Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Black Shale

It has been awhile since I have worked on any new pigments. The black shale in the photo is from a mineral sample, that I took last year and had not gotten around to using. A small outcropping had caught my eye while I was in the mountains about four hours to the west.

I didn't know very much about my sample, so I wanted to be sure that it would be suitable for use in oil paint. I consulted a local geologist, who suggested that I take a pH test of the sample.

After I ground the raw sample, I mixed some with a small amount of water for the pH test. The pH was about 6, slightly acidic. I chose to go ahead to put the sample through my usual process of grinding, washing and levigating. Then I will try mixing it into paint.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ocean Visit

Last week I visited the beach, with the intention of painting my first seascape.

While I was planning my trip, I spent a lot of time searching for the right site to visit. I wanted to paint the most unadulterated area possible. Most of the Atlantic seaboard has been overrun by beachfront houses and tourist hotels. The natural dunes have diminished or ceased to exist. Some beaches have to truck in sand or they would disappear altogether. As a result, its hard to find a beach that feels authentic.

My choice was a wildlife refuge not too far from the hotel where I was staying. I visited the site in advance, and enjoyed the scenery. There was lots of interesting things to paint: dunes, beaches, and some wildlife.

As the week of my visit approached, the weather predictions indicated a mixed bag: a few nice days punctuated by lots of rain. The forecast also called for strong winds throughout the week. It appeared that there would be only a few days of sunshine. This was discouraging. As I didn't have the option of rearranging my visit, I decided to go anyway and make the best of it.

The refuge was about an hours drive from where I was staying, so it was easy to get to by car. I ended up visiting only a few times; it was so windy that I could barely hold onto a sketchpad. I spent hours studying and sketching the waves. Back in my hotel room, I worked out a design for the final composition of the painting:

I started working on the painting towards the end of my visit. As it became clear that the weather was not going to cooperate, I made the decision to set the picture aside and complete it in the studio.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sandy Bay, Jamestown

Sandy Bay, Jamestown
Oil on Wooden Panel 14" x 8"
This painting is available. Contact me.

Friday, May 4, 2012

More Progress...

Here is another work in progress, nearing completion. An interesting view from the Blue Ridge mountains, during a passing storm. This is an informal studio project, so that I could experiment with various techniques. I get a little more comfortable and familiar with my historic palette the more I use it.

Right now I'm trying to find a good balance between the warmth of the foreground and the drama of the background atmosphere.