Sunday, March 3, 2013

What Is It About "Large"???

California Coast 30x24 Oil on canvas
Trying to capture the beauty of the coastal areas of California is a continuing and fulfilling challenge.

I love painting the California Coast, so when my mentor, David Gallup suggested to the class that he wanted us to paint larger, coastal scenes immediately came to my mind.   I don't usually paint "large" paintings, preferring small, plein air work.   There are many reasons for this, among them are:
  • They take longer and should command a higher price, but because of that, they are not as easy to sell.  I do sell some, but not as often as I do with my smaller work.
  • While selling isn't my primary focus, not selling ends up resulting in storage issues which become more difficult because of the size of a "big" painting.
  • They are more difficult to transport back and forth to shows... both local ones where I need to use my car and, should they be juried in to non-local exhibits, costs of shipping are hugely increased.
Anyway... for all of those reasons, I choose to paint smaller work.   However, always wishing to rise to a challenge, I began work on this "larger" painting.  Mind you, compared to David's larger paintings, this one is tiny, but it's big for me.

As you can see, I began by trying to sketch in the scene in three values.   I had decided to use the new I-Pad I "bought for Tyler".  You can see it above my painting on the top of the easel.  I blocked in the values taking particular care with what I thought of as the main point of interest.  Although David usually advocates using raw umber for his value block in because it dries relatively quickly, I opted for burnt sienna because I wanted to linger over this painting and because I like the warm-red like tone and hoped it might show through the paint I would later apply to the water and land areas.

I then began by painting in the lyrical pattern of light as it moved from the horizon line near the top of the painting toward the rock structure - center of interest.  I did lose that in the final painting, but I think the color movement achieves a similar effect.

Because I have been trying hard to work on edge and value -- especially as related to atmospheric perspective, I worked on the sky, the far land and the far water first trying to keep their color but also trying to mute them and create fewer edges in the farground.

As I approached the area I wanted the viewer to enjoy most, I tried to keep the colors more interesting, less muted, and create some edges to draw the eye.

The foreground trees and brush are intended to be there but not draw the eye.   I hope I achieved that.

All in all I am very happy with this large painting, "California Coast".   I plan to enter it in an upcoming show, and am hoping it will be juried in.   Wish me luck.

I'll have two different opening receptions this weekend:
Saturday, March 9, 6-10  CAL Gold Medal Exhibition - Silvana Gallery - Glendale, CA

Sunday, March 10, 3-6  Art For Animals - Gale's Restaurant - Pasadena, CA

I'd love to see you there!

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CrimsonLeaves said...

I have to tell you, Marian, that I really love the look of the piece just in the burnt sienna. It immediately grabs my interest and makes me want to explore and let my eyes travel over the piece. Of course, I am generally a horse of a different color than most people. The end result is pretty to but I just am enthralled by the tonal piece.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Sherry... It IS interesting, isn't it... the tonal quality of a painting is sometimes the most important... I myself, like color, but know that the tonal foundation is what makes or breaks it.

Art with Liz said...

Your work deserves to be on bigger pieces - they are always so dramatic. I've gotten to know a bit of California through your fabulous plein air paintings.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Liz!!! Wow, so great to hear from you!! Well, you learn a bit about California from me and I learn a bit about South Africa from you... sounds like a fair exchange to me.

Hope you are well and that you have a bit more time for painting that you did for a while there.

Dean H. said...

You've achieved fine aerial perspective, Marian! The reds are great to adbvance the foreground!

I am hooked on working small!

Good luck with the show.

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