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!

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