Ebb Tide, 24x30, acrylic on linen, Jan Blencowe copyright 2011
A gazillion hours later and this one is finally done. After many, many changes this finally has the panoramic feel that I was pursuing from the beginning. It also has the tight, cool, color and value harmonies I was after. Although initially I thought this would be a monochrome painting I eventually decided to add color on top of the more monochrome layer beneath the final version. Getting the perspective right was also an issue throughout this whole piece. I ditched the houses as I felt they brought too much of a narrative component to it and competed with the sense of wilderness and solitude that I was after. Once the big issues, perspective and color, were resolved I was able to tackle with delight the challenge of creating the thin sheets of receding water the occur at low tide and I had fun creating the myriad of rocks, pebbles, sea life and general muck that is exposed during an ebb tide. This part was very time consuming but really, really fun to paint. The challenge was of course to bring believable detail to the foreground area without it becoming fractured and too busy. The addition of rich detail and painted texture in the foreground allowed me to beef up the clouds in the sky with some moderate impasto, which is lost in the photo but very visually satisfying in real life. At the very end putting in the sea life was the best part! Though you can not see them in the photo there are three small red rock crabs scuttling among the exposed rocks and seaweed and a starfish clinging to a rock. These are small discoveries that reward the viewer who takes the time to really wander through the painting.
I looked along the San Juan Islands and the coast of
California, but I couldn't find the palette of green, granite, and dark
blue that you can only find in Maine.~ Parker Stevenson