Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunshine, Whales, and Bald Eagles!

Not a bad day at the office! I have decided to add one day-long (8 hours or more) plein air painting day a week, weather permitting. Today was a beautiful sunny day on the northern Oregon coast, so I decided that today was the day for this week. Sunny days used to be rare but this winter we have seen quite a few. I talked my mate into spending the day with me as well. I didn't have to twist his arm on a day like today!

We drove a little further up the coast to Cannon Beach to paint at Ecola State Park. This is Indian Beach. It is rather stunning and there is another life time of painting to be had. Here are a few quick pictures of the area:

Of course, my cell phone doesn't exactly do it justice!

I painted a painting in the morning, ate a quick picnic lunch, and then painted another in the afternoon. While I was eating lunch there was a pod of whales passing through and we enjoyed watching them spout and breach.  I was planning on moving to a new spot to paint but liked how different the rocks I was painting looked in the afternoon sun, so I decided to paint the same spot. Here is the morning painting and the afternoon painting.
© 2015 R.L. Delight, Ecola in January study, 10"x8", oil on canvas

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Low Afternoon Tide Study, 8"x10", oil on canvas

We arrived at Indian Beach just after the high tide had turned. Low tide happened just as I was finishing up the second painting. The change in shadows and the change in tide made quite a difference in the scene. There were a lot more rocks exposed by the retreating tide for one. There was a bit of the lingering marine layer in the morning which made for a softer horizon in the distance.
We were visited by a pair of Bald Eagles as I was finishing up. Can you blame me for wanting to be outside painting?

What a lovely day! The light on the return drive home was incredibly beautiful. We had dinner and a quick evening walk to the library and post office while discussing art and music. Tonight we will both be practicing music and tomorrow I will head out again in the afternoon.

Life is good!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Study, Study, Study!

I am pushing myself and experimenting again. I haven't posted my efforts because I am mostly making messes. Sometimes even deliberately! I know I need to change a few things and that requires trying new ideas and techniques out. It is rather fun but also frustrating when I don't get the effect or concept I want. I don't mind painting failures in fact, I actually am excited about it.  I may be "failing" to make a good painting but I can see that I am making progress. I just wish it was a faster process! I know, but I am human too!

In the meantime, I will post a rock sketch I did today. Sundays are my day of rest. I don't do well if I fail to get enough rest, wholesome food, and exercise. Good health means I get to paint for many more years.

I enjoyed sketching today. I walked from my house up to the north end of the beach. It is unusually sunny and warm here on the Northern Oregon Coast. Sketching was a very relaxing and almost meditative process. I had no expectations for this one. Here it is:

© 2015 R.L. Delight, January Rock Study, Graphite on toned paper.

Keeping all my East coast friends and family in my thoughts. Stay Safe!


Friday, January 16, 2015

A Golden Afternoon

I have been trying a few new approaches to plein air painting to see if I can get closer to what I am trying to express. I have been doing a lot of reading and a few painting studies to try things out. Today, I tried a different approach to painting rocks. It wasn't entirely successful but I can see where it is going. I believe it will be worth pursuing so I will be trying it out for a bit.

Here is a plein air study I painting this afternoon at Arcadia Beach on the northern Oregon coast:
© 2015 R.L. Delight, "Arcadia in January", 9"x12", oil on canvas

We had a pretty good storm last night so the waves were large and the surf rough. I lucked out because another heavy rainstorm is expected to come in tonight.

Isn't it funny when one is ready to hear or understand something, you encounter that idea or concept everywhere you turn? That has been happening a lot for me recently. It seems like everything I have studied this week, whether it is from a book written in 1975 or even earlier, or a YouTube video, or blog, has given me the same message over and over again. I keep reading, seeing, hearing, "paint with your feelings!
To give you an example, I opened a book I own called, "How to Paint Successful Seascapes: Techniques in Oil" by Roger W. Curtis. The very first sentence in the very first paragraph reads:

       "Painting isn't something you do with flat or bright brushes, or with certain colors, or on specially treated canvases.
        It's not technique that makes a painting, or flawless draftsmanship. The important thing is that you paint with your feelings."

Everything art instructional related that I opened this week stated a variation of the above statement! I get the message! This book, by the way, is one of the best books I have found on painting seascapes, and I have several books on seascape painting. I got it used on Amazon.

One other thing I decided to change up a bit is the color palette I use. I have been keeping it pretty minimal for several months now. I have been using Permanent Red Medium and Naples Yellow Light, both from Rembrandt, Cad. Yellow Lemon from Utrecht, Veridian from Gamblin, Green Earth from Rembrandt, and Ultramarine Blue along with Warm Titanium White from Gamblin. I have been pretty happy with these but I wanted to try something a little different. I added back Alizarin Crimson Permanent from Gamblin. I am going to switch out the Cad. Yellow Lemon for Hansa Yellow Medium, and perhaps Hansa Yellow Light, from Gamblin.  I am going to try Asphaltum from Rembrandt just for fun.

I really like using the Permanent Red Medium and Naples Yellow from Rembrandt. I got these colors for the workshop I took from Kathleen Dunphy and they work well for me. Well, we shall see how the changes work out.
I will stop here and leave you with a couple of pictures from this afternoon. There were a few times when I was the only person on the beach for miles. It was lovely.
© 2015 R.L. Delight, Arcadia Beach looking north

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Arcadia Beach looking south.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Wave Study #80!

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #80, 8"x10", oil on canvas
Photo taken as light was fading

I am excited to have completed wave study #80! That means I have just 20 studies to go until I meet my goal of 100. I have taken my time painting the studies but I don't mind. Not every day is a good day to paint a wave study. Some days are better than most. I found I like to paint wave studies as the tide is coming in. This way the waves are getting closer to me. At Neahkahnie beach, the waves are just plain more interesting around the highest part of the tide.

Today I decided to focus a bit more on getting the color and values correct. Getting that green to be just right is very tricky. Not only that, it changes from moment to moment when there are clouds in the sky. Speaking of skies, I could have just as happily painted a few cloudscapes today. That is something I haven't really done and it is time I did.  I determined from today that I really need to just spend a bit of extra time when I am out painting just working on color swatches. That way I don't get distracted by trying to get all the other stuff right too.

I am happy with the colors I got in today's painting for the most part. I only had an hour and a half due to the timing of the tides and a few other factors. The waves in the painting are not as fully formed as I would have liked. They still look a bit too blocked-in and even, and the waves and water in the foreground are even more unfinished.  I was running out of light to take a finished picture so the best picture of today's painting came from my cell phone, on site. The light made the picture a bit pinker than it should be but I kind of liked the effect. I will retake the photo tomorrow.

The beach as the sun was going down was incredibly beautiful. Since I am on the West Coast of the U.S., the sun sets into the sea and backlights the waves. There were the most unbelievable acid greens in the water as I was packing up.

No eagle sighting today but I did hear their musical calls behind me. They must have been behind the trees. Here is a parting shot as I was hiking down the beach:

© 2015 R.L. Delight

The next few days will be spent working other jobs with a day of rest in between. I will catch whatever time I can in the studio working on drawing skills. Painting will resume next week!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wave Study #79

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #79, 8"x10", oil on canvas

Try, try again. And again...and again... Then try again! Here is Wave Study #79, painted on Neahkahnie beach today. I gained a little understanding from yesterday's wave study and applied it today and gained a tiny inch more in understanding. If the weather is decent tomorrow, I will have to go paint #80 just to round everything out. After tomorrow, the tides will start to be favorable for painting on the other beaches. I would like to get back to Hug Point, Ecola State Park, and of course, Short Sands beach, my all time favorite. I have a couple of new spots in mind too.

Our part of the Pacific Ocean is such a green sea. Probably because we don't have the harsh bright sun, except for a bit in the summer. Even when the ocean looks blue the swells are a deep and amazing green. I am pretty close to getting the green right but I would like to get it even closer. It was a beautiful day to paint although the sun was out only for a few minutes.

As I was finishing up I kept hearing a crow cawing behind me. Usually I am attuned to what they are expressing and pay more attention but I was a bit preoccupied with painting. When the cawing finally seeped into my painting consciousness I turned around and looked up. I spotted the reason for the crow's scolding. There was one of our resident Bald Eagles perched at the top of the tree looking down on me painting. The eagle ignored the crow and sat and watched for a while before flying off down the beach to look for goodies. I took a picture with my phone. The eagles white head is hard to see against the light sky so I put a circle around it.

Today the Bald Eagle was my only watcher, much to my relief. I don't mind people coming up to look but it is nice to have a bit of a break from that.

A final picture at the finish:
© R.L. Delight, plein air painting on Neahkahnie Beach

The sun came out as I was cleaning up. Ah well, it all works!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wave Study #78

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #78, 8"x10", oil on canvas

What a beautiful January day on the beach today. The tides were at their awkward phase for painting. Low tide was at 8:30 am and high tide was at 1:30pm. The tide, size of the waves, and the weather of course, determine what beach I go to paint on a given day. Some places, like Hug Point, are not accessible when the tide is coming in.

It was a perfect day to paint a wave study. I like to paint wave studies when the tide is coming in. I went out to my home beach here in Manzanita/Neahkahnie  this morning. I love painting on the north end next to Neahkahnie Mountain for several reasons. One is that the mountain is big enough to shelter me from most winds. Another reason is that I love the way the waves bounce off of Neahkahnie's toes and make cross waves. In stormy weather those waves are huge and rather spectacular. I have been trying to capture those cross waves en plein air for quite a while. I understand the mechanics of the cross waves from having watched them for the past 4 years. I struggle with getting the paint to depict them in all their glory. I am getting closer and after getting home and taking a good look at the painting, I understand a bit more. I am hoping to get out again tomorrow and put that understanding to the test.

The light was beautiful, gauzy, opalescent, and elusive. Right after I finished packing up for the day, the sun came out and made everything sparkle. The winter sun on the northern Oregon coast is soft and somewhat rosy due to the low angle in the sky. It isn't a strong light but it can dazzle the eyes when you come around a curve in the road while driving. That low angle makes for interesting shadows too.

I am getting closer to that 100th plein air wave study. It will be interesting to see the difference between this study and the 100th one. I already know there will be quite a difference between the first and the 100th one!
Here are a few parting pictures of the day.
© 2015 R.L. Delight, Neahkahnie plein air

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Crosswave Collision

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Looking Behind

Monday, January 5, 2015

Studying a Study

I work at a part time job two days a week. This is my final month and I am counting off the days! Since I did not have a lot of time to work on painting and drawing today I decided to do a study of a plein air wave study I painted over a year ago. Here is the plein air study,

© 2015, R.L. Delight, Wave Study #68, 6"x8", oil on canvas.

I decided to use graphite pencil and gouache to make the study. I wanted to see if I push some of the light and dark nuances with gouache. Here is the study I painted today:

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Study of #68, 6"x8", graphite and gouache on gray paper

It isn't an exact copy of course, I mainly wanted a bit of reference material to practice with. Creating a study like this also keeps me moving forward when there isn't much time to work on drawing or painting due to whatever reason. I am still new to using gouache and am enjoying seeing what I can do with it.
Tonight I will be working on my musical part of life. My band is beginning the process of making our second CD. That is always exciting, and a lot of work. Very satisfying work I might add. The similarities between art and music are abundant. Probably why so many artists I know of are also musicians!
I might draw a similar study of a Fredric Waugh painting tomorrow. It would be interesting to try.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tide Worn

© 2015, R.L. Delight, "Tide Worn", 5"x7", oil on panel

I didn't have time to post this yesterday. Well, that is during a reasonable hour. Sometimes the music making part of my life adds a few late hours to the day. Today is a day of rest. Something the doctor ordered. Since I really want to paint for many years to come, I thought I should comply.

I had a lot of fun painting this one as I experimented with a few things. As a result I had a few "Ah Ha" and "Ah, now I see" moments. It is always fun to have those, specially when one has been struggling. I can't wait to get outside and try a few of the ideas en plein air too. At the moment, the weather is rather wet and the light very dark. I had a challenge trying to get a decent photo of this as I usually take the pictures on our covered front porch. It was too dark for that today.

The only item in the picture not found on the beach is the pulley the rock is resting on. The rock is a soft sediment rock found on the beach that has been shaped by trickling waterfalls into a perfectly smooth little bowl. I love the subtle colors on the lumber that washed up on the beach. The bottle was one of several found after a particularly strong storm. I kept the sandy, and seaweedy spots on them as they make for interesting effects. I added the old wooden pulley because I liked it and it seems to fit.
As promised, here is a better picture of the set up:

Tide Worn, set up

Now, I am off to catch up on my reading. -Renee

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Studio Day!

It has been a while since I had a day of working in the studio. I guess that is a good thing in that it means the weather has been pretty nice most of the time which isn't usually the norm. The clouds rolled in early this morning which trapped the cold air for a while before warming up a tiny bit. Cold in the damp cloudy air is much more intense than on a beach in the sunshine. After taking a walk to check on conditions, I decided to work in the studio.

It has been a long time since I have set up a still life and painted. I recently got re-inspired by one of my favorite artists, Terry Strickland. She is not a plein air painter or landscape artist, although she may paint in this manner at times. She paints inspiring portraits and still life. What makes her work fascinating for me is that there is a story-line that runs through her work. I have long admired her story telling abilities and the fact that she does it with paint. Her whole family is talented and I enjoy reading about their exploits. Check out some of her paintings here.

Her recent newsletter arrived in my inbox containing not only pictures of recent paintings for an upcoming show, but a bit of instruction in how she works. This combined with the damp, bone-chilling cold weather definitely prompted my decision to stay inside for a change.

I spent a bit of time playing with a still life set up. I wanted to incorporate some of the things I find on the beach in the set up. I played with a simple story to go along with it but found it a bit challenging to come up with one in the spur of the moment. I decide to settle for something that I liked so I could get to painting. Here is a picture of my still life set up, with apologies for the photo quality:

It was getting dark when I stopped to take a picture and the camera was a bit confused between the lighting in the still life station and the studio lighting. I will get a better picture tomorrow. The paper behind the set up wouldn't stay taped to the background and wanted to roll down. I liked the effect so kept it in as you will see.

I ran out of time so did not finish the painting even though it is small 5"x7".  I am having fun with this and just playing with it. I have forgotten how relaxing it can be to paint without racing against light, tides, and changing weather. Don't get me wrong, I actually love being outside and prefer it to being in the studio.

Here are a couple of more pictures. I used my plein air easel to paint with to keep things easy to move around.

Well, as you can see, I got some of it blocked in but not all. I took my time mixing paint and considering values, etc., not to mention getting the drawing right. The shapes still need tweaking but it is underway. I will work on it some more tomorrow, and with any luck, given the time I have available, finish it. In the meantime, I am going to think about a story or two to tell....


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

First, I would like to wish everyone good health, happiness, and prosperity in 2015! With a new year comes a new 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. I must admit, I hadn't planned to sign up this time but Leslie Saeta's wonderful enthusiasm is really hard to resist. In case anyone is unfamiliar with the Artists Helping Artists site and podcast, you should definitely check it out here.

As I did the previous time I participated, I am going to tweak the challenge to fit my needs and goals as an artist. I am not expecting to produce 30 paintings in 30 days for this challenge. I am currently finishing up a part-time job in the month of January. That, coupled with my new determination to put my personal health and well-being as my first priority in life, means that I will not be able to paint every day this month. My goal after this month is to get a solid and regular five days a week as a working artist.
In the meantime, I have some skills I really need to work on. That means I will be making quite a few messes. Today's painting being a very good example.
I wanted to spend the first day of the new year painting in my favorite place, Short Sands beach on the northern Oregon coast. The air was cold today but the sun was out and it was warm enough on the beach to paint in long sleeves and a fleece vest. After some consideration, I decided to have another try at painting the waterfall at the north end. I have painted various studies of this falls the past year. Each study brings me closer to what I would like to accomplish. Here is a quick picture of the area. I took it after I stopped painting on the study. If you look closely there are people at the base of the falls to give a bit of perspective.
© 2015 R.L. Delight, Short Sands

This can be a challenging time of the year to get the light and color just right. This far north the angle of the sun is pretty low and I probably don't need to mention how short the daylight hours are. The colors are beautiful but I am finding them a bit tricky to capture to my satisfaction. I will keep trying. Here is my study which is most definitely not completed. Many spots, such as the falls and some of the rock, are still just blocked in. The light shifted too much to keep going. I didn't want to start changing things or chase the light so I made myself stop. Here is the study:

© 2015, R.L. Delight, New Year Study, 10"x8", oil on linen panel

I was working on getting the rock color, values, and shape and texture today. I probably tried to get too many study factors in one painting but it is really hard not to cram in as much of the beauty I see as possible. I know, I have heard that is a beginning painters mistake before. I did more than one study today. I turned my easel around and painted a rock portrait. Since the tide was still going out and the tide line was very low and distant, I wasn't as concerned about having most of my back to the sea. I painted a quick one hour study of the rock and then wiped the panel off.

This month I will be going out to paint every possible day. When the weather will not allow, I want to start making finished paintings from my studies. It has been a long time since I tried that. I am also working on my drawing skills. I will post more on that later.

Finally, I will add that when I create a finished painting that I feel is up to my standards I will put it up for sale!
It will be an exciting month and year for me. Thanks for reading this far.

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