View Full Version : Mt. Camel Beach, AUS

11-08-2012, 06:43 PM
Oil Pastel
16 x 20: gessoed hardboard

Underpainting completed with soft pastels and an alcohol wash.

Reference image was from WC IRL from our very own Vicki B - the unusual coloring of the sea cliffs caught my eye immediately. I changed some aspects of the photograph (flipped horizontal, shortened the beach, added seagulls in flight and changed the colors of the overall image so it would be lighter in some aspects). There were a few firsts for me - painting seagulls :rolleyes: and painting in rough seas.

Looking forward to your feedback - I had a lot of fun with this painting. Mary


11-08-2012, 09:19 PM
Beautiful! So soft and delicate!

11-09-2012, 08:03 AM
Hi Michelle: Thanks so much for your comments!

11-10-2012, 12:39 PM
This is brilliant I like everything about it the clouds the sea, the wet sand well done

11-10-2012, 02:00 PM
This is brilliant I like everything about it the clouds the sea, the wet sand well done

Thank you so much, I appreciate receiving your comments.

The sky/clouds took the longest time about 5 hours and I don't know if it was because the painting is larger than the size I typically paint.

11-10-2012, 03:05 PM
Mary, another great wave rendition. I like especially the glittery quality of the white foam. Wet sand is good and reflects well the light part of the far off cliff. I don't think I could even pull off such softness with oil pastels.

Having said that, I'm learning too to make my paintings a bit more dramatic. Perhaps a much darker sky on both sides to accentuate the light quality in the middle and it might also link up a bit more on the right cliff. Center of interest is hovering right in the center of the painting. Perhaps you might want to consider showcasing more sky or more sand but not equally.

Cliffs usually look exactly like that, with similar shapes along the coast. It's almost too predictable. I'm writing this more from a photographer's viewpoint than an artist and hope you don't mind my comments. I almost missed the sea gulls.

But then, of course, your style is very different from mine. What I like to showcase is more drama and fantasy and you are more for the realistic landscape. So don't mind me and my running comments.

Pat Isaac
11-10-2012, 03:09 PM
You are doing so well with the water and sand....the lapping waves and water over sand work very well. I do think the gulls are alittle large.


11-10-2012, 03:44 PM
I like it Mary, it is a very restful, peaceful painting. It makes me kind of sleepy to look at it. That's nice tho! :)

11-10-2012, 05:04 PM
Hi Sandra: Thank you for reviewing my work and providing feedback. You're right my paintings lean more from a realistic point, I haven't a clue to know where to begin to paint in a different style - perhaps as time goes on I'll find a more painterly approach. For now it's important that I learn the basics - every painting is a learning experience for me. Great comments about the center of interest it's something that I tend to do, w/o that intention in mind - another learning curve perhaps. I actually cut back some of the sand from the reference image I was working on, maybe I should have took most of the sand out because the sky is what brings the light into the scene. Thanks again ~

Hi Pat: Thanks so much. You know this was the first time I painted in seagulls, and I wish you could have seen how many times I practiced these little darlings. They were intimidating to say the least - anyways I'm still trying to figure out how to measure appropriate size for seagulls as they fly away. Thanks!

Hi Paul: Thank you - I felt the same when I first saw this reference picture. There is nothing like closing one's eyes and hearing the waves coming into the shore - love that feeling. Thanks!

11-10-2012, 11:56 PM
Beautiful color,I like the sky and wave!

11-11-2012, 06:53 AM
esp. love the clouds and the sand

11-11-2012, 11:18 PM
Great job with changing the image. I seldom use photographs but when I do, most won't recognize the same scene as a reference. Great color in the sky, the water and the sandy beach. My only suggestion would be to watch where you place the horizon line (ocean meets the sky). It looks like it right across the middle of the painting. Moving it down to about a third would bring the ocean waves and the gulls into the foreground more.

11-11-2012, 11:57 PM
Well, duh! I went back and looked up your Mt Camel painting and realized it' the beach scene that I had posted to earlier....so I didn't miss it after all. I've been at a three day art show and off WC for a few days and was trying to catch up with threads tonight.

Some theads don't get a lot of feedback, but when they do, it's usually very good. :) carly

11-12-2012, 08:56 AM
Hi Jiemin: thank you for your comments! Appreciate receiving them ~

Hi Mary: Thank you for your feedback - I really enjoyed painting the sky on this painting.

Hi Carly: Thanks for your comments! I agree about the horizon line, it's that area I'm constantly fighting - actually had it just below the half-way point, but not enough. Perhaps moving down to only being 1/3 below the middle, and sticking with the same beach scene the cliffs would end up pushed further out and be less intrusive (which is what I was looking for). Thanks for 2x's the comments :wink2:

11-12-2012, 01:35 PM
Mary,when you frame this, simply crop off some of the lower part. That will move the horizon down.

11-12-2012, 07:10 PM
Hi Mary, the colour combo in this scene is very nice (personally im getting late afternoon light) if I were to critique it I would say that for me currently the focal point is the sunlit distant cliff, this feature is slap bang in the centre which tends to stop my eye from exploring. I think a figure or object of interest on the bottom right beach might offer an alternative focal point to keep the eye flicking front to back.

11-13-2012, 08:44 AM
Hi Steve: Thanks for your feedback, appreciate it.

I understand what you mean about the focal point - I actually painted in several seagulls on the lower-right beach and they were just too laughable :lol: so they were scraped out. That would have created the second focal area, so I guess I was on the right track but couldn't quite get it executed.

Thanks, Mary

11-13-2012, 08:34 PM
I really like how you painted the sand. You captured that and the water in front of it beautifully. What I feel you are missing is an interesting focal point that will pull the viewer in.

Right now, the focal point, the area of most contrast is the cliffs. I would like to see them looking more 3 dimensional. Perhaps more detailed, more varied in color as well.

Another poster mentioned about adding more drama, and said that perhaps it was a question of style. I don't think it necessarily relates to style though; good art, no matter what the style, needs an interesting focal point to succeed. You have the beginnings here; to take it to another level, you need to further develop that focal point to make the viewer aware of why you wanted to paint the scene.

11-14-2012, 08:26 AM
Hi Catchafairy: Thank you for your comments and suggestions.

You are correct the focal point of this painting is the furthest light-colored cliff with the muted sun's rays casting down over the cliffs. That's what interested me when I originally saw the reference image. And to be honest it's the only focal point I wanted for this painting.

The reference image (shown below) illustrates a dark and overcast day and overall the cliffs have very little details. I did what I wanted in terms of painting in details and turning up the temperature in the scene. Perhaps I could have turned up the temperature w/the sun and the back cliff more.

Thanks for your feedback - the painting probably didn't work for most. It was of a more muted, overcast day and that may not be of interest to most. I happen to find those days very intriguing.


11-14-2012, 08:22 PM
I love those overcast days myself...they show a lot more color than during a sundrenched day. I like your closer view of the mountains...for me the painting doesn't need more of a focal point.

11-15-2012, 02:20 AM
Why did you use soft pastel with an alcohol wash as an underpainting?

The reference image almost looks like a digitized photo, was it edited in some way?

What tools / process did you use to paint the waves? It doesn't appear to be just with oil pastel stick.

This one looks nice even though I feel it's a bit sterile, not your fault, I guess I'm just not into cliffs or oceans.

11-15-2012, 04:06 PM
Thanks so much Carly for checking back in and commenting. There was something about Vicki's image that really caught my attention, could have been all the darkness w/one bright cliff.

11-15-2012, 04:34 PM
Hi thevaliantx: Nice to hear from you, thanks for commenting on this painting. I've tried to give you some answers by each question.

Why did you use soft pastel with an alcohol wash as an underpainting? Personally I like a lot of things that soft pastels offer me - from blending the colors, to laying in as much or as little pastel as I want, forming patterns on the surface, to being able to adjust the temperature of the soft pastel colors as I lay them down. I paint alcohol over the soft pastel because it seals in the paint and when it's dry the soft pastel doesn't wipe off when I brush my hands across the underpainting. Also while the alcohol is still wet I can wipe off patterns w/n the soft pastel, wipe the surface clean or use a brush and brush in patterns. After the Alcohol is dry I will put on a final clear gesso layer - so I have sufficient tooth for the oil pastels. For me there are a lot of benefits. I did read that Carly uses gouache as an underpainting because the surface dries muted (like soft pastel) and not shinny like acrylics and that intrigues me - I might experiment down the road with this. Here is my underpainting on this painting (remember this is only soft pastel and alcohol at this point):

The reference image almost looks like a digitized photo, was it edited in some way? The reference image was from wetcanvas image reference library that VickiB took on a beach located by her home in AUS. I actually copied Vicki's image and changed it. See below I've attached Vicki's and then my digitally enhanced image I created from Vicki's. My painting was based on my digitally enhanced image.

What tools / process did you use to paint the waves? It doesn't appear to be just with oil pastel stick. Good question, when I paint water I layer OPs on by using broken-off pieces of oil pastel sticks (I can manage them better) and spread them with: 1 1/2" pieces cut from foam pipe insulation, clay shapers, tortiliums, and my fingers all depends on what look that I am after. I always use the foam insulation first to spread the oil pastel (it grabs the OP very nicely and then I use real light pressure when using the insulation piece or it breaks apart and leaves little bits of insulation on the painting and I have to constantly brush the surface off - I also use only the outside of the insulation it stands up better, using the inside of the insulation against OPs will break the foam insulation apart). For some reason pip insulation helps me spread the OP more easily and seems to move the paint over a wider area, then after about the fourth or fifth layer of paint all of a sudden the paint takes on a real smooth feel under my fingers and that's I'll begin to use the other tools.

This one looks nice even though I feel it's a bit sterile, not your fault, I guess I'm just not into cliffs or oceans. It's okay, I appreciate hearing how you feel after seeing the painting - thank you for providing that feedback. let me know if you have any other questions.

11-15-2012, 10:14 PM
Mary, I should clarify what I meant when I wrote that the painting is sterile. I am not one to intentionally hurt someone's feelings, and thankfully (at least it seems so) your's weren't hurt. What I was trying to say portraying the ocean and the beaches is more about showing its vastness rather than its details. Beaches can be really lonely sometimes. Now that I look at the painting again, I feel that a couple of sailboat off in the distance would give it more life. That's just me, though, perhaps your intention was to keep things clear and the focus on the cliffs. :D

11-16-2012, 12:00 PM
Hi Valian - You didn't hurt my feelings at all, you were merely expressing your opinion and a good one at that.

I added a few seagulls to give the painting some life, as mentioned before I was tried to add a couple in the foreground - they were scraped out, not a good attempt. I thought about adding a couple of people in the far-right foreground beach area, but in the end stayed with just ocean and cliffs.

Doesn't mean I don't have one planned that has a few sailboats in the background, currently I'm working on three landscapes and will get back to ocean scenes afterward.

Again, don't hesitate to provide your thoughts and opinions - they are validated. Thanks so much ~

11-18-2012, 05:26 AM
Hi Mary,

Gosh you have had a lot of feedback here, I hope you don't mind a little bit more.

This place is sacred, it is at the very beginning of the Great Australian Bight a significant and beautiful place. It is sparce and any paintings done here speak just of this. You can walk along the beach at most times of the year and not even see one footprint in the sand. It is an amazing experience to stand in front of the ancient worn cliff face's that run from here all the way to Western Australia. The frontier is wild, and you would not ever expect to see a sail boat in the background. The seas are large and host the Southern Wright Whale migration that come for their breeding season each year. Spectacular.

Having walked in this place I know how difficult it would be for someone to paint considering the experience of just being there. You've given it a good shot Mary! The light in Oz is the key, we do have a vivid palette here which is not easily understood without being here. The camera does not capture this, only the minds eye.


11-19-2012, 08:25 AM
Thanks Vicki for the background of this wonderful scene. It was very interesting.

12-04-2012, 04:35 AM
Beautiful painting Mary. Very serene and peaceful. Colours in the waves are very delicate and give the effect of near silence. Interesting to hear the background of the place - I think you've captured the essence of the place very well.

12-04-2012, 08:02 AM
Thank you so much Helen for your comments on this painting, appreciate it!