Resource Photo: Pataua South, Northland, New Zealand
I've painted this scene several times before, all with slight variations on a theme. This one is a commission for a specific size so needed to be compressed into the shorter format. Each time I paint the same subject it gives me an opportunity to unleash my artistic licence and try out something a little different. Each new painting (hopefully) gets better and better as I gain a deeper understanding of the subject. In this version for instance I felt freer to invent the subtle shapes in the dunes grasses and also had fun playing with the impasto highlights. As in life, no path ever gives you the same journey.
The Sketch : 19 x 38.5"
Palette of Cobra Water Mixable Oils:
Medium: Walnut Oil
Canvas: Fredrix Ultrasmooth (purchased in a roll, cut to size and stretched on a board using 3M masking tape.)
Brushes: 1" Bristle Varnishing Brush, Robert Simmons Signet Long Bristle Flat #8, #6 and a sable signing brush.
Normally I work from Darks to Light all over the canvas. In this case however I've started at the centre of interest and set the darkest dark in that area to be about a 7/10 value so that it leaves room for darker darks in the foreground, creating depth and a sense of light through the air. I know I'm going to create a bright warm glowing area around the sun so I've made the area closest to the sun slightly lighter and warmer, and also added a touch more blue to the mountain on the right where it will take on some of the cooler sky colour there. No highlights have been painted at this early stage.
Closest to the sun I used just primary yellow and white. Moving out from there I added more and more yellow ochre and less white. All of the elements surrounding it must get gradually darker and cooler, but dark objects like trees might transition through oranges and reds to eventually become cooler darker green further from the sun. I work with larger brushes (#8 bristle flats) to begin with so I don't get carried away with the details.
I've blocked in the darks in the foreground quite thinly using enough walnut oil to let the paint cover the canvas easily, leaving room for the light areas to work down into these. I'm inventing the shapes so I just keep in mind that they need to get thinner and flatter as they recede to give the illusion of depth. Note that the brushstrokes in the foreground are much larger too - it all helps to trick the eye into believing there is real depth there.
Now the lights have gone on top of the darks in the foreground and the are applied thicker, with no walnut oil and really much thicker, lighter and warmer closer to the sun. The sand has been blocked in with a slightly warm grey believe it or not, but it looks slightly cool because it's surrounded by all that warmth. A common mistake would be to paint it cooler than necessary, not allowing for this effect of 'simultaneous contrast'.
The ocean and shadow sides of the clouds are placed in, again not going too blue because I want an overall warm tonality in this painting. I've also added a variety of cooler and warmer greys into the sand - cooler where it might reflect the sky to the right and warmer on the beach where it might reflect some of the warm light from the sunlit clouds, as the shallow water is doing.
The finished painting. The sky and clouds got warmer and lighter as the approached the sun, a few small clouds lending scale to the big ones. The sun itself was painted in very smoothly with a palette knife in a circular fashion so no errant lumps of paint would cast tiny shadows there and spoil the illusion of intense light. The foam in the waves was painted in a light cool grey since all that area is cast in shadow. More thick impasto highlights were added to the landscape closer to the sun and a few darks strengthened in the foreground to again add more contrast between foreground and background.
"Pataua" 19 x 38.5" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson
The Resource photo.
Add a Comment