nick.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring, Windy and Hazy

Revised painting - 4/21/16

Original Plein Air Painting

Pastel, 6x9 on UArt 400

I took my plein air box to South Ponte Vedre Beach and set up my easel in edge of the dunes.  The wind was stiff and the sun was distant and hazy, but the colors were brilliant.  The dunes are protected here by the state park and they line up in a long row back from the beach.  At low tide, the pink and golden sand creates a warm border between the deep gray-green of the grass and the blue and churning white of the water.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Etude - Down to the Beach

Ballpoint Pen Drawing 8x12 mm.

Etude Page

Sketch and notes in my sketch book.  
This drawing is a preliminary study for my demo at Georgia Nick Gallery on April 23 and 24.  I will have to economize my time to complete a work during the demo.  I will do practice on this one so I can work out the underpaint and color selections ahead of time.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dutton Island, Windy Morning

Pastel 6x9 on UArt 400

This is a plein air piece done with the First Coast Pastel Society at Dutton Island Preserve, Atlantic Beach.

When I got this painting back in the studio, I realized that a number of things kept the composition from working. I made some revisions in order to enhance the brightness, haziness, and sense of wind in the painting.
The spot I selected to paint left me in bright sun with no shade.  My sun umbrella kept my paper in shade but not my palette, and I was a little disappointed in the colors when I got the painting up in my studio.  This first photo below is of the painting without being adjusted in the studio. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mid Morning Patterns

Pastel on UArt, 9x6 - Plein Air

Plein air painting from this morning. I believe all the important information is here. The patterns of streaming light and deep shadows make the ordinary scene dramatic.  The morning was passing quickly by the time I finally got set up to paint.  I had to work quickly in order to capture the fugitive scene with deep shadows and blazing sunlight.  Often I find the pressure of time in plein air painting brings the best results.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Heading Out Again

Pastel on Multimedia Board, 9x12

When the tide comes in, the sea gulls take wing and head out past the breakers.  The surf is high, and the waves tumble over each other as they break.  The water turns green with the foam from the waves, and the sunlight paints the churning water with the delicate shades of blue, pink, and purple. 

My process with this painting was to paint the water first.  A similar painting had recently sold from Georgia Nick Gallery, and I used that painting as a starting point for this one.  

Check values with Black and White

When I had gotten a good start on the waves, I took a photo and printed it in black and white.  Doing that showed me that the bottom line of the main wave needed some variation and the foreground was a distraction.

Finalize the waves and water

After making those changes, I was satisfied with the water and wave.

Draw the gulls on a black and white print

In order to get the proportions of the gulls and their placement, I printed a copy of the painting in black and white.  This also gave me a final check on the values.

When adding the final touches to a painting like this, I try to make my final decisions on a copy of the painting.  I drew and erased the birds for quite some time until I was satisfied.  The result is displayed above. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Beach Springtime

Pastel over Watercolor & Ink

One of the surest signs of spring is the explosion of green grass and shrubs through the gray and brown stubble of the winter.  The wind from the south blows away the remaining clouds and lets the sunlight flood the dunes.