Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Poseidon's Gift; Making Waves

I haven't painted the ocean in over thirty years, so approaching those waves breaking on the beach has been intimidating to say the least. After searching on the internet for more wave photos and studying all the photos and gaining a better understanding of how waves break on the beach and how they relate to one another, I finally started painting the water. Oh, yes, and I redesigned the waves again.

The photos I gathered and studied and the book I read on painting the sea were invaluable. But when it came down to it, I had to figure out on my own how the light would hit the waves based on my light source and how the wave would integrate into the composition. In every painting there comes a time when you have to put aside your source material and just go with what you know or on instinct.

Last night I finished the first wave breaking and the foreground and was pretty pleased with the way they turned out. If I were doing this painting for myself, I'd do it a lot differently, so the wave patterns have been somewhat dictated by the shape of the panel (square) and the diagonal pattern that is supposed to be retained. The background waves look like a jumble right now, but they'll look better once I paint in the new ones.

Those purple clouds have been glazed over with light blue to tame them down, and I also glazed blue over the headlands to push them back in space. The clouds look overly red in this photo but are actually more of a bluish purple.

The most difficult part of the painting is now done; that first wave; so I hope to finish the water today, let it dry and then go on to put the finishing touches on the horses and galleon.

At last the end is in sight! As before, click on the thumbnail above to see the larger image and read the story of the mural.

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