Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wave Study #15 and a Challenge

© 2012 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #15, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas
Here is Wave Study #15 which I painted a few days before Christmas. It was a cold sunny day between storms. The day did cloud over and while I got some lovely bright light on the waveforms, The water was not sparkling all that much due to the choppy waves and the long angle of the sun. As you can tell, I am still pursuing some of those cross waves. This time the waves seemed to be twisting and folding into each other. Always changing it is. I guess that is part of what fascinates me so.
Looking at this painting now after not really looking at it for a couple of days tells me I need to work on the broken wave form, the white part which is to say, the breakers. I would like to capture a bit more of the variation in shape and add a bit more of a value range. Value in the white foamy waves is a very subtle thing but I know it is there because I see it. I will have to make a list of areas to focus on. Breaker shape and value will be added to it for sure.
This will be a short post as we are busy with the family and memorial services and all. I am champing at the bit to ratchet up my production and create paintings for sale as well as the wave studies. To that end since misery loves that is, since it is lovely to have companions and teammates, I have decided to join artist and art marketing enthusiast Leslie Saeta in her 30 paintings in 30 days challenge starting January 2, 2013. I should have a few things to post about in January!
I probably will not have another post until the first or second, although I may have a surprise post.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and productive New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

LIfe Goes On: Wave Study 14

©2012 R.L. Delight, Wave Study 14, 6"x8",oil on hemp canvas.
I will be posting a bit erratically until the new year but here is Wave Study #14. I painted this yesterday and it was cold and stormy. There was actually a sun break out on the horizon. I didn't quite get the effect in the painting but I could see one of the several squall lines that hit me. I could actually see the wall of wind coming as the spindrift would start to rise in the distance and get nearer. Judging the distances by eye, I would say the spindrift was shooting up at least 20 feet.
I tried painting those cross-waves again. This one is a bit better although I still need to get a few more aspects to make them look right. Due to the cold and wet, I only lasted two and a half hours out there. I spent another hour in the studio to get the painting to this stage. I worked from memory.
Painting in this manner and not using photos for reference is slowly developing my visual memory. Basically when I get to the spot I want to paint from, I study the ocean and look at what the waves are doing. I find something I personally like and focus on that particular kind of wave or shape. If it isn't raining too hard, I do a sketch, piecing a composition together. I don't always stick to the sketch but for this painting I pretty much did.
Once I have watched awhile (amount of time depends on weather conditions) I set up my gear and start to paint. Unfortunately the tide is going out during the morning hours at this time which means my subject is moving away from me. When the tide gets to a certain point those cross-wave no longer happen.
I like to build the sky first and then I look for similar waves and action to paint the idea I had. I paint until I can't figure out where to go next and then I study the waves again. Once I get the idea, I paint some more. I usually reach a point where I can't remember any more and the scene has changed so much that I can't watch to refresh my memory. By that time, about 3 hours has passed and I am ready to pack up. Sometime I can get everything I want to in the sketch, sometimes I have to put in a little more time on it in studio.
I went out today too but will share that one in a post tomorrow.
Happy Solstice everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Of Living a Life

Dear Friends, it has been a sad day today. This has been quite a week. In the midst of our national tragedies here in the U.S. my mate and I are faced with a few personal ones. Today along with the shock of hearing the terrible news out of Newtown, Conn. we learned that my husband's father, my father-in-law has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I am posting this to let you all know that it might be a few days before posting again while we make the necessary plans and travels. I would love to add a lovely poem or words of wisdom but it has been a long day and I cannot think of any at the moment.
My father-in-law lived a good life and a long life. He will be missed. We will continue our life with thoughts of him and the others who have crossed over in our hearts.
As for the families who lost their children and loved ones to unthinkable violence, my heart breaks.
I will be back to continue to paint the beauty that is necessary for living.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lucky 13

Lucky 13, Wave study-13, 6"x8", oil on hemp
Dreadful isn't it? Yes it is. Oh, I know it has potential and there are elements that captured information I need even if they are quite raw, but, it is still dreadful and very discouraging. I was beginning to think that study number 13 was going to be jinxed.
Here is the back story on this one:
I have been doing a bit of studying and have a few new process skills I am acquiring. That was challenge number one. It is always one step forward and three steps back when you start to throw new techniques or new mediums in.
I spent a very cold and wet three hours out on the beach, although some of that time was spent observing and sketching, which was challenge number 2. I got home cold, wet, hungry, tired, and discouraged.
I knew what I had to do. I got all of my gear drying in front of the fireplace, got into warm dry clothes, and had hot food and drink. I put the painting away for the rest of the day and did not look at it again until this morning.
While resting I reviewed what went wrong and realized what was going right! I was trying to paint some rather complex waves that fascinate me and are, at the moment, a huge challenge to my wave painting skills. I did capture their spirit but not their technical points.
I need more information and study. That was a great discovery. I tried, I didn't succeed as desired, study further, try again. Hopefully it will improve, but maybe not at first.
The rest of my day seemed to go like the painting. Even my cooking did not turn out and I will state that I am a decent cook. After thinking about the painting and the day in general I realized that this was Lucky 13 indeed.
Lucky because I learned, lucky because I did it anyway even when I wanted to give up, and lucky because today I went out and spent three hours watching and sketching the waves to further understand my kinetic and fluid subject matter. This is my job and here is my office:
My office, it changes by the minute
And here is one of my office mates:
One of my office mates
Yes, sometimes it is hard and frustrating but I absolutely love it. I got a lot of good information today but it will take time to assimilate. Tomorrow I will paint wave study number 14. I don't know if I will try to paint those incredible cross-waves that intrigue me so much but I will get back to them soon.
Here is to lucky 13!

Friday, December 7, 2012

An Even Dozen

© 2012 R.L. Delight, Wave study #12, 6"x8", Falcon Cove area, oil on hemp canvas
Here is wave study number 12. I did take it in the wan gray light of day today. Unfortunately this particular canvas had a lot of wrinkles which show up in this picture. It doesn't show up as much in real life. The second batch of canvases I am preparing do not have those wrinkles. I took an extra step to hopefully eliminate them. I know these are studies and I am deliberately using the equivalent of newsprint for painting on but I don't need to make it more challenging than it already is.
Before I get started on today, I want to answer a very good question that someone asked in a comment on a previous post. She asked if I was happy with the clouds I painted in a particular study. Good question, the short answer is no! The clouds had simply been blocked in to give me an idea of the light and conditions of the sky and day. If this had been a finished painting, they definitely would have been worked on further. It was a good and well put question and gives me a chance to clarify that none of these wave studies are meant to be finished paintings. I am doing them to practice and learn to paint and draw waves from life.
I really like to blog about this side of being an artist. So many people think artists are just born with talent. Some are born with a bit more hand-eye coordination than others but all have to work at it, even if they start at a very young age. The wave studies are the equivalent of playing scales on a piano. Tedious, sometimes hard and boring, but necessary to make beautiful music, or art.
Today I started out on a rather ambitious plan to drop off paintings, do some errands, and hit one of my favorite spots to paint on the way home to get number 13 done. Alas, for best laid plans...
I got my paintings in their frames, labels and cards affixed, hanging wires attached and in protective boxes. They were loaded into the car along with my painting pack, shopping bags, Twill's coat, blanket, treats, leash, water, doggy bags. My old dog was gently helped into the car and off we went. I drove through some serious stormy weather beginning to have doubts about possible painting. Then I realized I forgot my painting umbrella. With the torrential downpour, hail,  and rising wind I thought I would have to probably paint from the car even if I did have it along anyway. I got to the gallery, dropped off the paintings, and gave Twill a turn about the town. Back into the car and further north to do the shopping. Well, on and on it went until I was finally able to head back toward home.
By the time we were passing my possible painting spots, the tide had turned making those spots too dangerous and I only had about 2 hours of daylight left. We got home cold, tired, and hungry (starting to see a trend here) but got busy and all was taken care of.
My mate has started a new job and even though I have carried on with getting out to paint as usual, I miss his help with some of the daily tasks. I need to take a day to get a few more things in place to make it easier to get out and paint and still have some of the home comforts. So, tomorrow I will get things set and Sunday and Monday are family days and a day off. I won't be getting out to paint until Tuesday but I will take the in between moments to do a bit of necessary studying and if I can swing it, get out to do a wave sketch or two for an hour.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Change of Scene

Falcon Cove Area looking south
The weather is always changing here. Yesterday sunny and today, cold, wet, and stormy. Not too stormy to paint though! I had access to our CRV today so I drove seven miles up the road to a place I haven't had a chance to explore yet. It is a bit off the beaten path down a narrow bumpy road but I made my way down to this beach where I was the only person on it. It is so completely different from the beach where I live even though it is only a few miles north. There are all these lovely smooth round stones for one that are slippery to walk on. The wave action is completely different but no less dramatic. I had the scant shelter of a high bank at my back where I set up my easel. Here is a picture of the steps I had to make my way down to the beach on:
They were sturdy but the driftwood is slippery when wet and I had my painting pack on my back. I went slow and careful down the steps. If you look toward the upper right of the picture you can see my white car parked in the distance.
Here is the beach looking to the north:
Falcon cove area looking north
I painted here for about two hours before I got too cold. I got rained on a little bit. I have switched to the water miscible oil paints and when they get wet they run, unlike regular oil paints. It was a challenge now and then. There was only a slight wind but enough to make it a cold wet day of painting. I liked this spot and will go back again since it is so close. I was happy to get back home to a hot lunch and tea.
I did finish the painting, number 12 in the wave study series. I decided to take a picture of it tomorrow in the daylight. It was too dark to take a picture in natural light and the daylight bulbs just don't quite do the same. This time of year where I live it is too dark by 4pm. I will post it tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, I have another special outing planned. I have to drop off two of my paintings at the Cannon Beach Art Gallery. I volunteer there as a docent manning the gallery. This month is the docent's show where all of us volunteers get to display some of our work for sale. A bit of unfortunate timing for me as I am slowly changing the kind of work I do and only have older work but I am happy to have the opportunity. I will be taking my sweet girl Twill with me and after we drop off the work, I am going to go paint. I am not sure if I will go to Ecola State Park, Hug Point, or perhaps Arch Cape or Arcadia Beach. I have to check the tides. Unless it is pouring rain, I will take the camera again to share a bit of the beauty of the coast as well as my paintings. Twill and I will be making a day of it.
It is getting late and we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow and I best get ready.
A final note for those who read past the special section in a previous post. It is a definite thumbs up on the pStyle. Works just fine.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wave Study 11 and a Pair of New Boots

©2012 R.L. Delight, Wave Study 11, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas
It has been quite a day. The sun came out and I actually felt warm enough to shed a few layers while painting on the beach this morning. The drawback to the sun coming out is that there are more people wandering around the beach which means folks are likely to want to come up and chat. I had a hard time concentrating with the interruptions.
I spent the past two days getting caught up on chores and prepared for the next round of ten paintings. The weather was a bit stormy so it worked out well since the sun came out today. The ocean was a lovely shade of dark green with the mostly blue sky reflecting off the water.
For today's painting, I did my best to concentrate on values, in spite of the interruptions. The picture of the painting above was taken at twilight which meant I had to use the daylight bulbs. The painting was wet and the canvas buckling a bit on the panel so there is a bit of a glare on the wet paint. I simply tape the edges of the canvas to the panel which is not ideal and causes bucking. These are reference and practice sketches only. They get removed from the boards to pin up on the bulletin board. The paintings that I will be selling will be on nice linen canvas boards.
Just for fun, here is a picture I took right after I packed up to leave for the day:
Of course, the angle is different and the lens does not get the close up perspective I can get from life. Notice how dull and flat it looks? This is why I don't use photos for reference at this point. They can have their place though. So pick a wave, any wave. The need to keep size, perspective, and interest means I edit, heavily, when designing a composition. I do sketch it out in my notebook first after studying what the waves are doing that day. The light and tides had changed quite a bit by the time I took this picture and the clouds over the ocean at this point were not as dramatic. Looking south was a completely different story. I could see a dark curtain of rain sweeping in from the sea. I managed to beat it home.
I had the camera with me today because it was so nice and I wanted to try to get a picture of me painting for my profile on my Facebook page. Here is what I ended up with,
The boots I am wearing are my old ones and yes, my feet are wet. As I mentioned earlier, it was warm enough to shed some layers. When I got home and picked up the mail, my new boots had arrived. I get to try them out possibly tomorrow if I don't need to paint from the truck.
So much to learn. Good thing I am planning to paint 100 sketches to start with. I am going to need all the practice I can get. I have a final coat or two of gesso to put on the remaining small hemp canvases and then I can work on finished paintings and drawing practice in the afternoons.
I am having a hard time staying awake so I best finish up.
Take care all!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The First Ten Wave Studies

First Ten

I had to take this picture after dark so I used daylight bulbs. Still not the best light to see them in. Number one starts at the top left corner and then they go down the side with number ten being the third and last in the second column. The first two paintings I did on Raymar Art panels that were part of a sample pack. I had toned them with burnt sienna before I knew I was going to use them for wave studies. It is kind of hard to see them very well in this picture but it is fun to stop and take a break and study them. I learn a lot. They definitely look related and painted by the same person. I do try to vary the composition but I can see some tendencies starting to crop up. I will have to work on that. I don't want them all to look too much alike.
Today I spent the day attending life drawing in the morning and then errands up north in the afternoon. I had hoped to find a pair of rubber boots to replace my nearly useless ones. Unfortunately I didn't find a pair. I don't mind spending a little extra money on quality that will last but I do mind spending a lot on something poorly made. I looked at the Bogs (in case you are reading Theresa) the only model they had in the store was made with neoprene on the upper. I need waterproof up to my calve. The runoff streams get deep in the wet weather and when the tide is high. I guess I will have to shop online.
Since I am at a natural break in my wave study quest, I thought I would also take the time to make a quick mention of a few new painting tools. I have tried out the Rosemary & Co. brushes I ordered. I ordered the Ivory line of synthetic bristle brushes. I had very few flats or brights in my small brush arsenal so I ordered those. I have been using a few of them while painting the wave studies and I must say I like them the best so far of all the brushes I have tried. I have been trying different lines of synthetic brushes, usually ordering one of a different brand in the same size and shape in my quest to find a good fit and these might be it. I mostly use filberts so I will have to try the filberts out before I decide completely.
On Wave Study number 10 I also tried using Cobra water miscible oil paints. I had tried them a year ago and didn't like them but I was just using water and I wasn't using the medium that is made to be used with them. I had purchased the medium some time ago but hadn't tried the paint again. I decided that it would really be nice not to have to take the more toxic OMS (odorless mineral spirits) out into nature so I gave the Cobra paints another try with the proper medium and water for clean up. I must say I am pleased. I really can't tell any difference in the way the painting looks and there was only a slight difference in paint handling.
Tomorrow is a necessary day off to catch up on chores and take care of a few things. Of course, we have another storm moving in so if the weather is nice in the morning, I might not be able to resist going out to paint. The weather rules in this quest. I know there will always be a nice storm to give me a day off now and then!
Here is a final parting shot of my dog Twill at the top of the stairs to my studio taken from the lower landing. She likes to follow me around and lay on my feet. It can be a bit challenging to work that way but at least I have warm feet.
Sweet Twill dog

Now, on to the second set of 10!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Storm Chase-ee

© 2012 R.L. Delight, Wave Study 10, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas
You have probably heard of storm-chasers, those adrenaline junkies who head into extreme weather to gather information to help further our knowledge, well today I became a storm-chase-ee. A storm chase-ee is someone who wisely seeks shelter when all hell breaks loose weather-wise. I set out to complete my tenth wave study in our CRV as the wind and rain was pretty fierce. I got an hour into the painting when the day darkened and the rain became torrential. It was starting to practically pour in through the open window so I packed up and headed to my warm studio just in time. Not long after I left another intense lightning storm swept through. I don't mind being out in the elements but thunder and lightning are not to be flirted with. I had the bones of the painting down with waves blocked in and approximate color down. The advantage of being in the studio is that I could pay more attention to values. I am still so new to plein air painting that I struggle a bit getting a good range of values out in the field. I will get there!
So ten down, ninety studies to go. That is about three months worth of entertainment for all of us. Tomorrow I will get a picture of the first 10 paintings on the bulletin board and post it. I also will be choosing one of my favorites to recreate in the studio or at least use as a starting point for a finished painting on a linen panel. I have my eye on one but this one may tempt me too. Hmmm, I might have to do more than one.
Tomorrow I have a break from painting to get a few necessary errands done up north. Picking up new waterproof boots is a high priority item on my list. My current pair have big cracks appearing and duct tape doesn't hold up to salt and sand.
I can't believe December is upon us!
Well, I have lists to make for tomorrow's jaunt. I will be heading to life drawing in the morning first. It will be a busy day.
Stay safe from the storms everyone!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Just an Average Stormy Day

©2012 R.L. Delight, Wave study-9, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas
Today is gray and stormy and comes complete with gale warnings. I knew I wouldn't be able to paint out in the wind and rain so I painted this morning from inside my truck with the window rolled down. For the most part it went surprisingly well. The main drawback was the light. I had my box as close to the open window as possible but it still changed what I saw on the palette. Most of the difference was in the sand area. When I got the painting home the sand looked very green. I did use yellow ochre with a bit of red and blue. I also had a hard time finding good light to take the picture in. I tried using the daylight bulbs as I had for one of my other paintings but that green color really popped out. I found a bit of natural light which made the colors closer with what I had put down but you can see every wrinkle and buckling here.
I was further from the waves than I usually am. I was able to park along side of the road that goes in front of the beach and I had a pretty good view. I will probably use that as one of my go-to spots when I need to be sheltered to paint. I was surprised that the wind didn't blow through the open window so much but it sure rocked my Toyota Tundra truck quite a bit. Right as I was finishing up the rain got a bit heavy and started blowing inside the truck. The wind was blowing onshore today from the west and it whipped the foam off in chunks which would land on the wet sand and then blow up the beach. I tried to capture that but still need to tweak that a bit to make it more convincing.
This is my 9th wave study! I am planning to do my 10th tomorrow. I have been pinning each study up to a bulletin board in my studio (a real one, not virtual even though, I am on Pinterest too). I decided I would post a picture of the bulletin board every ten paintings. It is really a good tool for me. I can start to see trends, where I need improvement, and what I need to adjust. My color palette is a good example of this. I have noticed the blues in my paintings all look purpley. Not surprising as my main blue I use is ultramarine. I also have pthalo blue but rarely use it. I decided to add cerulean blue and remove the pthalo blue from my palette to see what kind of difference it makes. I wouldn't mind adding an orange either. I do a lot of mixing from red, yellow, and blue. I am thinking of also adding sap green or viridian. I will make the changes and see what the next ten paintings look like.
I have also decided to pick my favorite painting out of every batch of ten and do a studio version of it from the oil sketch and memory. These are what I will start selling.
If all goes well, I will have the first bulletin board picture to share this weekend!
One final announcement. I am happy to say one of my small paintings entered into the DailyPaintworks Hurricane Sandy Relief fund sold! It was with tremendous pleasure I was able to donate 100% of the proceeds to Guardians of Rescue. There is one more painting left for sale and you can view it by clicking on the DailyPaintworks widgets on the upper right corner of my blog. The painting in the auction is "Pumpkin Sage". "Sweet Tea" has gone to my friend Audene Jay where it will be hung in along with her own beautiful art. I lovely honor for me. 
Stay safe and warm everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Incoming Storm

©2012 R.L. Delight, Incoming Storm: Wavestudy-7, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas.

You can here it coming. There is a sharp slightly muffled crack and then, sudden silence. You become aware of a growing hissing sound. When you are around the sea a lot, you can recognize what is about to hit you if you don't move without even looking up, but of course you look up. It is important to judge the distance and speed of the incoming sneaker wave and make a lightning fast decision as to whether or not you need to get out of the way. Even immersed deep in painting I know the sound and it yanks me out of whatever state I have fallen into.
I knew when I arrived at my painting spot this morning that the tide was still coming in. I also could see the beginning of the storm that was forecasted had arrived.  I set up about a foot below the last high tide line. The high tide line was on the rocks otherwise I would have set up further back. I could tell I had several hours before I had to worry about being underwater. I forgot about the storm surge though. The waves were breathtaking. The spindrift from a surprisingly warm east wind easily rose eight feet above the crest of the waves.
I was a good two hours into my plein air painting when the sneaker wave brought me back to my immediate surroundings. I could tell that it was going to reach my spot and I had seconds to move. I grabbed my tripod with my pochade box and jumped up on the rocks where my pack and gear had been stowed, above the last high tide line. I held my breath and watched as the wave boiled up to literally within an inch away from my pack. It was a good thing as the sneaker wave brought to my attention that the waves I was studying so intently had actually increased in size and the first drops of the rain were beginning to fall. The wind was also beginning to shift around from the east to suddenly gusting from the south. I took another 10 minutes to get enough information to finish the painting in the studio and quickly packed up and got home. It was a glorious morning!
If the above description sounds dramatic it was because the ocean was very dramatic today. I only had the seagulls and a lone raven for company while painting this morning. The painting was done half from plein air and half from memory in the studio. I stopped taking my camera down with me so I wouldn't be tempted to paint from a photo. I have nothing against painting from photos but I realize that I really prefer to paint from life. I like living the painting.
Tomorrow will probably be a studio day if the weather reports hold true.
Can you tell that I am having a tremendous amount of fun?
Take care everyone,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

Calm Before the Storm, wave study-6, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas
Back to wave studies after Sunday's sunset. This really is the calm before the storm. The waves were gentle and the ocean somewhat glassy. The sun was out and it felt almost balmy at 56 degrees. I even had to remove one of my layers. You can see the dark clouds on the horizon slowly heading our way. The forecast calls for several days of rain and comes complete with high wind warning.
I took my time studying the waves today before starting to paint. One of the interesting features of this area is under certain conditions such as tides, size, and turbulence, the waves hit the toe of Neahkahnie Mountain, bounce off and travel sideways. When the surf is rough, the collision of the sideways traveling waves and the incoming waves is spectacular. It was high tide when I went down to paint but very calm so the waves were gently angling at times. I tried to capture that but the waves I painted just look like I wandered off track. I will have to work on that.
Today's painting serves to show me how far I need to go still! It was a wonderful morning though. I stayed longer than usual and poked around a bit. I saw a group of 4 or 5 seals feeding just beyond the breakers. There was a dead salmon on the beach and the bald eagle that lives around here swooped down to feed. The seagulls were not happy to have their lunch disturbed. The eagle is easily twice their size so they didn't do much more than just annoy it.
I have a quick mention of an interesting book to wrap up this post. I had checked out every book I could in our local library on marine painting. I really liked this one in particular:

Not a good quality picture but the book is called Marine Painting in Oil by E. John Robinson. I got it used a while ago as it is out of print. I didn't pay much for it but when I checked on Amazon I noticed the price had gone up. I like this book. I was published in 1973 so the color quality looks garish to my digitally spoiled eyes. However, it does contain some of the best information I have found yet on painting waves. I was curious so I googled the author. He is still around and now sells DVD's of his lessons. I am content with my book but it is nice to know he is still around. I admire his paintings for the structure he conveys in his ocean and waves. I am not too sure about the color key he uses but that is a matter of personal preference. I am very grateful that he is passing on his knowledge and expertise. His website can be found at
I am planning to go out everyday this week. I may have to get creative with the weather we have coming in though. My goal is to paint 100 small studies for starters. 75 of those studies will be on the loose hemp canvas I have been using. Since people have been asking, the last 25 I will paint on a museum quality linen board and I might put them up for sale. I do plan to make studio paintings based on the plein air studies on the same linen board and those will definitely be for sale.
I plan to announce my ultimate goal here on the blog on New Years day, which is startlingly close!
More adventures soon!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Experimenting with the Sunset

Yesterday I attending my local life drawing session in the morning so I decided to try my first attempt at painting a plein air sunset over the ocean. I also decided to try an experiment. I have often used an undercoat or toning layer before starting a painting. If I am doing a still life the color could be one that compliments the general color in the set up or an overall tone or mood I wish to set. There are many different reasons. I thought I would try that on the sky portion of my painting. I got to my usual spot about 3 pm to give me a chance to study the waves, do a thumbnail/notan sketch and decide on my composition. I know that the sunset colors over the ocean here are usually warm reds, yellows, greens and cool blues. I decided to tone the sky area with a cool blue which would be the compliment to the red-oranges that usually flair up in the sunset. So while I was putting in a few wave structures and wet sand area, my sky was a bright and rather garish pthalo blue. Once the event started happening I started laying the color over the top of that. As usual, a painter has to work fast to try to capture it so the painting isn't the best but I got the bones of it. On top of everything, another person came up to me right in the thick of the action to ask me about my set up, life drawing session details, etc. Turns out he was a college art teacher, drawing and watercolor. OK, I ask you, does it get more distracting than that? It was a tad stressful. I kept working as I chatted and he eventually left me to it. Here is what I have at the moment:
A very raw and first attempt at a plein air sunset.
Another challenge I had was the light shining right in my eyes. I would squint against the light looking at the colors, look back to my painting and only see spots. I am going to have to look into that. There might be a trick to it that I haven't heard. That smooshed shape in the lower right is a rock. It was nicely painted but I ran right over it when I was laying down the sunset color. The distant ocean isn't the right color either. That was mainly because it was so hard to see the color due to the setting sun in my eyes while looking back and forth. I am going to play with this one in the studio tomorrow afternoon. Overall, it was a fun experience and I am going to regroup and try it again soon. I stayed until 4:45pm or so and left when the sun had mostly gone down. The afterglow as lovely but that east wind (which comes off the coastal range) kicked up fierce and cold so I did not stay.
I did do a little bit of reworking to the previous painting. I am not doing a lot because these are studies and reference paintings, not finished works. Here was the painting as I showed it last post:
The day after, wave study 5
The Day After, wave study 5, 6"x8" oil on hemp canvas
First, to remind you the first picture was taken on a very dark day under indoor lights and wasn't really that great. The second picture was taken in indirect natural light. The work I did was in the foreground. I reshaped the cross waves a bit and corrected the lights and darks. I also made the shadows in the whole picture a warm green gray since the the whole day was a study in cool gray with no direct sunlight. I had forgotten that rule in the distraction of painting in a storm but my artist friend Renee Lammers reminded me of it. I didn't do much but it makes a bit of a difference.
I took a day off to get a few things organized and catch up on chores. I plan to be out everyday over the next 5 days. I also have some new synthetic brushes to try out from Rosemary & Co. I have heard a lot of good things about them. I will keep you posted!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Exreme Plein Air Painting

I have made it out to paint for three consecutive days now! As I mentioned in the last post, my first painting was really too horrible to post at this time. However I have pictures of the last two day's effort. I am going to post today's painting first, in a moment. Yesterday the conditions were perfect for painting. Since it was the Thanksgiving holiday and we have a lot of visitors in town, there was a lot of people on the beach and just as many dogs. I really wanted to concentrate on my painting so I kept my head down and didn't make eye contact so only one person came up to chat. There were people climbing on the rocks behind me and then sitting a while to watch. I didn't mind. I just didn't want my concentration to be disturbed.
Today's weather was completely different. Pretty typical for the Northern Oregon Coast. I headed out with my gear even though it was raining. The winds were light. I have a plein air umbrella that clamps to my setup which keeps off either the sun or the rain. It doesn't do so well in wind, let alone both rain and wind. The weather was calmer on the north end of the beach. It was actually fairly warm due to the warm front moving through. I hike from my house which is about a mile and a half, mostly along the beach. I figure it is a good way to get some exercise in. I had to secure part of the umbrella to my tripod with a bungie cord. Thankfully I carry some with me! The day was very gray and rainy with a lot of mist. I had to continually grab the umbrella when any large sets of waves would come in. The wind they produced threatened to knock my setup over. I painted for about 2 hours when I began to realize the weather had changed. The wind shifted and the temperature dropped. I rushed to get the painting as finished as I could and then packed up to hike home. The wind had picked up so much the rain stung my face and I had to keep my head down and lean into the wind as I walked.
I made it home fine but I was completely soaked through in spite of my rain gear (jacket, rainpants, rubber boots, and several high performance underlayers). I pretty much pushed my gear and myself to the limits. I am still cleaning and drying everything out! Today was a day of extreme plein air painting. So, here is today's painting:
© 2012 R.L. Delight, The Day After, plein air wave study, 6"x8" oil on hemp canvas.
You can still see some water drops. The umbrella kept most of the water off but not all. The foreground is not finished. I will probably finish it in the studio later on today.
Here is yesterday's. As you can see, quite a different day even though it was overcast too.
© 2012, R.L. Delight, Home for the Holiday, plein air wave study, 6"x8", oil on hemp canvas.
The color on the first picture is close but slightly off due to the fact that the day is so dark that I had to turn on a light in order to get a photo. I would reshoot it if it was a formal painting.
On a final note, I am going to have to replace my old rain gear with honest to goodness foul-weather gear. Today was warm (about 58 degrees) but being as wet as I was could be dangerous when it is colder. My boots have cracks in them and my feet get quite wet. I never can seem to find waterproof boots that will last a whole year before starting to crack. I have even tried more expensive ones. If anyone has any suggestions please leave a comment!
Take care everyone. There is some serious energy moving around with planets aligning and a lunar eclipse, not to mention solar storms!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Direction and the Call of Nature

Guerrilla Painter 6"x8" Thumbox
Before I launch into this post I have to give a warning. There will be a rather down-to-earth talk on answering the call of nature for women at the end of this post. I will give warning at the start of the section so if any of my dear readers wish, they may depart before any delicate sensibilities are offended. 
Yesterday my new Guerrilla Painter pochade box for plein air painting arrived. I am so excited! The set up I have been using is extremely heavy. My pack ends up weighing about 25 pounds by the time I get it loaded up. Even if I drive down to Neahkahnie Beach (about a mile) I still have a hike up the beach, not to mention wading through drainage streams and occasionally incoming waves. I decided to order something lighter and easier to pack.
I have made the decision to get out to the beach to paint as often as I can with the goal being everyday. Yes, you read that right, everyday! Now, knowing how life happens I might have to miss a day or two but I am still going to see how long I can go. I have 77 - 6"x8" loose hemp canvases in the process of being gessoed. I am about half way through. I have to order more gesso to continue. I have enough to start painting though. I tape them to a 6"x8" support to paint on. I decided to do it this way for the first 75 paintings to keep them as studies. I will be using the resulting marine studies to paint larger paintings in the studio that will be for sale. I am so excited! I broke in the box today.
We just recently had that huge storm and the beach is littered with a lot of branches and logs. The waves were also filled with huge trees and logs, which is very dangerous. I kept a sharp eye out for rogue or sneaker waves. They come in deceptively fast carrying those trees with them. Never turn your back on the ocean! I saw one tree that was over 60 feet in length.
I hiked from my house to the north end of Neahkahnie beach and set my new rig up. I have a nice tripod that the box attaches to. I must say it went up fast and easy. The tripod is sturdy and didn't blow over even when I was hit with a sudden squall. The sky was partially cloudy with huge thunder clouds. All of a sudden the squall appeared on the horizon. I started painting as fast as I could before it hit. I was painting so fast that I produced the worst painting I have ever made! It hit with wind, rain, and hail. By the time I packed up it was gone. I could have just waited it out but I needed to get back home. The painting was bad and I didn't have as much time as I would have liked but, I did it. I took that first step! I will be going out tomorrow morning too before coming back to prepare my Thanksgiving feast. Just a quick note here, I am vegan. There will be no turkey but there will be tofu "crab" cakes, smoked tomato and wild rice soup, roasted cauliflower, assorted seasonal side dishes, and a raw pecan pie, washed down with a hard cherry cider and followed by coffee.
Getting back to today's plein air jaunt, I do plan to post the paintings as often as they are made. I am not posting today's painting because it was so bad. My goal to to produce 100 small plein air marine paintings. I am clearing one of my bulletin boards to pin them all up on. Perhaps I will share the very first one when I reach 100.
On the way back home I spotted this wooden float and brought it back with me. Here it is with my beautiful dog Twill. She had a good time sniffing it.
I am looking forward to this exciting challenge that I have begun. I will be switching my oil paints that I use to Cobra water-mixable paints for ease of use out in the field. I will continue to use my oil paints in the studio.
I am going to end this part of the post here and wish everyone in the U.S. and the rest of the world too a Happy Thanksgiving. I give thanks for good health, loved ones, including the furry one above, and wonderful online friends and artists.

**********Warning: Frank Discussion on Bodily Functions Ahead. Close window now to skip!***

Ok, first I would like to say I have a passion for nature and the out-of-doors. I love to hike in the wilderness and the semi-wilderness. As a woman, I occasionally have to answer the call of nature and relieve myself. Men have an advantage in this department. For many years I have just hung my bum out there, behind a screen of trees or bushes and did my best not to get pee all over my boots. I have stories of angry golden bumblebees and stinging nettles. Thankfully not poison oak! Several years ago I found a nifty device called the Freshette. It allows a female human to stand and pee like a man. It worked pretty well until I had what I called a Freshette fail the last time I hiked up to the top of Neahkahnie mountain and back. Fortunately it was at the end of the hike and we were not too far from home but, yuk! I decided it was time for a new device that hopefully won't have the same issue. This one in fact called the pStyle:
Note the "easy to use while clothed". I also like the colors. The freshette only comes in a gruesome pink so-called flesh tone. When you are a mile or two hike from the nearest restroom and in the middle of painting, it is best to be able to find a discreet way to take care of the call of nature. I say discreet because there are houses that overlook the ocean where I paint. I really don't want someone with a telescope or binoculars to get a view they may not have (hopefully!) intended. Now, I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but I will give a brief thumbs-up, or down in a future post when it has been tested. Readers who skipped this part won't know what I am talking about but you all will! If you have gotten this far, thanks for hanging in there. I am posting this info for those women like me who love the out-of-doors but would really like another way to take care of certain realities.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dog on the Loom... I mean Easel!

11/18/12 Neahkanie Beach approaching storm.
I tried today to get a decent picture of the painting I currently have on my easel but we have a huge storm that descended upon us this afternoon and the day has been dark gray. I couldn't get a good shot in either natural or un-natural light so I am posting a picture I took this morning of my favorite place to paint, before the storm hit.
Many of the lovely folks who read this blog know I was a weaver for about twelve years before I turned to painting on canvas rather than making canvas. The weavers will recognize the term "dog on the loom" and will probably instantly know what I am going to say next! For those who don't weave, a short explanation is as follows:
 Weaving is a very time consuming and enjoyable process, however, it sometimes happens that a weaver will warp (thread) a loom and the fabric will not turn out well. Usually it happens when said weaver has gleefully put 10 yards on her loom while envisioning the most incredible cloth that will result. I would get... um, that is, the weaver would get about a yard or two into the process and realize that the resulting cloth is either hideously ugly, full of errors, or slowly losing its shape for some mysterious reason. Sometimes all of the above. The weaver stops and there the loom sits, with this dog on it that the weaver does not want to continue weaving yet, until it comes off the loom, prevents the weaver from moving on. I think the rest of you can see where this is heading! The weaver has two choices, either continue to painfully weave the final 120,000 yards off, or cut it off and burn the remainders by the dark of the moon. However, there is actually a third choice! Decide the warp is a lost cause and start experimenting with different weaving techniques. After all, there is nothing to lose.
If you are still with me, I currently have the painting equivalent of a dog on my loom sitting on my easel at the moment. My still life is not going well. In fact, I think it is rather ugly and uninspiring! I have a few choices here that are thankfully easier to implement on a painting than on a weaving gone bad. I can put it away for a while and then come back to it with fresh eyes to see if it is worth saving. I can also paint over it and use the linen panel again for another painting, OR, I can consider the current painting a lost cause and with nothing to lose, experiment, learn, and grow.
When I was considering my options and remembering my weaving days I realized how much I really love the freedom to experiment and how much I learned from it. In weaving sometimes the result was totally unusable as a cloth but I would save the results as reference samples. So I have decided to have a bit of fun and experiment with the painting. I can either save it as a sample or eventually paint over it and reuse the canvas. A win-win!
The storm is howling around the house tonight and is supposed to get even worse tomorrow. Hurricane force winds, pounding rain, and 32 foot waves. We are prepared and snug here. Tomorrow I have 77 small 6"x8" canvases to gesso and will have some fun news to share on Wednesday.
Stay safe and warm!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Day of Mizzle and Rainbows

© 2012 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #2, oil on linen canvas board, 6"x8
I was planning to post this yesterday but when I got it home I decided that I wanted to tweak it just a little. Not too much though! This is a plein air wave study I did yesterday. The day was kind of a strange weather day. It was mizzling (mist/drizzle) on and off and the sun kept popping in to try to burn off the mist only to disappear again. They sky had a kind of pearly look to it and the clouds were outlined in dark violet with rosy interiors. As I was painting on the beach a strange low double rainbow appeared about 25 yards away. I couldn't decide it it was sprinkling or just a heavy mist. Of course, I left my camera at home.
In spite of the dampness, it was fairly warm. I shed my rain gear and hat fairly quickly. I had to choose angling my painting umbrella to block the overly bright diffuse sunshine or to keep the wet off. I chose to keep the sunshine off my painting so my palette and painting had water beading up on it.
I am starting to get the hang of composing these paintings. I pretty much decide where I want the horizon line, how much water, and how much shore. The choice depends on what is gong on at that moment. I watch the waves for a time and when I see how they are interacting (it changes hourly) then I pick a wave to start with and build the rest of the painting from there. Doesn't mean that I make a great painting everytime but I am learning how to shape the composition while painting a moving entity from life. Each painting I do points me to where I need to work next. I still have a ways to go but I am seeing improvement.
This painting was done on a Raymar Art canvas board. The board is covered with Classen''s #13 Linen. It was part of a sample pack I got to try the different surfaces. I liked this one the least. In fact I really didn't like it at all. I thought the linen too coarsely woven for the kind of surface I wanted. The other samples worked OK. I really like the smooth surface of one. I will probably go with that one eventually. In the meantime I have ordered some hemp yardage which arrived today. I am going to gesso it and use it loose for my plein air studies. When I am satisfied with the quality of my plein air paintings, I will go back to painting on the panels. I want to build up a reference sketch library to paint larger paintings from before I start selling my plein air paintings.
It has been a long day and I am having trouble keeping my eyes open. I hope to finish my little marine inspired still life tomorrow but if the day is decent, I will probably go out painting. The weather forecast says we will be having wet and stormy weather for a while starting soon so I need to paint outside while I can!
Stay warm and dry! -Renee

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Art Studies-Luminism

I have paintings in progress to finish up and post about this week but didn't feel that they were at a good point to share so I thought I would give a very brief description of my current art study fascination, Luminism. First, I want to share how I got onto that particular topic. I had neglected to mention a month or two ago the end of what would have been my third year of art school and the beginning of my fourth and final year. I guess I have moved from the art student mindset to the artist-scholar mindset. A subtle shift but an important one. I am sure my technical skills would be a bit more refined had things worked out differently but I don't think I would be where I am now in terms of direction and voice. I have the many professional artists I connect to and follow through blogs and social media to thank for that. I found a way to continue my education through their expertise, tips, and fine examples. I am very grateful for that!
I have been following in their footsteps of hard work and many failures and am starting to find my direction and voice. I still have so far to go as I am only just beginning. Never fear, I will be sharing more of that here over the next several weeks!
With all that in mind, my studies have taken on a greater focus which brings me back to Luminism. I have been studying both Luminism and Tonalism (mentioned in a previous post). Thankfully the local library has a couple of decent books on the subjects and I have been pouring over them. I can see that I am going to have to hunt some of these paintings down and visit the museums where they hang so I can see them in person. The reading is a bit dry but I have picked up a couple of tips or two. Here are pictures of paintings from two of my favorite Luminist artists.
Brace's Rock, Eastern Point, Gloucester, c. 1864, Fitz Hugh Lane
The painting above is by Fitz Hugh Lane. You can see even in this little picture the quality of light, smoothness of the brush strokes, and over all serene feeling of the painting. I have a feeling that I will need a lot of time to take in all the exquisite detail when I go to see them in person. It will be a while before that happens though as I don't wander far from the west coast of the U.S. much these days and most of the paintings seem to be located on the other side of the country.
The second painting is by Frederic Edwin Church.
Beacon Off Mount Desert Island, Frederic Edwin Church, 1851, oil on canvas, 116.84 × 78.74 cm (46 × 31 in) 
I am studying these artists and more not to copy their techniques but because I would like to achieve some of the qualities of light, color, and atmosphere that they accomplished in their paintings. We shall see what happens with my work over the next few months. I have so much to learn!
If these paintings have stirred your curiosity, the internet is a good place to start. I find that some of the more recent books have the best quality reproductions over all. All of the links above are from Wikipedia. There are inconsistencies in the information but you can get the overall feel.
That is all for this post. Somewhat of a teaser perhaps but the purpose of my blog is to share my journey. There are a lot of wonderful blogs out there that have information galore on art and the process of making art. Some of them are on the links bar at the right side of my blog.
Looking forward to a new week. I have been so excited I haven't been getting much sleep! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wave Study

©2012, R.L. Delight. Wave Study, Neahkahnie Beach, 6"x8", oil on canvas board.
I had a lovely time painting this wave study on Monday. The day was beautiful and warmer than I thought it would be. Surprisingly for such a calm day the waves were large and glorious. I decided to paint them and to try to capture the wave action that happens in this particular spot. Neahkahnie Mountain juts out into the sea which not only influences our weather here in our little town but causes some of the waves to bounce off and travel sideways or perpendicular to the shore. These waves meet the incoming waves and cause quite a spectacular crash and geysering of the water. Now a wave study is just that. I tried to capture the action, shape, tone and color of the waves. The composition of the painting was a distant consideration. The moon hanging above the sea that morning was a wonderful bonus!
In the studio, I have set up a still life that is somewhat related to the sea. I have always loved rocks and driftwood as well as found objects washed ashore. I have decided to paint these things for a while and see where they take me. I am not neglecting my drawing either! I will be spending a portion of the day working on either drawing the few plaster casts I have or a self portrait study. I also intend to lure my rather handsome husband back up into the studio to sit for me.
I am very excited this morning. I was dancing through my Facebook newsfeed, posting a "like" here and a comment there when I came across a post by one of my favorite artists, Sadie Valeri. She has started a new Facebook group for those who paint and draw only from life rather than photos. She made a mention of the artist Edward Minoff and his techniques for painting seascapes from life. I went straight to Google, found the web site and gasped. I will let you check it out for yourself by clicking on the above link but I am truly inspired by his process, not to mention his breathtaking seascapes. Sometimes a simple thing as a mention on a Facebook post can completely rock your world. I am given the courage and inspiration to continue on the path that is starting to open before me.
Off to the studio now! -Renee

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting Out To Paint

© 2012 R.L. Delight. Plein Air studies.
Before I get started, I have a favor to ask. I am auctioning off two small paintings on the Daily Paintworks site to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. I will be donating 100% of the proceeds less shipping and payment fees to the Guardians of Rescue. They have been scrounging gas and other resources to get food and supplies to pets and people in the areas where stores were flooded. They have rescued pets and animals in dire straights as well. If you click on the Daily Paintworks Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser widget on the right, it will take you to the special auction. I know funds are tight for many, including myself, but even if you are not able to make a purchase, please tell a friend who might be able to. I would dearly love to be able to donate the proceeds from my work to these dedicated folks. Thanks! -Renee
I am so fortunate at this time in my life to be living in a place of great beauty. It is a challenging place to live but worth it. I realized that I have to take advantage of my good fortune and paint where I live. The ocean has a huge presence here. Even as I am writing this post, I hear the waves roaring on the beach, which is a short 5 minute walk to the water's edge from my house. Last night I was walking the dog before bed and an ocean mist was floating through the dark streets carrying the smell of the sea with it. The sound of the waves were particularly soothing.
With this realization, I made a decision to start painting plein air on a regular basis. I am just starting out and learning as I go. At the moment I am painting on loose canvas that I have taped to a small drawing board. The top painting is a wave study. It would not make a good finished painting since I basically would focus on a certain aspect such as wave shape, tone, light, or color, paint it, and then move on to another aspect and then paint that. The painting is kind of a mish-mash of different waves and different focuses but all done from life.
The bottom painting is one I did last Friday on a gray and wet day. It wasn't too cold, the winds were moderate, and only a few sprinkles so not too bad weather-wise. I ran out of time before I could finish the rocks at the base of the cliff. I would have liked more time in general but it is meant to be a sketch. This is at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain which is one of my favorite places to go. At the right time, some of the waves bounce off the inner curve of the mountain and travel almost perpendicular to the oncoming waves. When the two kinds of waves meet they often crash spectacularly and make all kinds of interesting shapes.
It is going to take a lot of practice to get to the level I would like to get to. I am starting now in the fall because I find the waves and sky are more interesting. I also figured that if I can do this over fall and winter in spite of the weather, I will be able to paint plein air year-round in almost any conditions (here locally that is, I melt in heat!). I will have to update my foul weather gear as soon as I am able to but, with a little invention and perhaps a bit of duct tape, I will be able to do it!
I am starting with a once a week goal and will add another day for a twice a week goal once the first goal is set into a standard practice or habit. I don't have a set day as I like to check the weekly forecast and tide table. So, next week's plein air day? Tomorrow!
The rest of my studio time is divided between painting small daily paintings, working on larger paintings, and studying my craft and honing my skills.
Oh, one last thing. One of my small paintings was accepted into the Cannon Beach Art Gallery's miniatures show! The show opened last night and is part of the Stormy Weather Festival going on now in Cannon Beach. And yes, the weather is living up to the festival name! It is always a pleasure to be included in a show with so many lovely artists.
Hope everyone has a good week!
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