Lance Ross

International Artist - - Art Challenge -

My In­spi­ra­tion

Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula in Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia, is the main by-the-sea play­ground for Mel­bourne hol­i­day­mak­ers. The lee side of the penin­sula’s many var­ied and clean beaches is Port Phillip Bay, and the ocean side of­fers ex­cel­lent surf. Most pho­tographed is Lon­don Bridge at Port­sea surf beach. There is only one high van­tage point from which the nu­mer­ous tourists can pho­to­graph. I wanted to paint this icon but en­hance it beyond “just tak­ing a photo” and make it wor­thy to hang on a devo­tee’s wall.

My De­sign Strat­egy

To cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive “de­sign” of the lo­ca­tion and de­sir­able ap­pear­ance, I took 10 pho­to­graphs and a ro­man­tic sky, the col­or­ing of which I would adapt to the whole paint­ing. The whole scene cov­ers a wide an­gle, but the dis­tant light­house and small is­lands have been en­larged to a nor­mal hu­man eye as­pect.

There are two arches through the “bridge” but only one can be seen from this an­gle. Leav­ing the fenced-in view­ing area is not al­lowed so I ap­plied artists’ li­cense to show both arches from this an­gle. The other li­cense I took was mov­ing the tiny wa­ter­fall to the right of the “bridge” into view and re­ar­rang­ing the fore­ground a touch.

My Work­ing Process

Start­ing by com­plet­ing the sky to set my pal­ette, I then blocked in all dark ar­eas to set the tonal ex­tremes. At that stage I un­der­painted or com­pleted each of the re­main­ing ar­eas from all pho­to­graphs, most of which were shot on an over­cast day. The surf run­ning off the rock, the wa­ter flow through the cave, the sea­weed seen through the rip­ples, the or­ange re­flec­tions of the sun­set and the break­ers are painted partly from ref­er­ence, and partly from the ro­man­tic part of my mind and the en­hanc­ing oil colours on my pal­ette.

The most im­por­tant mes­sage to begin­ners: Start to learn by copy­ing from life or pho­to­graphs metic­u­lously; ad­vance by copy­ing other artists’ work to learn the im­prove­ments that artists make (not to of­fer for sale, just to learn from); then set off to paint for your­self, not slav­ishly copy­ing pho­to­graphs (yawn), but by de­vel­op­ing your own creative in­stincts.

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Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia, Lon­don Bridge, Port­sea, Vic­to­ria, Aus­tr­lia, oil, 20 x 30" (51 x 76 cm)

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