(click for larger view)
Soft pastels on
11 x 9 inches
$180 framed (plus sales tax, shipping and insurance)
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Today I’m tackling another source of artistic insecurity. Plein air painting is something else I love to see but have difficulty doing. I started this painting about a month ago when my painter friend Ingrid McGarry came over and we took our painting supplies down to the beach. I was very unhappy with it by the end of that day, so I put it aside for awhile to figure out how to fix it. Yesterday I made some significant changes and today I put on the finishing touches.
Values were the problem in my original version of the painting. Usually, darker values are used in the foreground and the painting gets progressively lighter in the background areas. It’s part of what gives a painting a feeling of depth. I knew values would be a problem at the beginning, because the bleached driftwood in the foreground was the lightest value in the scene. Along the same lines, the cliffs in the background are a very dark rock–nearly black.
I did the painting as an experiment for myself to see if I could use other techniques to get the background to drop away even though the values were backward from what our eyes expect. The tarry, broken old pilings just behind the driftwood helped, and tied the dark values together into a pattern that pleased me. I hope you like it too!
One final note: I decided to number the painting in the title. Since I now live close to Echo Cove, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of it in my artwork!