Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A seascape project

I made this sketch on location near York, Maine last week. I actually made up the water, the foreground was filled with rock and weeds as it was low tide. It might look like this at high tide, I don't know. It has the defect that I wrote about recently that I call "down in the hole.". That's a problem that you get painting the sea on location. The water is too far below your eye level.I am enlarging the painting to 26 by 36 and reinterpreting it to look as it might from a lower angle. Below is my lay-in for a larger version having a lower viewpoint. I also made a few small changes here and there. This is the 26 by 36, so it is a lot larger than the sketch. I have only established the big poster shapes. This is about three hours of work.

Here are the two, side by side.

I hope to work on it again tomorrow and I will post the results for you to see, along with some commentary on what I am up to. This may qualify as the seascape demo I promised a month or two ago.


barbara b. land of boz said...

Top of the morning to ya Stapleton!
You are up late this evening.
I like your seascape sketch, I didn't see "the down in the hole"
till you pointed it out. I'll have to look at my sketches from Corpus
Christi to see if I have some that way.
It's soooo good to be home again.
I will play catch-up tommorrow.

BTW....Your rocks are awesome, the
Gulf has a lot of sand dunes.

Edcooper_art said...

Great paintings!...unfortunatly no coast like that in east anglia!..nice composition and interesting to see you plaing with the viewpoint!

willek said...

Stape...You have to be more careful of your image. Did you know that the Z in Prizm is silent. If you had a PR guy working for you I'm sure he would insist that you own a Hummer or an Avelanche to match with the big easel you are very capable of handling. The pri_m is subconciously associated with the chinese made franch half box easel.

willek said...

Of course, you know that I have not missed a single posting, but I have been really hustling lately and I think these composition things are my weakest area so I am listening intently.

More seriously... I am sure you did the translation from othe smaller sketch to the larger one with much forethought, but, while you raised many of the elements of the painting, eg: the middle ground rocks and the foreground rock above the horizon, you kept the relative position of the breaking wave. I know you are not finished, but why did you decide to keep the wave down in the hole?

Mary Bullock said...

Doesn't this painting have "the Beak" that earlier you warned us about?

Plein Air Gal said...

Now here's a question ... in the "down in the hole" view I feel like I am SAFELY sitting on some rocks and free to relax and enjoy watching & listening to the surf. In the other view, I feel an urgent need to pack up my stuff and move somewhat inland (or go to higher ground) before my chair/blanket/easel/whatever and me get hit by a wave and pulled out to sea. So my question: WHY is it "better" to put the viewer in a dangerous position where they don't want to linger and enjoy the view?

Carol Nelson said...

I like how you got down in the hole on the larger painting. Showing the two side by side makes it easy to see how much more dramatic the larger one is.
Most sane people would not venture down into the path of those crashing breakers for such an exciting view.

Tim Fitzgerald said...

I have a question completely unrelated to your post but microsoft for some reason won't let me ask Stape on Outlook express.
Can you give me your opinion on the value of critiquing a work by another painter? It seems to me that the very act of asking for the critique makes the reviewer find something wrong. Do you think that if you asked a person to look at any painting by any artist they would find many things to find lacking?
Say perhaps I asked you to look at a Painting and it was painted by a famous painter who is considered a master and you didn't know it, would you find nothing you would change because he is a master. Or because one didn't know who painted it would one find many things that are wrong or badly painted? Would you forinstance give tips to A.T.Hibbard if you thought it was someone else's work.
You see the dilemma? Isn't the very nature of painting subjective,and don't we judge other people by our standards? How do you deal with this problem when asked to critique a painting? I'm sure everyone who reads your Blog as I do values your opinion.

Mark Bridges said...

woohoo. York is my home town and you're creating a fantastic painting. Looks like the far end of the Harbor beach.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stape,
I am now so hooked on painting outdoors due to your prescription for how to improve; your inspiration that if I keep trying I will be able to do it( Yippee! I got one I liked of the ocean Sunday!); your great advice that makes me think I can do it; and your challange to just get out of the studio and attempt it! I now only get inside to read your blog every few days!
Yikes! don't ever think you are losing our attention, we are here even when we are silent!
Thank you, thank you! Terry

billspaintingmn said...

You know, I will say the larger painting may have a more refind look to it, however I like the first one better.
The first one has a more exploratory look, the sky is more dramatic, and doesn't have that "posed" look. You capured it
while it wasen't looking!
The second one seems to have rehurst its lines so much that it doesn't feel what it's saying.(I'm not saying it doen't have feeling, because it does!)
(I hope you don't mind this comment!)

Unknown said...

I like 'em both. I have been so taken with the whole seascape thing that I've been practicing one or two here at home. Sort of like learning to drive while sitting on the couch.
I would be interested to know what color mixes you usually use for water and sky..

Stapleton Kearns said...

Dunes are a a great subject. Good luck with that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Can I come stay in your garage?

Stapleton Kearns said...

That's my daughters car. I drive a Lincoln.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am not sure how that wave is going to end up finally. We'll have to watch how it progresses. I know and have worked out only what is on the canvass, although I have some ideas to play with.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

Plein air girl;
I like it better, it is more dramatic and involving. You can easily get the "down in the hole" view if you prefer it and sometimes it works well too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't believe you could set up and paint from that angle.

Stapleton Kearns said...

In practice it is not a dilemma at least not commonly. It is easy to recognize the quality of a master quality artist. Sometimes a good artist makes a weak design that is easily ctitiqwue. But usually with a grteat apinting, the wow factor is so high that you know you are lookikng at a fine painter. Quality is a real thing in painting and not just an opinion. Abandon relativism if you want to paint well. There really are better and worse painters. And guitarists too. If I told you I played better than Jimi Hendrix and you disputed that, I could say that was just YOUR opinion. But I don't play as well as Hendrix no matter how argument for that position is stated.Any decent guitar player would know that in about 12 bars.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I was at Fort something or other up the coast from there. I went with some locals and have no idea where I was. There was actually no surf.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, I always like to hear that In have been useful to you guys. Will work for comments!

Stapleton Kearns said...

That is always the trick to get the good things from a painting into a new version without losing to much as you alter it. Always a balancing act..

Stapleton Kearns said...

Deb: Thank you. As you probably expect, I don't really remember what colors I used where, although I could probably figure it out.

willek said...

THAT was a very tricky and misleading photo. Of course, a lincoln is completely appropriate for the big easel.

Can't wait to see how you resolve the picture. The problem, as I see it is: In reality, the lower you go the less of the troughs you see, but the troughs have some great stuff in them. Homer made terrific design with that low aspect. I saw that terrific roomful of his seascapes in the MFA a few years ago. When I try it I always get in trouble trying to figure out the height of that first wave. SHould you show that trough? . You have to be looking down at that first one somewhat. The others would mask each other out some what. .. or the middle ground and back ground waves might be seen only in low areas in the first and second waves. That would be really low aspect. This may not be very clear, I think I have to go to bed