"Pataua Sketch" - 10x8" - Oil on Canvasboard

Last Wednesday we spent the day in Pataua North, returning to this classic spot I'd spied on our holiday travels in the horse truck. I remember climbing along the trunk with Helen and the kids and just being in absolute wonder at the colours bouncing around everywhere. The whole scene was a sparkling jewel and I said as much to Helen, "This is New Zealand right here", I said. Well that same day I received an invitation to put forward some paintings for a new art book called 'Impressions of New Zealand' which will be published sometime in October. Goals are always helpful to keep the ball rolling, and I figured a bigger painting of this scene would be perfect for that book, so I returned to Pataua to capture the colours in this little study.

When we arrived the light was slightly overcast so we had a surf at the beach for an hour to let some clouds pass. Coming back, the sky wasn't as clear as I would have liked, but I made the best of it and we had exactly one hour to complete the painting, which was good in a way because it forced me to just capture the major colour groups.

Here's the painting progression:

Back in the studio I was moderately happy with the result, but looking at the photos I realized that I hadn't chosen the ideal scene, and I actually preferred another scene taken from water level. Here's the photo:

I just felt this image was more dynamic, with a simple elegance about it. So I've started work on the large painting of this - a 30x30" canvas. I haven't painted a large canvas for a while so there's a bit of anxiety there. I'd like to get this one right first time, but that's sort of stacking the odds against myself if I worry about it at the outset. So I'm trying to stay as loose as possible for as long as possible on this one, taking the canvas outside to splash some paint around and standing back holding the end of the brush making big calligraphic strokes. Quite fun.

I'm layering glazes in an attempt to build that translucent look of the foreground water. My intention is to keep all the externals really loose and tighten it up considerably in the centre of focus, which will be the light on the big trunk and my kiddies there too, although I'll change Lukes position. Here's the progress over two days.

Again, I'm trying to keep everything loose and 'soft focus' as long as possible before I get into the nitty gritty. Might be working on his tomorrow, so I'll keep you updated if time permits. 

All the best with your painting,


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Comment by Amy Hinson on February 3, 2011 at 2:08
What fun!  Thanks for the motivation and inspiration!
Comment by diane boucher on February 2, 2011 at 12:48
Can't wait till wednesday:)
Comment by Merv Appleton on February 2, 2011 at 9:23
Looking forward to seeing more of this Richard, as well as the book


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