This painting was done in record time. Twelve days!! (I made a chart to track my hours which you can view/print/download here) After struggling with what to paint next and my “artistic vision” I decided to challenge myself and paint the same picture again. The thing is is that the last painting I posted “The Pier At Crescent” was really awesome technically compared to a lot of my other paintings (I’m not bragging), but I did not really enjoy painting it. It was looonnngg and very tedious and I wanted to scribble all over it with a sharpie at times. I forced myself to finish one section before I started the next (the pier before the sky, for example) and it felt as if all these separate pieces were being patched together. It seemed forced. And although it got a great response I couldn’t help but think that wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my creative career. But when I look back at the paintings where I just did whatever I wanted and was all fruity the end product wasn’t necessarily that aesthetically appealing.
So I decided to repeat the subject matter in order to force myself to focus on technique. It’s easy to get caught up in a new picture and not ever really improve your style. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of how the last painting turned out, but to me it just feels…stationary. I want my paintings to feel alive when you look at them, like you can almost see them moving.
Because this canvas was a different shape I knew that I would have to put more emphasis on the clouds since they took up so much of the painting. I kept trying to paint what I thought clouds should look like and where I thought they should be placed but it wasn’t working. Then I saw this painting titled “Night Drive” by Diana Willard:
It inspired me that the clouds didn’t look like clouds per se. But they give motion to the painting and make it interesting. I then tried just making random marks (I even closed my eyes for a bit!) which eventually morphed into sky and clouds. It really helped to free me to realize that a mark you make might look like nothing or even look weird on its own, but as a whole, it works.
One other thing I tried on this painting that really helped me out was doing a monochromatic underpainting to help me map out the lights and darks.
I think typically they are done in black and white, but for whatever reason I did it in purple. It was great because I ended up letting some of it show through the final layer and it really complemented the blues in the sky and water.
Last thing I’d like say is that I am finally forcing myself to settle down. I am going to endeavour to create a cohesive body of work that is all one style and similar subject matter (by “body of work” I mean 20+ paintings). The painting I have just started is another view of Crescent Pier and I will probably do one more after that. I then hope to do several paintings from photos I took at White Rock Beach after that storm that happened a couple weeks ago.
It is exciting to me that I am finally in the place mentally where I feel I can commit to a project of this size instead of wishy-washally going to and fro with each painting. I am choosing a direction and you can hold me accountable. I am determined.