Monday, April 26, 2010

Painting the Stormy Sea, a work in progress

Today I have a new work in progress to share with you!  It feels like forever since I've been in the studio painting. I'm actually dying to get outside for plein air painting, but it is going to rain until Friday. Meanwhile I have to get panels and boards prepped and ready.

But I digress, back to the new painting. The reference for this was a photo that I took a few weeks ago when we were having that big nor'easter that flooded Connecticut. This is the Long Island sound which is essentially a bay so though these waves are small they're the biggest I will ever see here on the CT shore!

Speaking of flooding, I have been having a recurring series of dreams that all involve a flood. So of course I did a little research to see what that might mean.  The fact that flood dreams might mean that you're feeling overwhelmed by circumstances in your life or have pent up emotions that need a release is a given for my life, but since in the dreams we are never in any real peril and the flood eventually recedes the dreams could symbolize a washing away of old things, creating a clean sweep that makes way for renewal and new things.

Either way I wanted this stormy painting to carry on the poetic feeling of my other works in this series but with a more dramatic, restless and pensive mood.

The video below gives you an idea of what I'm doing.....

The Golden Fiber Paste is amazing stuff! It is unlike any other acrylic medium I have used and is exactly what I have been looking for to boost the impasto power of my paints.

The other new thing I'm using is the Daniel Smith Arctic Fire Duochrome acrylic paint, which is creating some really amazing light effects in the sky and water. I'm still experimenting with this along with some other pearlescent and interference colors. I've always avoided things I considered gimmicky and I still think that using these kinds of specialty colors can quickly become garish and cheap looking, but  I finally broke down and bought some to see what possibilities they might hold.

This is all part of my yearning to break out of the mold I've created for myself and develop more original and deeply authentic means of expression.

My Current Reading List........

Poetry in Design: The Art of Harry Leith-Ross
Leith-Ross (1886-1973) was a member of the New Hope art community sometimes known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists. Throughout his career he encouraged students not to fear painting from memory and taught them to focus on conveying a mood in their paintings as well as learning to distill their ideas into a single powerful concept.

All of his work, plein air studies, studio oil paintings and watercolors are all worth careful study. It's also fascinating to watch the progression of his work over the course of his lifetime.

The book is well written and engaging. Leith-Ross had an interesting life and had to overcome a number of obstacles to become a successful artist and I found his story inspiring.

How to Paint Successful Seascapes by Roger W. Curtis
I don't do many seascapes (with crashing waves) since we don't have much of that on the CT shoreline. The still waters of the marsh and the "baby" wavers of the sound are more familiar to me in painting, So when I knew that I wanted to paint the stormy sound in the painting above I sought out a little help. I found this book really helpful because it is aimed at a novice marine painter and the explanations are broken down into manageable chunks of information with many good illustrations.



Katherine Thomas said...

Well that would explain my occasional flood dreams, as well as drowning dreams! This is a very dramatic scene for a painting! The splashes of water flying up are wonderful! I can't wait to see it finished!

AutumnLeaves said...

This is coming along beautifully, Jan. Despite the often monstrous chaos of the sea, I find my calm in it. This painting is doing that same thing within me. Just lovely...

Watercolorist said...

Interested to see your seascape since I just did one in watercolors.
Love your seascape.