British Columbia, Canada, Pettinger Point, oil, 28 x 40" (71 x 102 cm)
As a young man I was drawn to the mountains; now at 73, I am drawn to the sea. Near Tofino, British Columbia, the ocean beckons with its soft sea air and sea mists, where the land meets sea. Although the average annual rainfall is 127 inches, we always strike sunshine or sunny breaks.
I find the play of sun on sea, sand, rocks and rainforest to be an endless visual delight. We have been in all seasons with the winter storms and ferocious seas exhilarating. Pettinger Point as seen through the mist, is named after the founder of the Pacific Sands Resort and forms the backdrop for this painting.
My Design Strategy
After viewing my many seascape photos, I have taken over the years, I pick out as many as 20 that may have some relevance to the scene I wish to portray. I then compose a very rough sketch in a separate sketchbook, often with much erasing and redrawing. In this instance, I wanted a fairly significant foreground taking up one-third or more of the painting, leading the eye into the elements of the composition, which become more faded into the mist. I always like some sentient life form in a composition whether it be people, birds or animals and placed a seagull on the driftwood log. In nature, it is very difficult to find a balanced scene and it is an artist’s privilege to balance, enhance and emphasize as necessary.
My Working Process
In this instance I prepared a 28-by-40-inch Masonite board ¼-inch thick with about seven coats of gesso, The white surface was covered with a coat of cadmium orange acrylic to create a warm under glow.
I paint the sky first and then each successive feature coming forward as one cuts into the other. Oil paints are very forgiving as they don’t run one color into another and may be painted over when dry if the colors don’t look right, or even lightly sanded to remove dry paint to correct something when viewing on the easel. Attitude is important when creating detailed paintings. Remind yourself that if it takes hours to paint one small section of the painting, and it looks right, to be satisfied.
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