Rockpools – Part 1

The start of a new canvas always ends up delayed. Everything is prepared, a rough sketch is made, paints and brushed are set out, a plan of action is created, yet I stare at the white canvas and delay.

A white canvas - ready for paint

A white canvas – ready for paint

This is probably due to an appreciation of the time that this, currently white, canvas will consume. All steps up to this point happen quickly, and the first brush strokes applied to the horizon result in slow progress. I notice that I sink into a regime with this kind of painting, specifically, the sky always comes first.

Stage 1 - sky, sky and more sky

Stage 1 – sky, sky and more sky

I find that the sky almost dictates the rest of the piece. Up until this point I had envisaged a more moody, overcast piece, however once I started it just didn’t feel right. The progression of brush stroke size and colour saturation will mark the perspective, and so lots of tinkering happens throughout these early steps.

Stage 2 - The completed sky

Stage 2 – The completed sky

Detail of the canvas edges

Detail of the canvas edges

Of course, no part of the painting is ever really complete (at least not until it’s signed and dated). If any of the colours or shapes cease to fit when the foreground is added then some reworking will be done. For now though, I can happily move onto the land, working away from the horizon.

Stage 3 - Adding in the background

Stage 3 – Adding in the background

Getting the land to pair to the sky with regards to colour and tone can take a bit of work. Again, I tend not to worry too much at this point, darker tones can be added later if anything looks too washed out.

Stage 4 - From sky to sea

Stage 4 – From sky to sea

Last to go in before the foreground is the sea. Again, trying to make sense of the link between sea and sky can take a bit of time, if it doesn’t look right then I just add more paint until it does! I like a textured finish anyway.  A good place to take a break is just before the foreground goes in. This gives me time to look at everything with fresh eyes. I’m excited finishing the piece, Part 2 will be coming soon!

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