Friday, March 31, 2023

Multiple planes


As I mentioned in a previous post, the multiple surface planes of the water in this painting make it a complicated piece. As I moved to the foreground I thought this area would be pretty straightforward.  A swoop here, a swoop there and it'd be done.

 Hardly. While this section appears more simple, the feel of the water is still accomplished with subtle changes in the highs and lows of the water surface. The background "mountain" of water has lots of directional changes but the foreground, in addition to the changes in the water's planes, also incorporates more texture to help it read well.



Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Paint Drying

 "It's as exciting as watching paint dry."

That's an old joke and it relates to what I am going to talk about in this post. Paint drying.

One of the reasons I like to paint water is that it lends itself well to working wet-on-wet and alla prima is my preferred method of painting. Blocking in colors and blending the edges seems to work for creating that wet look.

In painting complicated water as in this piece I need to keep in mind how big a section I want to tackle. A consideration is how fast my paint is going to dry. I don't use a medium which means I am not extending nor shortening the paint's drying time. My paints are just ground pigment in linseed oil. You would think that would lead to consistent drying times. Far from it.

Generally my browns dry overnight and whites can take anywhere from one to one and a half weeks depending on the humidity and temperature. Granted my lighter passages might be thicker in places but that doesn't account for the disparate drying times.

So what about greens and blues? They are often in the middle for drying times but some blues dry much faster than some other blues. What about a mixture of several blues? Much of the time I don't know how fast it will dry. That leads me to think about working in sections - usually a section I can finish in a day or two so I can smoothly blend it. Sometimes I miscalculate how fast I can paint a section and there are some very late dinners as I keep working in to the night.

As I started on this section I began questioning whether I bit off a bit too much.

Detail before blending
Once blended I often tweak the colors and add new passages

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Drake Passage - More Water

 I like painting water and knew this would be a complicated painting.

Unlike a beach wave, this piece has to feel like the water is overpoweringly in control. Multiple planes are needed to define it.

Quick phone photo

I was having trouble in the upper right section of the wave where it is partly breaking. The colors I was mixing were not capturing the feeling of a bit of light passing through the water. Looking over my paints I thought maybe mixing in some Gamblin Radiant Yellow would brighten that section.

I have a confession. I couldn't open the tube. Yes, I could have gone to look for pliers but I wanted something right now. I kept looking at my yellow paints. Hmm. What about the Richeson Nickel Titanate I had?

My go to paints are Rembrandt. However, I was fortunate to win a competition which included a gift certificate to Michael Harding paints and another where I got a gift certificate to Richeson products. In both cases I chose from the reds, yellows, and blues to complement my current Rembrandt palette. Over the years I have also picked up a few paints from other manufacturers.

Back to the Nickel Titanate. I'm not sure I have used this yet so I put only a small dab on my palette. The color was a bit richer and brighter than I thought it would be. Perfect. A little bit of it mixed in with what I had already painted in that area did the trick. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Drake passage

For anyone who has crossed the Drake Passage you know it can be an adventure. 

While our northern return crossing yielded some big rollers, it was nothing like our southern crossing from Ushuaia, Argentina to the Antarctic continent. Wind gusts up to 120 mph created mountains of water up to 48 feet high. In a small 100 passenger ship we really felt the power of the ocean.

To capture the feeling of isolation the early sailors must have felt I am adding a lone albatross to the painting. The sky is a sickly storm yellow. 

 I've roughed in the water and will be using my blending brush to soften the look. The far background water is a mixture of the sky and the green water.



The water sections which have been painted are blended. White (titanium white and cadmium yellow deep) will be added later.