Thursday, May 24, 2012

Out on the Water, pastel, 9 x 12
My demo from this morning's class. Continuing with our beach series, we added more elements to the scene besides the sand and tall grass that we painted in the last class. There's a lot going on in this scene so it was important to simplify as much as possible. It's easy to get hung up on defining the tall grass too much. After all, it's in the foreground here and it is indeed busy subject matter. I decided I wanted the boat with the red bimini (I just learned today what that's called!) to be the focal point, so I didn't hold back with the splash of red up against the bright blue water. For the distant land mass, my students saw me struggle with values on that, since I knew my photo darkened that area, and I also wanted to push it back into the distance even more. Went back and forth on this part until I felt I had the appropriate value and level of detail (or "non" detail, in this case).

My textured surface (hardboard prepared with pumice gel) helped me to convey the sand texture without rendering very much...just needed to keep the values accurate in the shadows and sunlit areas. I was tempted to get more contrast in the tall grass, which my photo actually indicated, but felt it was more important to simplify there and just made adjustments with color temperature instead.  I used the negative spaces within the grass to pull the viewer's eye beyond the line of grass further into the scene. I opened up these negative spaces more than what was shown in the photo.

In our next class, we'll probably add more water to the scene!


  1. I love your comments and descriptions, Barbara.. You're an excellent teacher.

    1. Thanks, Stephanie! I do really love to teach and share the tidbits of information I've picked up along my own journey. I appreciate the nice feedback and I'm glad you find the information helpful.