Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Raging Surf - Day Nine of the 30/30 Challenge

Raging Surf, 
Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 6"h x 6"w, 2015 #11

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $50)

Day nine of the challenge -- I completed this plein air painting from memory back at my studio. When I am out in nature, facing awe-inspiring landscape, I am usually very excited by what I see, hear, smell... etc., and can hardly control myself from laying my brush frenetically on paper to try to capture the energy I feel from the scene in front of me, especially if it is something as dynamic and powerful as surf crashing onto shoreline rocks. Even though I try to do a small value sketch before drawing out the composition on my watercolor paper, and think about the color combinations I am going to use, most of the times I still rely on my intuition and paint rather "literally" of what's in front of me. In the quietness of the studio, there is often more room to ponder, analyze, design. Away from the source of inspiration -- nature, the distance can be good for the artist to assert his or her own voice instead of being "overwhelmed" by what's actually out there. This is often hard to do when the scene is right in front of you. But in the end, the painting needs to stand as an entity of itself alone and the shape, value, color, edges have to make sense as a whole. It will not be judged as how accurately it is as a copy of the actual scene.

As for this one, I glazed over the water with different near-horizontal shapes to counter-balance the diagonal movement of the surf, and shaped the rocks a bit better, casting darker shadows underneath them to anchor them better onto the sand beach. I added sprayed color to indicate foam, and create a bit more surface texture to add interest. I think it is nearly finished at this point, but may continue to pull it out and look at it from time to time, to evaluate whether bits and pieces need to be put in, taken out or altered here and there. This process is the most time-consuming for any painting, any may hardly get notices at the first glance of the before and after images. However, most of the times the inconspicuous changes could make great differences in terms of tying the whole painting together, making it look more homogeneous. Sometimes I will feel that I prefer one of two very similar images infinitely more than the other, but cannot quite tell the "why" explicitly, I would guess the artist has done the ponder, and the back-and-forth dance with the painting.


Thank you so much for taking time visiting and commenting on my blog! Your feedback and encouragements are things that keep me going with I am feeling down or frustrated... I will try my best to reply to every comment ASAP but sometimes life gets in the way and I am a bit slow in my response. I would like to apologize if that happens...

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