British Columbia, Canada, Coastal Carpet, acrylic, 24 x 18" (61 x 46 cm)
The west coast of Vancouver Island is known for its pounding surf and wild winter storms, but in its restful moments, the tidal waters are calm. The long stretches of sand are covered with a thin layer of colour, reflecting the sky`s intensity. As the pull of the tide reveals the soft sand beneath, the colours change and intensify, leaving the beach a shifting carpet, inviting handholding lovers or beachcombers to the small offshore islands.
My Design Strategy
I wanted to place the emphasis on the water, so I placed the horizon very high, allowing me most of the canvas to play with reflections. I used the island as the “destination,” but left the focal point just short of the land, choosing instead to place the major interest in the broken light of the reflections.
My Working Process
Whether I’m working outdoors or in the studio, I usually begin with a toned canvas, most often a warm mid-tone, such as burnt sienna. Keeping that tone as my mid-value, I lay in the composition very loosely with pencil, and then do a more definite drawing and rough “notan” using black gesso. When it dries, I glaze over everything with broad washes of transparent colours such as Indian yellow, green-gold, dioxazine violet and quinacridone burnt orange. When my darks and mid-tones are established with the transparent hues, I start to define my shapes with opaque colours, moving around the painting to ensure unity, balancing warms and cools, and retaining the transparency of the darkest darks whenever possible. The final stage is to cut in with the lightest values, keeping the brushwork loose and lively.
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