Pacific Rhythms (18 x 36 watercolor) private collection
I painted this seascape for the most marvelous client. Her request charmed me. She wanted a seascape with no figures or land masses, beach, or boats; just waves, sky, and clouds. The waves and clouds must be rhythmic to inspire jazz improvisation. The painting must be large enough to fill the space above her piano.
The project presented some challenges, most of them having to do with size. Standard watercolor sheets are only 24 x 30 inches. She wanted a painting that was 36 inches wide, so the paper had to be special ordered. I don’t have an easel large enough to accommodate a painting this size, so I used my studio table. When I taped the paper to my studio table, there was no room left for water and brushes. To see how the painting looked from five feet back, I had to stand on a chair.
The other challenge had to do with how to create a path through the painting for the eye. I decided on a sideways “u” beginning on the bottom left following the breakers in and return across the horizon and out through a break in the clouds.
I presented it to the client this morning and I’m happy to say she loved it. It’s at the framers now.
The original belongs to a lovely pianist, but prints are available here.
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Breakers Below Yaquina Head (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00
I did this little painting at the gallery last Wednesday. It is another view of rocks below Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon.
I painted it loosely without using mask reserving the white paper in the clouds, waves and foreground by painting around them. I added the spray on the rocks with opaque chinese white. I used phthalo blue, cobalt blue, raw sienna, burnt sienna, and a hint of quinacridone deep red rose.
This painting is currently on display at Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon. You may still purchase it by mail on inquiry through the contact page of this blog.
Sliver Stream (watercolor 5 x7) SOLD
Like yesterday’s paintings, I did this little watercolor at the gallery last Wednesday. Postcard sized paintings work really well for gallery shifts. Space at the gallery for painting is limited and I want to be able to drop whatever I am doing to greet and talk to patrons. At this scale there’s hardly ever a bad moment to stop painting.
These little paintings make good sketches for working out larger work too. It’s so much easier to experiment with composition when the paper I’m risking is only 5 x 7.
The subject is Agate Beach in Newport at sunset. If the stream has a name, I don’t know it. And it wouldn’t surprise me to discover it seasonal runoff. It’s course over the sand varies every time I visit. But it’s always wide and shallow. This Spring the it’s mouth was over fifty feet wide and perhaps two or three inches deep. I liked the silver reflections in the late evening and early mornings.
The palette is burnt sienna, new gamgee (yellow), quinacridone deep red rose, cobalt blue and phthalo blue. I painted the sunset colors in tandem working first in the sky and then in the reflections and back again to the sky as I added new colors. I began with the yellows, then worked along through the oranges, reds, and purples. The purple is phthalo blue and quinacridone.
The View From House Rock (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD
This is the view looking west from House Rock just north of Brookings, Oregon.
I’m not sure why House Rock is named House Rock. When we were on it we weren’t sure if we were supposed to be on it or looking for it. A little google search made it clear we were on it, but no information about the name. I have my guesses though. The hill was surprisingly flat on top and hiking down below it I discovered wild onion, wild iris, wild rose, and strawberries. Only the iris were in bloom. Many years of hiking around ghost towns have taught me which domestic plants go native when the settlers leave. Onions, rhubarb, strawberries and roses were common survivors in Colorado and they appear to be survivors here too. I think there was once a house on house rock, not that the rock is shaped like a house.
The palette is burnt sienna, raw sienna, cobalt blue, and phthalo blue.
Twixt Wind and Water II (12 x 16) $225
Twixt Wind and Water
We spent last weekend on the beach. I took enough photographs to have seacape material for some time to come. While I was there I reworked Twixt Wind and Water. Here is the result. As you can see, I gave the painting considerably more sea-room to the left, so that she has something more to look into.
I began her hair with an under-painting of colbalt blue. Then I used layers of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and cobalt blue to complete it. Quidacrone deep red rose provides the accent color in the hair band.
Her jacket is cobalt blue and prussian blue mixed on the palate.
The sea began as phthalo blue and burnt sienna with reserved whites. Then I changed my mind about much of the wave action and began experimenting with white gouache. To cover strong colors, gouache must be laid on fairly heavily. And even though I don’t use ultra white paper, gouache white is still bluer that the paper. Also, as I discovered gouache will washback into transparent watercolor and vice versa. Work a little gouache onto the paper and nothing painted there will ever be entirely transparent again.
The effect is interesting, but I think next time I’ll stick to transparent watercolors, unyielding to change though they may be. I like the translucency better.
Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.com
A Gift For the Sea (5 x 7) SOLD
This is another postcard sized painting I did while demonstrating at the fair. This particular one is yet another view of the two boys I had so much fun watching. They were trying to return a log to the sea. As the tide was coming in, it kept spitting it out. They were having a marvelous time.
The palette was my usual ocean foursome: cobalt blue, phthalo blue, raw sienna, and burnt sienna. The Northwest beaches here rarely show the ocean in bright colors. It’s a earth tone world on the Oregon beaches.
I reserved the figures and the whites with liquid mask before painting the ocean and beach. Notice that the crested waves in the foreground are greener than the waves in the background. When a wave crests you can see into the water from the side and here isn’t much sky reflected into it. Consequently it tends to look green rather than blue, like the edge of a glass pane. I used cobalt blue for the background waves and the greener phthalo blue mixed with a little raw sienna for the crested waves. I like the effect.
After the paint dried, I lifted the mask and added the figures. I was very careful to preserve the whites on the front of their swim trunks. The light was strong that afternoon and I wanted to keep it in the painting.
I added the reflections as I added the figures. I didn’t reserve space for them with mask, because painting them over the beach and water colors mimics the way they really look.
Afternoon Tide Tag (5 x 7) $30.00
This is another postcard sized painting. I find it therapeutic to do these little paintings while I’m in the throws of getting ready to stock another polymer clay sculpture booth. While they don’t take as long as my larger pieces, it is challenging to get enough detail into these tiny paintings without overwhelming them with fussy little brush strokes.
I took endless photos of this young man and his brother last summer. They were very active and having a grand time playing in the waves. The light was beautiful and so were the boys. I may paint one or both of them again tomorrow.
The palette is cerulean blue, burnt sienna, and raw sienna. Substituting cerulean for my usual cobalt blue resulted in a greener and less gray sea. I used raw sienna rather than yellow ocher because ocher is on the green side of yellow and would have resulted in a pea green sea. For the boy’s skin and hair I used all three colors. The more I work with watercolor the more I am drawn to the sedimentary and metallic pigments. I have trouble with the organics.
This painting is available on-line through my Etsy shop.