Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Elements #3: Seaweed, Stone, Shell, Wood

Elements #3: Seaweed, Stone, Shell, and Wood, 5"x6", Studio, oil on panel. © 2017 R.L. Delight

I wisely decided to stay warm in the studio today. We are simply not used to these bitter cold temps. We have a very damp freezing cold here, the kind that goes straight to the bones and makes them ache. The wind is coming from the east, the snowy coastal range behind us, and collides with the moist air coming off the sea. So it was a still life set up for me today. I have two other ongoing still life set ups in my studio at the moment so I set it up on the only space I have left. Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way that the monkey puzzle tree that all but obscures the south facing window does weird things to the light. I got a bit confused as the time went by. I have only been in my new studio for a month. I need a year of tracking the sun to learn the nuances of the natural light coming in the window. Lesson learned!

I enjoy collecting materials from the beach. I have always been attracted to rocks and bits of twigs, leaves, and pretty much anything else that nature provides. Those of you who are collectors of this type know what I mean. I was born that way. I don't remember a time when I didn't collect this stuff. Every place in the house I sit has a bowl of rocks or bits of driftwood by it. Now I get to do something even more enjoyable with the material, I get to paint it!

It is a fun challenge to portray the sensuous beauty that I see in each piece. The 30 in 30 challenge is a perfect excuse to focus on this, hence the "Elements" line. Here on the coast, the waves carve caves into the cliffs, and the water that runs to the sea cascades to the sand and rock of the beach and into the waves. When storm waves have scoured the sands out of the caves I often find these holey rocks. I love them and can't resist taking a few home. Bits of dried seaweed twist into interesting shapes where they are left behind on the high tides. I am fascinated with the organic curves and puzzles they contort into. Over the years I have found a lot of whole sand dollar shells here too. I limit my collection of those but they are fun to paint and I enjoy the way the smooth shells feel. I propped these up on two big pieces of driftwood and painting this composition. 

I need to get my digital SLR camera back up and running. Cell phones have amazing cameras these days but the subtle colors I painted in the shell and the textures are lost in the photo. I will have to work on that...

What is your favorite thing to collect?



Rukshana Afia said...

Leaves in Autumn . They always interest me however often I have drawn that species before .

Cindie said...

I'm also a beach collector - driftwood, stones, crab pot floats, lots of shells, lots of shells.

R. Delight said...

Ah, I knew my people were out there! Yes, Rukshana, I too have Autumn leaves. I will have to find a book I have that has a really wonderful illustration of the planes of a maple leaf and post it to you.
I know you enjoy your little house on the coast Cindie. I think it is snowing there at the moment but I love how the beach changes every single day. There is always treasures to collect!

Thanks for the comments!

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