Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Artistic license

When selecting a location to paint you don’t usually find everything is exactly as you would like it. A painting must be designed. If the composition would be better with the tree moved to the left a little, then you do it. Same thing if it would look more pleasing to have the path going a different direction than it does. A location should really be a starting point, the inspiration for the art. If it’s a familiar and recognizable place for many people, obviously you are going to try and capture that, but the artist needs to judge what to leave in and what to leave out to get the best result.

In the studio you have more time to design and make adjustments to the composition then when plein air painting. With this piece I took some artistic license. It’s based on a beach in Kihei, Maui. The house or hale, was really a two-story condo building. It had about the same roof line, but I wanted it to be a tropical beach cottage on stilts. The stretch of sand here was plain with nothing to the east to cast shadows, so I used some from a spot down the shore a little. The west Maui mountains were visible to the left, but really would have been off the canvas, so I brought them to the right leading to the house.

I’m happy with the way this turned out in my studio, but it wasn’t quite as enjoyable as standing along the shore, feeling the tropical breeze and listening to the waves as you paint. Two months till I go back.

Island hale, oil, 20" x 16"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Foggy Day

This little lighthouse is on Kalamazoo Lake in Saugatuck/Douglas, Michigan. I don’t know if it was really built to be a functional beacon or just kind of a picturesque decoration to the marina area of this small lake. The Kalamazoo River connects this harbor to Lake Michigan so small ships could come in. The ship is the S.S. Keewatin, a 100+ year old steamship that was docked here when it was saved from the scrap yard many years ago and has been operated as museum. It had become an icon to the area, but this year it was sold and towed to a Canadian port in Ontario, where it was originally from, to be restored.

Foggy day, Saugatuck, oil, 12" x 14"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tropical evening

A new studio painting. This is a compilation of scenes, mostly a view you’d see from south Maui looking northwest. A little different approach for me. I used mostly thin washes of paint with walnut oil kind of scrubbed on. The lack of sharp edges I thought, works for a low-light, evening scene. I like having some directional strokes adding interest too.

Evening blues, oil, 28" x 15"