Up to this point, the painting had an overall coolness to it. Cool greens for the fig tree and lots of gray in the rocks. Even the upper boulder's reds are cool. I used Indian Red and a little Burnt Sienna for the reddest sections.
The rocks may be the foundation of the painting but the warm tones will tell the story.
The darkest areas in the lower grasses are designed to lead one to the base of the rock and direct one's eyes to the focal point.
With a Master of Science Degree in Geology, it is not hard to imagine that I like rocks. Big ones, small ones, gray or colored, rocks are neat. Even though I have seen a lot of them, I was not prepared for the dramatic kopjes of the Serengeti in Kenya. The huge islands of Precambrian granite create havens for fig trees, thirsty plants, and shade-loving animals on the flat African plain. Often boulders, weathered and cracked by sun and wind, are perched on the highest and most exposed part of the rock group.
With the full painting in view, you can get a better idea of the composition.
When I was first envisioning this painting, it was a simple silhouette. My handful of references were going to serve me well. The further I delved into the concept, the more I wanted to add.
Now came the questions. Was I being a good editor? Did the additional elements move the story along or detract from it?
While it would have been much easier to stay with my original idea, I had to admit the more complicated story made for a better painting.
This piece is using so many of my reference photos that I needed to create a new folder to organize them. The images span multiple other folders and trips. The painting is 33" X 24" so all you are seeing below is the very top part of this vertical work.
For trees, and especially this fig tree, I like to "build" the framework of branches before I start on the leaves. I believe there is inherent beauty in the natural world and kopjes with fig trees are a great example. The free-flowing structure of these trees is a perfect contrast to these striking rock formations.
This year I have completed a number of paintings for the Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha's Vineyard and sales have been good. There are so many iconic Vineyard scenes.
In these two pieces I wanted to take a different look at two places.
The first is Menemsha - a quaint fishing village up-island. Rather than focusing on the boats and buildings, I thought putting a cormorant in the foreground would further illustrate the good location for fishing. These birds are often seen on the pilings waiting for the incoming tide teaming with fish.
8" X 10"
The second painting showcases Martha's Vineyard's sailing history. Vineyard Haven harbor has provided sailing vessels a safe respite for centuries. The background of this painting is Owen Park which is just outside the harbor breakwater. We were sailing when I got the idea for this piece so it seemed appropriate to paint it from the water's side.