Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two Seascapes and a Woodland Scene

It's been very cold here for the last few days, but the upside is that it has been sunny and calm. Near ideal plein air painting conditions, because of the consistent light. I went to Baginbun Head on Tuesday and managed to do two while perched on cliff-tops. It was only about 2-4 C (approx 35-40 F), but felt warmer because of the sunshine and absence of any wind. I've been learning to be a bit more creative in "designing" my plein airs lately, so there is a bit more editing/re-arranging, while still being faithful to the light conditions. I've also been paying a lot more attention to composition recently and have included some panoramic photos here to show how I've cropped the scenes to focus in on what interested me.

For my first one, I was attracted by the vivid colours of the cast shadows of the rocks on the foam. The difficulty was that there wasn't a lot of action in the ocean and the foam only appeared for about 10-15 seconds every ten minutes or so. It didn't make things easy either that the tide was coming in rapidly and both rocks had all but disappeared by the time I finished.

Winter Sunlight, Baginbun Head
(12" x 10" Oil on Board)

I moved to the other side of Carnivan Beach for my second one. I thought the gap in the flat rocks provided a nice "lead-in", even if I had to tweak things a little.

Winter Surf, Carnivan Beach
(10" x 12" Oil on Board)

These are two photos I took before starting, the first a panoramic shot and the second a closer crop which was closer to what I had in mind compositionally:-

This is a panoramic shot of the scene, which shows how I zoomed in on a particular area and arranged things somewhat. I also exaggerated the surf for effect.


Mick Carney said...

Three fascinating pictures to study. In the first two I was taken by the small strokes of red particularly where, in the first one, they have small notes of green nearby. The last one is perfect in terms of communicating atmosphere and the first two depict those lovely pieces of light that attract both painter and viewer.

As a matter of interest what sizes of brushes are you using on the 12 x 10 panels? Some of the strokes you make seem quite fine.

Michael McGuire said...

Thanks Mick. When working at this size, I ususally do the block-in with 5/8" hog's hair brushes, then most of the detailed painting with 1/2", before swithcing to a 3/8" for the final touches - all filbert. The advantage of filberts is that relatively small strokes can be made with medium size brushes, because you can use the narrow edge if you wish.

I also use a knife to get some impasto passages here and there.