Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Surfs up!

Theres another painting I have just finished. It is another 18 x 24. This one is on its way to a show at the historic Old Lyme Art Association. I painted this at a place called the Ovens near Bar Harbor, Maine. Those of you who paint up there are thinking, where is THAT? Well its on the northeast corner of MDI but, you pretty much have to know someone to get there. In the 19th century when Bar Harbor was a summer resort for the super wealthy, this was in the guidebooks and was a frequently visited spot. I had seen old pictures of it but had never bumped into it. A fellow who owned a house near there invited me to come and paint using his cottage as a staging area.. I don't believe there is any public access to it. I had to paint this at low tide, so I could get onto the beach. Here is what was actually there.

I have been talking a lot about modifying the landscape in small ways. But this is am example of a major reworking of the landscape. I stood on the beach and started the painting, but when I got home, I made up the surf . Notice also that I have left out a stairway some jerk built down this cliff face . I am amazed he was able to get a permit to do such a thing.

When I was in art school my teachers derided traditional painters as not creative. I offer this job as evidence that a great deal of creative imagination can and often should be brought to landscape painting. When I got the painting home it seemed like all that beach wasn't working. Putting the water in seemed like it would make a far more interesting painting. The water had to be made up, I had no photo reference for that. I have painted a lot of seascape over the years so I knew sort of how to do it, but I don't think I have ever painted actually looking down the length of the breakers. The design is pretty out there, but I think it works. Just barely anyways. Here are a couple of the early stages of the painting on location.

This is my initial lay in. You saw me do a lay in with raw umber, here is one in ultramarine which is, like I said last night, an acceptable color for me to have under my shadows. There was a lot of blue out there, and I intended to put in the beach at this point, and a lot of the sky note was reflecting down into the sand. As usual, there is no white in this and I am pulling it out with a rag and putting it down with a brush. It is real thin.

Here It is a little more developed. I have started top lay color in over a pretty complete monochrome drawing of the subject, It does take some time to do the monochrome underpainting, but it often saves me big problems with my drawing and design later.I don't have shots of more in between stages of this painting unfortunately, I have had a hard time remembering to shoot the painting during the various states of its development. I an working on that.I get so entranced working on the painting that I forget.

I want to remind any one who is interested of the upcoming workshop in Jaffrey New Hampshire. Here is a link to a list of materials for you who are coming. There is still room in the class and if you want to sign up, go to the side bar on the right, and up there at the top is a link that will take you to a page where you can do that.

I have about four more posts I want to do before I return to chronicling the history of American landscape painting. I think its good to mix it up a little bit. As excited as I am about art history, I know there are readers out there who really come for art tutorials, and I don't want to run them off. See you tomorrow.


Unknown said...

Thanks so much, really appreciate seeing it in stages.

jeff said...

Very good work. Bravo, it's a very successful painting.

For those who have never tried this kind of thing, this is very hard too do and to control.

The water looks like you were standing in the shallows with waders on.

Turner was big on composing with water. You have to really.

Gregory Becker said...

Nice painting. The inventing of the surf is priceless. It definitely works.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

This lesson was a good one for me, and I may try adding more water on a painting that's not working well.

The mix-up works great,too. Never sure what will be next, but know it will be interesting. Thanks!

Jan Blencowe said...

I am very close to the Lyme Art Assoc. I am going to visit your painting and see it in person. I am giddy with delight!

Unknown said...

great work, as usual. See, This is why I am paying the big bucks to take that New Hampshire landscape class.
Anybody else here going? I have a couple of spare rooms if you want a free place to stay.
I like TRO. (transparent red oxide)
I HATE Rembrandt's titanium white, however.Its like painting with whipped butter. You can put THAT in your shoes. Anybody used Galkyd white? supposed to be quicker drying - would be handy for plein air-ing.

"Pyottes" one of them thar funny exercize classes fer your gut muscles.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

Did you know that the subject Turner taught for the academy was perspective.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think I will do a post on surf anatomy someday soon.

Stapleton Kearns said...

You can't just stick it anywhere. It is a mistake in portraits and streetscenes, unless its venice.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I hope it lives up to that!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have used the WN Griffin Alkyd and it is pretty good, but it is expensive,
Also it doesn't handle as well as some other whites.
Looking forward to the workshop!

Stapleton Kearns said...

pyottes= small Italian pastry made from the buds of a a hallucinogenic cactus.

Unknown said...

thought that was mushrooms...
(not that I would know)

jeff said...

Stap I sure did. I have about six Turner books and some of my favorite are his topographical drawings and his perspective class drawings.
That man could draw. I think he was one of the youngest lectures at the Royal Academy ever to teach the subject. I think he was still in his twenties when started teaching.

I use to live in Edinburgh Scotland and they have the largest collection outside of the Tate, of his drawings and watercolors. Turner willed them to Scotland and they can only be shown in February.
The condition of these was outstanding due to being kept in the dark for most of the last 160 years.