Thursday, May 1, 2014

Making Paintings While the Sun Shines

We are having a heat wave here on the Northern Oregon Coast. I went out all day yesterday and today and painted. It feels so good to be out painting and to be out painting in warm sunshine is amazing! The temps have been in the low 80's, which for us is quite warm. The timing is perfect for me to try out my warm weather paint clothes and sunscreen before heading to California in 2 weeks for my workshop with Kathleen Dunphy.
So, to get right to it, yesterday I drove five minutes up the road to Devil's Caldron. The same spot I spent my birthday watching huge waves crash against the cliffs. The waves were a lot calmer yesterday. Here is the study I did in the morning:
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Devil's Cauldron morning study, 6"x8", oil on canvas
And here is the study I painted in the afternoon,
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Devil's Cauldron afternoon study, 8"x10",  oil on canvas.
When I first arrived, the wind was blowing fairly strong from the east and was quite warm. Finding a spot was challenging but I did find one somewhat sheltered from the wind and got to work. I decided to stay put and paint the second study on a larger canvas. This was the first time I tried an 8"x10" study. As you can see from the two studies, the shadows change dramatically as the sun moves through the sky. Often the sea rocks look completely different throughout the day.
I have been doing a lot of studying of art books and am trying out several of the ideas I have learned in these and today's studies. As it always is when trying something new, there is a slight step back in quality. Overall, I am quite pleased as I learned a lot while painting these even if areas of the painting are not as satisfying as I would like.
Here is a shot of my set-up spot as I was cleaning my palette after the first painting:
Painting at Devil's Cauldron
A note here, I don't wear sunglasses when I am painting but I do put them on the instant I am finished or when taking a break. I grew up in the sunshine on the west coast. My eyes will most likely will pay for that in the future. I hope to cut down on any future damage.
On to today's paintings! I went up to Ecola State Park where the tide was out but coming in. Due to the number of people on the beach and the tide, I didn't have as many possible views to paint as I would have liked. In other words, I only had 1000, instead of the usual 5000 views! I ended up finding a good rock to toss my things on and painted this rock, which I have painted before. I guess I like its shape and the wave action.
© 2014, R.L. Delight, Ecola State Park study, 6"x8", oil on canvas
 Again, I am concentrating on specific techniques here. In all of these studies I have been starting with a full color mass-in start. I get the canvas covered completely with a thin layer of color that looks sort of like the finished painting and then I go over it with thicker paint. Getting my paint a bit thicker is another one of those techniques I am working on. While I go through a period of frustration and even anxiety as I am trying the new techniques out, I am enjoying myself tremendously. I am making a lot of discoveries that I like.
That said, this afternoon did not go so well. I went back to Short Sands Beach as the tide was coming in almost to its highest point and painted a familiar area:
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Short Sands Study, 8"x10", oil on canvas
First of all, there is a lot of detail I am trying to capture here. Probably too much detail but I just love this spot for many reasons. I will keep painting and sketching it until I can get it down as I want it! In addition to trying all the new techniques, the light and shadows were changing very fast and very dramatically. I was pretty tired at this point and my mind did not want to hold the memory of what I was painting very well. My visual memory is getting better all the time but I realized I had reached a point where I was getting confused and starting to chase the light a bit. That told me it was time to stop. The ocean in the foreground was crudely blocked in while I was trying to get the waterfall and surrounding cliff.
I am not sure if I will continue to work on this study or toss it and try a new one. The bright sunlight is challenging when one is not used to it! I have managed to not get sunburned while standing out in the sun for so many hours. The sunscreen works as does the sunblock clothing.
I am quite tired from painting and will wrap this up.
The weather may be changing tomorrow but I think I will be able to get another good day of painting in. Saturday I am playing in a concert with my band, The Sedona Fire Band, with a sound-check call for 3:30. An awkward time of day, so I plan to take my new sketchbook for a spin.
More posts to follow!

1 comment:

Dana said...

This is such an informative and interesting post! Your studies are especially evocative when viewed together. I am always in awe of your determination and willingness to dive into the new.

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