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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.
Yet another little painting I did at the fair. This one is a smaller version of one of my favorite paintings, Twixt Wind and Water. The only thing I didn’t like about the original was the vertical format. I thought the painting would look better with more sea and waves to her left. So I played around with that idea in this smaller version. I do like the extension of the the sea, but I think I made a mistake in showing too much of her right side. If I do a full sized painting of this one again, I will keep the extended horizon but still crop-out most of her right shoulder.
As you can see, both paintings show a complete change in compositional thinking from when I took the reference photo. Taking the photo, my thoughts were all about the shape of her figure and the rock. But when I looked at the photo up close, I fell in love with the hair spilling out of her braid. That required some rethinking. Looking at the photo again, I’m tempted to include more of her body to increase the feeling of movement.