In class last week someone requested a seascape scene with rocks. After browsing through my references I thought I’d throw in a lighthouse too as I can almost never resist a lighthouse painting.
This actually brought a lot of the things we’ve been practicing in exercises together. We have the value changes on the lighthouse (white cubes), edges and painting in layers on the rocks and skies. The only new thing is the water which we touched on in one lesson but only briefly.
If this hadn’t been for a lesson I would have pushed it a lot further. Especially the water which needs some more detail to better suggest the white foam and more depths in the blues. But I need this for tomorrow and didn’t want to trash the whole thing so here it is.
Some intermediates :
The drawing. Quite sparse here and only marking out the big shapes.
I was going to start with the sky and work down but the rocks were worrying me so I tackled these first. This wash is meant to hit the lightest values in the rocks and, as most of it will be covered up later it can be quite rough and ready with some slight color and value changes.
A darker color goes in in broad, squarish shapes to suggest the shadow side of the rocks and give them form. Some edges are left hard and others are blended out to reflect the hard and smooth sides of the rocks. The grassy area and the foreground are left with less value changes to keep the focus on the lighthouse and the rocks next to it.
The sky goes in with neat cerulean. I’m careful here to use the blue to define the edges of the lighthouse so it stands out against the sky. It doesn’t need to be too dark here – slight value changes are more effective in suggesting sunlight.
The water was a bit of a gamble. I really could have gone further here – after class tomorrow I may go back and add more detail.
The final stage was to add in the darks on the top of the lighthouse and smooth out some edges in the shadows so things don’t look too pasted on. I also darkened up the shadow side of the lighthouse a little and greyed it off compared to the sky.
There’s still stuff that’s annoying me but this will have to do for today.
Our wonderful local art center
Post Road Art
has a number of exhibitions throughout the year. The next one is seascapes and landscapes so I thought I’d turn my hand to some sea and rocks. Now historically this has been a danger area for me (What isn’t? Horses, buildings, snowy owls – all pose all sorts of problems). But hey! Nothing ventured, nothing gained so off I went.
The drawing was uneventful. just outlining the rock shapes and where they meet the sea. The washes went in fairly well :
Not too light, not too dark and some nice rough edges in the sea to allow for foam.
The next step was crucial. Getting the final darks in on the rocks so they stand out against the top of the cliffs was very important. At the same time I wanted to get enough variation in the rocks to suggest structure. This went pretty quickly and came out well.
Next was the sea. Always tricky. Don’t overdo it as everything gets colored in and you lose the impression of foam. Underdo it and you don’t get enough depth of color to show the form of the water. Again the gods were smiling on me and this went well too!!
The final piece was the foreground. I’d tried to get some thick paint on and drop water in to create texture but that obviously didn’t work. One last try – keep the board a little more vertical, very thick paint with water and even thicker paint dropped in. And it worked! It’s been a good day.
I don’t think this will be my final submission for the exhibition but it’s a good backup if nothing else comes together.
Came home too late to get the old painting sticks out but decided to have a bash at getting the tones right on my Wacom tablet. The drawing experience isn’t much like real paper but for noodling around and practicing it’s pretty awesome.
If you ignore the ‘grass’ I’m pretty happy. I started with a mid-tone wash and then a slightly darker one to start modeling the shapes of the rocks. I then put in a darker tone still for cracks in the rocks and a final very dark tone for the deep cracks. I then realized that I didn’t have the faces of the rocks that were in direct sunlight light enough so went back over with the lightest tone to mark these.
So what did I learn? Well first – I didn’t leave the highlights light enough at the beginning so if this was watercolor I’d be out of luck. Second modeling with fairly close mid tones worked well and saving extreme darks for touches here and there gives a good effect. Thirdly I can afford to go 2 or 3 shades darker in the lightest areas when touching in the cracks on the lightest faces. Finally – the rocks look fairly complicated but were actually built our of only a few shapes.
I diverged from the script on this one. The instructions were to use pen and ink to outline the rocks before starting but I couldn’t be bothered to rummage around for a pen and dived straight in with the washes. Considering some of my previous rock attempts this actually turned out quite well.