Thursday, January 31, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 30-At the Finish!

©2013 R.L. Delight, All at Once, 6"x8", oil on linen panel
There is always a lot of wave action on the north end of the beach at the foot of Neahkahnie mountain but sometimes there is more than others. The splash wave in the upper left corner only happened once. Usually with waves there is a cycle where patterns repeat for a limited time as the tides come in and out. The cross waves are a good example. There is about an hour window when they happen in cycles. Not every time a wave comes in, just within a cycle. Hope that makes sense. This little splash wave was a cross between a backwash wave and a zipper wave. Both are my terms for what I see so apologies for any  confusion. The backwash and a cross wave hit an incoming wave in the trough between the near swell and the breaker wave. Are you still with me? What all this is leading to is that I only had that one opportunity that day to observe and try to capture that little splash wave. As you can see, I went for it.
So, here we are at the end of the challenge! It seemed like this day came with agonizing slowness. So here is what I have learned, so far, as I am still processing what I have learned.
I have learned that:
  • I am not a "daily painter". For those that don't know, daily painters usually produce a small finished painting a day. I paint daily but I don't always want to produce a small painting a day. I also want to produce larger and more complex paintings.
  • I am beginning to understand the discipline and energy that I need to put into my work. That is a really good thing because it excites me and I feel like yes, I am up for it. 
  • I know now that I am capable of increasing my production without compromising my own standards. 
  • I discovered just how important it is to organize my time, priorities, and studio space.
  • I really need some downtime to be productive and creative. I don't have kids but I do have a mate and a dear dog that I like to spend time with.
  •  I don't expect my house to be white glove clean but I do need some sense of order and cleanliness. Also, I cook whole foods from scratch, which takes time but health is worth every minute. 
  • I love being productive. It gives me satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
  • I love what I do. I don't want to do anything else. There is so much room for growth!
 There is a lot more of course but it is subtle and I am still processing it. So, where to go from here. Here is what I know so far:
  • The wave studies continue! I am at 32 with a goal of 100.
  • I will start making more finished works for sale and larger works
  • Munsell color studies coming up
  • Art studies
  • Drawing, drawing, drawing. I have always drawn. I am a huge advocate of learning to draw and maintaining a drawing practice. 
  • Art marketing studies
The last point is getting critical. If I am going to continue to do what I do, I need an income. It is a fact of life. I may have to supplement with a part-time job for a time but I am hoping it doesn't come down to that as another job would take away time from my real work and career.
Fortunately for me, there are artists out there who are able to support themselves. They work their rear-ends off doing what they love. I watch and learn a lot from them so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for these mentors.
That is it for today! I am going to spend the morning cleaning and organizing my studio. This afternoon I need to head north to replenish my poor bare pantry. If I have time, I am planning to stop off at one of my favorite spots and do a bit of wave sketching. Tomorrow it will be back to the beach and studio!
Thank you all for the wonderful comments you have left and thanks to those who stopped by for a peek! I felt like I had a cheering section.
The journey continues...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 29

©2013 R.L. Delight, At the Fade of a Gray Day, 6"x8". oil on linen panel
Today is one of those very wet, gray days we get with very limited visibility. I painted this from my most recent plein air study. I have been studying a bit more and wanted to try a few of the things I learned. I am learning. I am pleased with a couple of the techniques so I will continue to use them.
I titled this one, "At the Fade of a Gray Day" for a couple of reasons. The first of course is that it was at the end of the day when I was painting this and I was having a difficult time seeing due to the fading light. The tide had gone out and the water was starting to flatten. The waves were still medium-large for the area though.
While most of the time I was surrounded by the roaring of the waves, occasionally another sound would intrude, helicopter sounds. They seemed to echo all around me and eventually I would spot one through the gray clouds and mist. They were coast guard helicopters and I saw at least two of them out going back and forth and around. I figured they were either training or on a rescue.
Alas, it turns out they were on a rescue, one of three in fact.
If you walk out to view the ocean at night or at dawn you often see the lights of crab boats out to sea. As I have mentioned many times, this area is dangerous, as most of the ocean is. Three crab boats got into trouble that day. One life was lost. Apparently cold and exhaustion were a factor in all three incidences. I feel for the families. I know that it is hard and dangerous work they do for a living.
If you ever pass through Astoria Oregon, go to the Maritime Museum. Not only does it have the maritime history of the area but it explains the existing working industry. Astoria is at the mouth of the Columbia River. There are hundreds of shipwrecks spanning a few hundred years at the Columbia River bar. It still claims lives occasionally. There is a Coast Guard base there for a very good reason. If you are at all interested in sailing, ships, or the sea, it is well worth visiting. 
Tomorrow is the final day of the challenge! My post will have the final painting as well as what I have learned and where I will be heading next.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 28

Ta Da! Post 200! That is about all I have planned to celebrate. The wonderful thing is the posts will be moving past 200 very fast.
It is getting late and I am going to keep this a short post. Here is my painting for Day 28, Wave Study #32. As you can tell by the painting, today was a rather gray and wet day.
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #32, 6"x8", oil on canvas
It is always a challenge to photograph these at night after literally putting the paintbrush down for the last time. This was painted from a sketch done from the inside of my truck today. Not the best photo I am afraid.
I am very much looking forward to the end of this challenge. I am ready to move on to my next stage. Not to worry, the wave studies will continue as I have my goal of 100 to reach and still so much to learn. I am thinking after I reach 100 I might just do another 100.
I am looking forward to having time to hike up the beach, sit and sketch and study. There are elements I haven't got yet and are still a struggle. I plan to give a grand wrap up on what I learned and how I plan to move forward on day 30. Not long to wait!

Monday, January 28, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 27

©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #31, 6"x8", oil on canvas
Wave Study #31 Sketch

Here is the third in the series of wave studies and the sketch from the series sketches I made on Saturday. What I really liked about making the series of sketches was capturing the changes in weather and light as it unfolded. If I was to title this particular wave study, I would call it "Against the Rules" Due to the huge thunderclouds the light was coming through in some spots but not others. As a result the distant ocean was bathed in brighter light than the foreground and it showed a brighter and higher chroma color. By the time I finished the sketch, the sky was an intense blue violet and the background ocean was a deep dark blue gray. The rain curtain covered the entire horizon and the mist from the waves showed yellow against it. Conditions can change so fast. I was tempted to paint that but I would not have been able to capture the nuances that would have made it truly dramatic unless I was actually there with brush in hand instead of the pencil.
It has been a lovely restful weekend. I will be continuing to work on my website and will get my studio cleaned and organized and ready to go back to work tomorrow. Three more paintings to go to finish the challenge and then on to the next chapter.  Not to worry, I have plans! The seascapes and wave studies will continue as I have a grand purpose for them in mind. I decided since I am up to thirty one wave studies at this point that I will wait until I hit fifty to take another group photo. I will be posting a bit more about my intent in the near future.
I spent a very pleasant evening studying some of the detail in a few of the seascapes painted by Frederick Judd Waugh. I have a few ideas to try. Can't wait!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 25 and 26

I decided I really need a weekend off. Instead of waiting and getting behind this close to the finish, I worked ahead. Yesterday I painted three studies! It was so late by the time I finished that I didn't post yesterday's painting even though it was done. I will post them both here and then tomorrow's will be in its own post.
The weather, sea, and sky was spectacular yesterday. Unfortunately I am still having issues with my gear but I decided it was a good opportunity to practice another approach. I drove the truck and parked a half a mile from my house and sat there and sketched wave studies. Oh how I wished I could be right out painting on the beach. The colors! The light! The waves! Not to mention the rainbows. All I could do was get the shapes and take lots of notes. I went home and started painting from my sketches and from memory. I did all three paintings yesterday as I didn't want my memory to fade any more than it naturally does.
So, here is the official painting for yesterday, Day 25 and is also Wave Study #29 and its accompanying sketch:
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #29, 6"x8", oil on canvas
Sketch for Wave Study #29
Making a study sketch from life and then painting a study from the sketch and memory is a process that I am actually enjoying. I like the challenge and the freedom that comes with it. I think it is a good exercise. I plan to do this once in a while to improve my skills.
Here is today's painting, Day 26, and Wave Study #30 along with the sketch:
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #30, 6"x8", oil on canvas
Study Sketch for Wave Study #30
A note on my process, I don't trace or copy the sketches directly onto the canvas or panel. I set them next to me and work from there. That allows me to change things if I so choose. I like the freedom.
I would like to take time to develop the sketches in the field a bit more in the future. So many wonderful possibilities. I am having a lot of fun!
Day 27 will be posted tomorrow. I plan to spend this weekend getting caught up and organized as well as working on my website and hopefully blog. I need a little time to reflect on what I have learned from this challenge.  A little reading and playing my cello will be sprinkled throughout as well.
One final note, this is my 198th post on this blog. I am coming up on 200. I would love to think of something to celebrate with but I just might be too busy finishing the challenge. We will see.

Friday, January 25, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 24

©2013 R.L. Delight, Day 24, 6"x8", oil on linen panel
Here is the painting for today, Day 24 of the 30 in 30 challenge. At the moment the painting doesn't have a name. For some reason it eludes me today. I repainted this from Wave study #24 which was my first attempt at a timed one-hour quick study. I changed a few things. I am still not happy with the swell in the foreground. I remember that this day had large clouds that would block the sun in certain spots. The waves were illuminated while the swell in the foreground is in cloud shadow. Another aspect to study further!
I had hoped to get out today to paint but I had to spend time trying to find a fix for my plein air umbrella at the hardware store. No go so far. I could paint and hold an umbrella but that would make me rather unhappy. I might have to go further afield.
As the challenge is winding down, I have been thinking of where I want to take this next. I have had a few thoughts but will be sharing them on the last day of the challenge. I am excited by the possibilities. I will be taking a better picture of this painting and putting it up for sale. This weekend I am hoping to get more work done on my website and blog to make it easier to buy a painting for anyone who is interested.
I am rather tired today and my thinking is fuzzy so I am going to cut this post short. Until tomorrow then!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Days 22 and 23

Second post for today and I am all caught up on the challenge. This afternoon I went to the beach and painted two one-hour wave studies. The last one could use a bit more finishing as the light was starting to go and I was having a hard time seeing. I was rained on the whole time but no wind.  I was wearing many layers so I was warm. Here are the paintings for day 22 and day 23 also known as wave study 27 and 28!
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #27, 6"x8", oil on canvas
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #28 6"x8", oil on canvas
I had to take these after dark and there are still raindrops on them so the quality of the photos is not the best. These are one hour studies so not a lot of detail. The tide was going out and the weather was changing every minute from raining to raining harder.
On Wave study 27 I only saw that fan shaped wave happen once. There was a lot of cross waves at the time and the energy from one hit energy from an incoming wave right behind that swell. The effect was interesting and I tried to capture it. The shallow water was quite churned due to a lot of rocks just under the surface. I didn't quite get the correct effect of the cross-wave. The cross-waves had disappeared by the time I got to that part of the painting so I wasn't able to study the nuances enough. I continue to work on those cross-waves!
Wave study #28 tells a different story. The tide had receded quite a bit and the shallow water was flat and more glassy. More of the sky was reflected and the light was fading which made the colors a bit different from the previous one.
I had a lot of fun painting these even though it was wet. I came home and immediately started cooking a gourmet meal as I felt like celebrating. I have to get my gear dried out and ready for tomorrow.
Unfortunately for me my BestBrella plein air umbrella broke. The first brass screw in one of the extension poles came out a while ago when I was hit with a sudden gust of wind. The umbrella was wrenched right out of the pole and the screw with it. Today the screw on the other pole snapped clean off for no apparent reason. It seems to be a good umbrella but it might not be made for the kind of conditions I paint under. I will see to fixing it myself with something a bit more solid.
Finally, since I painted two paintings on the beach this afternoon I was paid in sand dollars by the ocean one per painting. Here is a picture of the ones I found right in my path. Again, not the best picture due to the hour and circumstances.
2 Sand dollars, paid in full.
I am now officially caught up, again, in the 30 in 30 challenge. I plan to paint two paintings tomorrow and two on Saturday so that I can take the weekend (Sun/Mon) off and not fall behind this close to the end.
Until tomorrow then!

Wave Study #26 - Painting from Memory and Day 21: 30 in 30 Challenge

©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #26, 6"x8", oil on linen panel
Well, this isn't my best one but I painted this from the sketch I made yesterday and from memory. It was a very gray day with very little contrast. Not much water haze. Looking at the painting I would push the contrast a bit more. Yes, the day was gray but the wave shapes were still better defined. I almost got the lower wave. At times the backwash hits the incoming small waves and they hump up into a distinctive shape. The foam tracing on the larger swells was really yellow-red. I think I should push the chroma of that a bit more too. I am happy with the breaker wave color. Not a lot of contrast and the light and shadows were very close in value and hue. There was a hint of lavender in on the ocean in the distance. I got that in but I believe the background ocean mixture had too much red in it. I wanted a very gray color with a tiny hint of green. Not quite there.
This was my first try at painting like this. I think I have plenty of room to grow!
Here is the sketch I made yesterday:
This sketch and my memory is all I had to work with. I expect it will improve with practice. I am really happy that I have this to fall back on when the weather conditions just won't allow me to actually be out there and paint either on the beach or the car.
The morning was beautiful but now the next system is moving in. I think I will still be able to hit the beach this afternoon though. I wanted to try my hand at this before my memory got obscured by this afternoon's work. I am posting this for Day 22 of the 30 in 30 challenge on Leslie Saeta's blog. I just missed the window to post it for Day 21.
With any luck, I will have another post tonight. I am off!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weathering Changes

Plein air painting at Hug Point on a sunny January afternoon
We had a storm system move in last night and the front took all day to pass over us. Weather here usually comes from the west or southwest, from the ocean. I spent the day fidgeting while getting other things done and looking for a break in the weather. My gear can withstand quite a few conditions even though I have to admit I push the boundaries of it at times. I can paint in wind or rain but not both wind and rain.
"No problem, I will paint in the truck",  I thought.
I got my gear into the truck and happily set out the half mile I needed to travel to get to a good viewing spot. I admired the surf even though the light was rather flat and gray. I parked and rolled down the window to get an unhampered view and... was promptly drenched by a wind blown downpour (Note: it strikes me as rather amusing that we still say "rolled" down a car window. I wonder if the generation who grew up only with electric windows gets the connection?).
I sat for a while with the window rolled back up, studying the waves and water and describing color and value out loud to myself. The view soon became distorted from the rain hitting the window and I realized that the conditions for painting were not good BUT, I could sketch! I got out my sketchbook and made sketches of waves with notes on color and movement. I felt confident I could paint this from memory and sketches. Unfortunately for me, by the time I got home it was too late for me to start a painting for today's challenge. Instead I got ahead in the chores so I can hit the studio or beach first thing tomorrow.
I suddenly feel like a view opened up for me. I now have a way I can still work from life, which has become increasingly important for me, even when the conditions are such that painting directly won't work!
I have been floating on a happy cloud all day. Tomorrow, I am going to begin the schedule that I planned to be following after the challenge has ended.
I am two paintings behind but I will be able to paint two paintings a day until the end of the challenge and have two bonus paintings when finished if all goes according to plan. That time includes a weekend off, which for my husband and myself, means Sunday and Monday. I will be able to spend weekends taking care of myself, family, and catching up on the Webinarts course I am taking. I need to get those changes to my website and blog done.
The storm front passed just as the sun was going down. Tomorrow looks a bit more settled but the weather here is very unpredictable. I am taking a deep breath, and we shall see if tomorrow goes as I believe it will. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You Spent the Day Doing What?

I didn't paint today. All those chores and errands I have been putting off all month hoping they would just wait until the end of the challenge period decided that today was the day to be done. Well, at least some of them did.
I discovered a glitch in the library e-mail notification system. The system neglected to tell me my books were due, and then overdue. I realize now how much I depend on the system. I also know that ultimately, it is my responsibility and I do take my library privileges and responsibilities seriously. So, today after sending a painting off to the United Kingdom (hooray!), I went to the library to deposit said books and pay up. I spent way too much time trying to round up the mailing supplies to ship that painting. Apparently, we ran out of supplies all at once and the one tiny store here that possibly had the supplies had a sign hanging on the door, "Back at 4!"
Little by little the day and delayed chores and errands unwound.
In spite of constantly eying the weather and desperately wanting to get out to paint, I felt pretty good. I know that I can get another extra painting in. Not only that, I suddenly realized that I have accomplished what I wanted to achieve with this challenge! I could stop right now and be satisfied. I did actually consider it but decided I will continue best I can until the end. It isn't long now.
The fact is I am champing at the bit to move on. I know now that daily painting won't really work with my life and with what I want to do. I know that I can push myself to be more prolific than I was before I started. I will be working everyday but not always completing a painting every day. This will allow me to have the balance I need and be able to achieve my vision.
So, what is it I want to do?
I want to paint larger paintings for one. I want to continue to get out and paint waves and the surrounding landscape, I want my paintings to not only directly help the causes I am passionate about, but also to inspire others to care and educate them, and me,  about our oceans.
I want to have time to study the waves, the sea life, color, painting and drawing, and the ocean in general, in depth. I want to reach out to those who have been at this much longer than I have and ask a lot of questions, about everything. I want to share it all too!
Thanks to this challenge, and the online classes, books, DVDs, Blog and Facebook friends I have a good idea of where to go and what I need to do. Which is why I felt good today, even though I wasn't able to get out and paint. I know what I need to do to organize my life so I choose when or when not to paint (well, most of the time, the Fates can intervene when least expected).
So today I only have a picture of my handsome crow friend to share. The crows and gulls keep me company on the beach when no one else is around. I am rather fond of them. They get quite bold at times.
The weather is changing but I should be just fine. I found my rain pants the other day!
I have added a few extra braces and supporting infrastructure so hopefully the chores and errands will stay put for now. Wait, do you hear that creaking noise?

Monday, January 21, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Days 19 and 20

I learned a lesson yesterday. I learned that it pays off to take a rest when your mind and body is telling you rather than try to push through. I used my down time well. I caught up on reading art related stuff as well as my favorite genre of reading, science fiction.
The only magazine I subscribe to at this time is the online magazine called Artists on Art. I have mentioned it on my blog before and I believe I have a link on the sidebar. Yesterday I read an article written by a young artist (well, young to me) named, Hsin-Yao Tseng. He wrote a nice article called Pochade/Building Skills Through Quick Painting. In a nutshell he was encouraging artists to get out of the studio and do quick paint sketches 30-60 minutes long to help build your sight, color, and memory skills. Doubly important for those that use photo references to paint from, which at this time I do not.
Quick sketching, or gesture sketching when drawing the figure, is something I have done myself frequently but I haven't done a 60 minute oil sketch en plein air. I decided to do that today for yesterdays challenge day as well as a regular plein air painting for today's entry.
I set my cell phone timer for 60 minutes and began. Here is the oil sketch:
© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #24, 6"x8", oil on canvas
I was rather pleased with it and the exercise. Here is the full study I did (almost 3 hours):
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #25, 6"x8", oil on canvas
This was painted directly after the first one and the tide was going way out. The day was sunny and warm with a bit of water haze.
My time is really short this evening as I have a band rehearsal. These are also Wave Studies number 24 and 25! I am one quarter of the way through my goal of 100 wave studies. I am rather excited about that. Next 25 I will be half way!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


View of long lines of waves from above

I am taking a much needed day of rest. A cold fog has rolled in and it has seemed to color the whole day. I first decided that I would try to have an easy painting day in the studio and paint a simple marine-themed still life. I tried to paint for an hour. It was like playing a badly out of tune instrument. I tried a short nap and then administering chocolate. No go.
I know I am very tired so I decided to put the brush down and try again tomorrow.
Thankfully it is a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, not a daily painting challenge! I will do an extra painting between now and the end of the challenge.
I have been meaning to post the picture of the 20 wave studies all together. The posts have been so long and involved that I put it off so this is a good time to post it.
Twenty wave studies!
Kind of an awkwardly shaped picture but here they are. Of course I am up to 23 now. I am thinking that I will post another group shot on the 25th one and then a group shot when the next 25 are done. It will be the half-way point then!
The new canvas is working out beautifully. It isn't so rough and allows me to get smoother color transitions and finer detail. I am still loving painting the seascapes. It satisfies me to the core.
Well, I am getting rest and will be back up and painting tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 18

Wow! What a day. In case it wasn't noticed, I amended the previous post with an update. I corrected the painting that went wrong as much as possible and then posted it. This afternoon, I went to my favorite spot, Hug Point to paint. I timed it so I would arrive before low tide to get in as much painting as possible. Low tide was at 2:10 pm.
Hug Point has a rich history and the story of it, even a nutshell version, would take up this entire post and then some. I will just say there is a old road bed carved from the original Native American path that, for a long time, was the only way to get horse and buggy, and later cars, south. It is a dangerous place depending on the tides, even to this day.
I wanted to paint this roadway with the waves in the background. Unfortunately for me the low tide was at 1.5 ft. Not quite low enough to have more than a half an hour to paint. It can look so deceiving. The waves look far away but, if you are paying attention you will notice that about every 7-10 waves or so several pile up and spill forth, all the way to the back caves which was probably 100 yards or more away. I waited until one of these surges went through and ran a fair distance to grab the following photos. I was able to dash back to safety. I will show the photos and continue the story.
The first picture is what you see when you go around the first point. This point is the easiest to get around. There is another small point and then you get to the roadbed. The second picture is looking at it about half way there, the third picture I am standing next to the cliff. There is a couple of caves behind me about the same distance. The water was rushing into those caves. As you can see, the waves look like they are quite a ways out there. They lie. Where I am standing was underwater every time a surge came through.There is no where to run when the tide is that high. Since it was the low tide one can see why it is so dangerous when the tide comes in.
The third picture is part of what I wanted to paint. You can see the beginning of the road, which looks like a ramp. The road is covered with living sea anemones, seaweed, barnacles, and other tidal creatures. I have never crossed all the way because I get too squeamish stepping on all those squishy creatures, not to mention harming them. The road goes around the point and at one time you literally had to "hug" the point to cross, hence the name.
As I was standing there catching my breath a woman with a group of about 8 or 10 teenaged girls started to go by me. I stopped them and explained that they might want to wait another half an hour. They didn't read the tide chart right. That can be easy to do which is why I check it 3 or 4 times before and during my arrival. As soon as I explained it to them I noticed the waves getting ready to surge again and told them all to watch out. I started to run back and was soon surrounded by several shrieking teenagers which slowed me down to the point that I, and they, got wet to the knees (Hey! I had a heavy painting pack on which meant they were faster than I was).
I told several people today about the waves and most ignored me and came back soaking wet. One grandmother with her grandchildren got soaked as she went back to grab the small boy who was wet from head to toe when the waves subsided. Most troubling was the young couple with the dog on the leash and a 6 month old baby in the mother's arms that I was too far away to warn as I was packing up for the day. The tide was already coming in fast. Hopefully they made it back and I am sure they all got wet. (note: I waited a while and then told others to watch for them as I left. I know people think I am being a busy body but I hate seeing people so oblivious to their environment)
Here is where I ended up painting:
This is where you first go down to the beach. This is what it looked like when I left:
I was pretty far back but not far enough. Just as I was putting the final touches a huge surge came in and I had to lift my tripod and paintbox and run. Thankfully I always put the rest of my gear well up the beach so I don't have to worry about that too.
Finally, here is the painting. Wave Study #23 and Day 18:
©2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #23, 6"x8", oil on canvas
I have discovered I like painting rocks too although I need more practice. I have always loved rocks.
Today was a fun and very satisfying day. I love what I do, even when it is hard, and I don't want to be in any other profession.
I made a video today too. I have three videos now to edit and put up on the blog. As I said before, it might be after this challenge is done but they should be fun.
The weather looks like it is changing a bit. We shall see what tomorrow holds.

Friday, January 18, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 17

Note: This post has been edited to reflect changes made overnight. See addendum at end!

This is a photo. Only a photo. Any resemblance to one of my paintings is not intentional. Well perhaps one day...
I went to Short Sands Beach today to paint.  I had originally intended to go to Hug Point but realized the tides would be better for Hug Point tomorrow. Short Sands Beach, or Shorty, is less than a ten minute drive up the road from my door. There is about a quarter of a mile hike from the highway to the beach. The hike takes you through huge trees and streams. The beach opens out to great beauty. Yes, I took pictures and made video. Unfortunately there was just enough water haze and sunshine in the air that the pictures did not come out, at all. For that matter, neither did my painting.

It has been one of those days.

I did paint. I put quite a lot of effort into it. It just didn't work. I will spare you the melodramatic gloomy thoughts and just say they dissipated after a good meal and a bit of sobbing on my wonderful mate's shoulder. I suddenly understand why some artists turn to alcohol or drugs. So onward!
Short Sands Beach is part of the Oswald West State Park. All of the park is breathtakingly beautiful. Shorty is where the surfers go. They are a hearty bunch as surfing here requires a wetsuit year round. It is not optional. Surfing without a wetsuit means that you will die in about 15 minutes time. That pretty much heads off any arguments on gear.
There was a good group of surfers there today and the beach was festive with surfers and their dogs getting warm and playing ball. The tide had just hit the low point as I got there so most of them were resting up until the surf was "pumping" again. I rather like the laid back festive atmosphere they provide and the fierce dedication to their chosen sport.
I am hoping the video will turn out. I am interested to ask what others would have chosen, amongst the wealth of material, to paint.
Tomorrow Hug Point! Lets hope I was just experiencing growing pains and tomorrow's painting is half way decent. I am counting today's efforts in the 30 in 30 challenge, I just have chosen not to show the mess. Kind of like stuffing things in the closet when unexpected guests arrive.


Ok, a few lessons learned from this one. First, never wipe a painting in the field. It is good to put the painting away and look at it again in the morning. I actually did take another look. There was enough of the painting left that I thought I could rescue it. It isn't perfect but all considered I am pleased with the results, under the circumstances.
Second, by repainting it the next morning, I understood where I went wrong. I was able to correct some of it. I had my values wrong and also chroma or intensity. It was a challenging area to paint as well, as the light and atmosphere changed within minutes. Standard risk with plein air painting I am sure. I am learning to deal with it. I think it is going to take a while but that is OK.
And finally, before I show the finished painting, One of my favorite artists who is generous and seems very sweet and humble considering his awesome skills, David Jon Kassan, put this quote up on his Facebook page:

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

I realized I hadn't gone all the way. 

Here is Wave Study #22
© R.L. Delight, Wave Study #22, 6"x8", oil on canvas

Thursday, January 17, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 16

© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #21, 6"x8", oil on canvas
The weather continues to be beautiful with no wind to speak of and sunshine. The waves also continue to be small so I headed about 15 minutes up the coast to Arch Cape in search of more interesting waves. I have to admit, this painting was quite a stretch and I was tempted to pack it in before finishing it. I dug deep and hung in there. This one was challenging to me since I had the large rocks, shadowed water, and roiling waves all going at once. I made a thumbnail sketch before starting but somehow deviated greatly from it. It isn't the first time I have done that and it gets me into trouble. I think I will have to remember the lesson to avoid some of the future struggles. Since I deviated I ended up putting breakers where I didn't intend too which made it harder to put them in on top of paint. I did wipe off as much as I could but the blues got everywhere. It all worked out in the end but I think it would have been much better if I had stuck to the plan.
I got there at low tide so it was coming in as I painted. It was getting a bit uncomfortably close as I was packing up and I am sure as I am writing this that my spot is now washed away as high tide is a little after 5 pm today.
In addition to painting at Arch Cape today, I made a video of the journey! I have the raw footage and will put a short video on the blog once it is edited. Of course, with this challenge going on it might have to wait until February. I plan to make a few short videos as the weather is so wonderful. It is also a lot of fun.
I had to wait for the last two wave studies to dry a bit before tacking them to the bulletin board to take pictures. Speaking of drying, I am running out of places to put my little paintings to dry! I am going to have to do something about that but not this evening.
If all goes well with weather and tides tomorrow I plan to get to my very first favorite spot, Hug Point to paint. I will take pictures to show you all too!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 15!

© 2013 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #20, 6"x8", oil on canvas
This is going to be a longer post than usual so grab your favorite warm beverage and make yourself comfortable. I have a couple of milestones, an overdue announcement, and interesting tidbits on a historical seascape artist.
First today's plein air wave study. The cold sunshine continues, in fact will be hanging around for a few days due to a stalled system/inversion layer. No winds! That is both good and not so good.
I had a difficult time in wanting to get out and paint today. I think I am just very tired. The events of the past month have piled up and I need a bit of a rest. That said, I also really want to complete this 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I will do what I can even if it means taking a day of rest and painting two on another day. I was painting a wave study and a finished painting in one day when I first started the challenge so it is doable.
The sun is out but the waves are very small and to me, not very exciting. One of the reasons why I started my wave studies this fall is the waves are more interesting during the stormy seasons. I decided to minimize the waves, which were minimal already and paint the more interesting part of the sand. There are several storm runoff drains that empty onto the beach. Some of the streams are natural and some are human made. These can get fairly deep and treacherous this time of the year with the far-reaching tides. At the moment, they are quite small as we haven't had rain lately. They have their own beauty and I liked the reflections of this natural seepage meeting the sea. I will need to practice painting them more to get a better likeness.
So here are the milestones: Day 15, half way through the challenge! This is also my twentieth wave study which means I take another picture of them all together. Five more and I will be a quarter of the way through my goal of 100!
Ahem, a while ago, before the New Year, I promised to make an announcement at the first of the year. Of course, the end of the old year and beginning of the new ended up being rather strenuous and distressing and, then this challenge started. I put off making the announcement until I had a chance to think a bit clearer.  Of course, some of you have probably already guessed it and the rest will certainly have seen it coming.
Three years ago I entered studies at the Ashland Academy of Art with the intention of being there for four years. I would have been well into my fourth and final year if things had worked out. Life being what it is it didn't and we ended up in this beautiful rugged spot on the Northern Oregon Coast. I resolved to continue my studies on my own, and I have. I have always had a pretty good picture of where I wanted to go with my art but unbeknownst to me, there was one critical piece that needed to fall into place at the right time and space. Actually two pieces, the wild beauty of this area which re-awakened my passionate love of nature, in particular my love for the ocean, and painting en plein air. Suddenly the light came on and my life; past, present, and future, realigned. 
I am now dedicating the bulk of my art career to being a marine painter. I still will continue to build my figure and portrait painting/drawing skills but my heart, and my art, is in painting the coast of the wild Pacific Northwest (and other points around the world!).
I have a lot to learn still. At the moment, I am self taught in both oil painting and plein air painting (my year at school was spent learning the critically important skill of drawing). By self-taught I mean I have studied and learned from books, DVD's, and the wonderful information online in addition to just plain picking up the brush and painting. I plan to take a workshop or two once I can afford the cost. I would love to take a workshop from Don Demers for example. I have a short list of artists I would like to learn in person from.
Today, in one of those synchronistic moments, an artist friend that I have come to know and admire through Facebook, sent me a message with a great tip about using more colors in painting. She also mentioned one of the greatest American Seascape Painters, Frederick Waugh. I know who he is and I have seen pictures of his work, which is beyond stunning. Her mention sent me back looking at Frederick Waugh in more depth. I couldn't believe what I read! Here is a picture of one of my favorite paintings of his:
Fortissimo by Frederick J. Waugh, 22"x29.9",  oil on panel.
This particular photo and the following information was excerpted from Armand Cabrera's Art and Influence Blog.  The link will take you directly to his article. I won't quote the entire article series but here are two quotes from Waugh that resonated with me.

"I both paint from the sea and watch it carefully, and the later way of studying I am sure is invaluable."


"Waugh always painted from direct observation, but these studies were not for sale. Instead, Waugh used the studies, along with his memory of the experience to create finished paintings in the studio"

Of course all of it was of importance to me but most of the quotes pertained to painting method. The blog is definitely worth reading if you are interested. There are three posts which are nicely categorized under Fredrick Waugh's name.

These two quotes make sense to me because this is what I have instinctively done. I truly believe there is no substitute for learning and painting from life. This is what I believe for me personally. I know others use photo references as I have, twice, in my work. I have nothing against photo references and know that sometimes they are necessary. I just resonate with painting from life.
The second quote made me smile because this is exactly what I am doing. Nice to know I am following in the footsteps of such a great painter.  I could go on and on but I will spare you all. Needless to say, I want to grow up to be the next Fredrick Waugh! Of course, there are already some pretty incredible contemporary seascape artists out there but this is the exact style of realism in seascapes I am aiming for.
One final point I would like to mention. The artist who sent me the great tip and encouragement today is Renee Lammers. I have mentioned her and her wonderful paintings on copper on this blog before. Her website is well worth checking out. Not only would I like to meet her in person and paint with her in Maine some day, but I am saving up to buy one of her paintings. Not to make you blush Renee, but you are generous and hard working and I am happy I found you on Facebook!
Phew! This is a long post but a lot needed to be said. Tomorrow's post won't be so long. To my wonderful friends who read this blog and to those who also comment on my blog posts, every single one of you, thank you! I appreciate the comments and will be commenting more on your blogs when this challenge is finished!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge: Day 14

©2013 R.L. Delight, A Perfectly Beautiful January Day, 6"x8", oil on canvas
Today was one of those occasional beautiful winter days here on the coast. The sun came out, there was hardly a breeze, and it was even sorta warm in the sunshine. I got to paint blue into the ocean color for a change. Not only that, this is officially Wave Study #19! Yes, I am back to plein air wave studies. My week or so spent painting finished paintings from my wave studies has improved my understanding of the process and my plein air paintings took a turn toward a great improvement. I was so happy to be back out. I got a tad chilly but it was such a pleasure to see the different colors for a change.
The smudge on the upper left corner of the picture is a shadow from the canvas holder on my pochade box. The light was fading fast and I wanted to get a picture in natural light. I didn't quite have the time to set it up differently. 
I do see plenty of areas I would like to improve but overall, I am quite pleased with this plein air wave study at this stage of my learning. The sun was in my eyes toward the end which made it more difficult to see my canvas and judge the painting accurately. I did use my umbrella but at that angle, the sun is challenging.
I am also pleased with the new canvas I am using for the studies. I ordered 12"x16" pads of primed cotton canvas from Utrecht. I can get 4-6"x8" canvases out of one sheet and there are 10 sheets in a pad. I think the cost came to about 50 cents a painting. Most economical for practice. The wave studies are not for sale but the paintings I make from them are. They are currently on my DailyPaintworks site which can be reached by clicking on the badge on the side bar. I am currently working on redoing my website and blog to make it easier to buy a painting.
I must mention, the paintings I have for sale so far are painted on linen canvas mounted on birch panels. Much higher quality.
Well, I must get dinner on the table. It feels great to get back out to the beach.

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