View Full Version : Beach Ladies

Dana Design
12-09-2003, 04:55 PM

Title: Beach Ladies
Year Created: 2003
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 14x18
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Must be I'm wishing for summer. Another beach painting.

What do you think...any help?

12-09-2003, 07:07 PM
Greetings Dana,

Firstly,...I love your "quote".!!! My favorite here on WC so far;..although there are some very fine ones to choose from.

A Gary Larsen fan;...I like you already..:)

Now,..onto your painting.

The good part,..(IMHO);...is that you can draw. Naturally,..that's the foundation that you can build on to learn, improve,..and grow, artistically.

A question: Have you heard anyone discussing 'edges' in regard to painting? If not,...you may find that this is an area worth exploring.
It may prove to be a very valuable part of your education as a painter. ( I mention this with all sincere intention).

Another subject that may be worth your while to look into is the variety of color that may be found in shadows.
They can be very beautiful and very effective in your paintings.

I think that you are off to a very good start.
A suggestion might be for you to study carefully these two areas;..whether it be in books,..from other artists;..and wherever you may find information on shadows and edges,.....in painting.

Best Wishes, and enjoy your journey.....:) -Scott

12-09-2003, 08:35 PM
compositionally might have fit a square, but with the extra height I am inclined to make the background blues all the lighter blue, i.e. not separate sky and water.
this would let the one blue penetrate down to the figures and the sand better ballancing the top part which now seems extra.

I like the art nouveau shapes

Dana Design
12-09-2003, 08:36 PM
Hi, Scott,! Thanks much for commenting. I respect your opinion and what you have to say. I've read the Schmid book and particularly zeroed in on his Edges section. I understand what he's saying and what you are saying but I just don't know WHERE to soften and blur those edges. (I have since softened the older gal's nose and chin after seeing it here.)

When I really looked at this painting on W/C, I choked. ARgh. Did I do that? Yep, it's in my house, right there! That's when I softened her features. However! I need to make this a pleasant painting to look at. Weird? I'm not feeling it's pleasant. And it's stopped speaking to me. Hello~??

I've posted this work because I do indeed need help with this. The paint is still wet and I want to "fix" this. I'll definitely go back in and add color to the shadows. After that? I don't know. I could use a good treatise on Edges and, other than that they are necessary, where to soften them and why.
Thanks, again, Scott,
I understand Larson only too well. Scary.

Diane Cutter
12-09-2003, 08:58 PM
This painting is most interesting and has a lot of potential. It kept reminding me of another painter. Check out the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla. He did a lot of women and children on the beach.

He created a lot of white-clad figures with absolutely luscious yellow and purple and turquoise colors for shadows on their clothing and on the sand.

Although you have gotten a lot of valuable comments, I think before you start changing anything first look at some of your favorite painters and study how they treated people in bright sun at the seashore. We artists are very visual and a lot can be learned by researching the masters.


12-09-2003, 09:14 PM
I think you have excelent advise all the way around here...
so there is nothing to add on those points

I just wanted to say that I like what you have
as a very good starting point...
keep with it
ther's gold in them thar hills...

Dana Design
12-09-2003, 09:24 PM
Jerry, thanks again. You're advice and helpful comments are most appreciated. Making the background all the same blue would perhaps put them into the stratosphere? I'm going to play with it in Photoshop. Interesting take. Thanks.

Diane, I've been looking at the Sorolla paintings. Oh, if only! I've put his big book on my wish list for Christmas. His shadows on the beach are dark blue!!! So very interesting!

giniaad, First I have to find the hills. LOL!!! Thanks much!


12-10-2003, 12:15 AM
Hi Again,.Dana.:)

Your questions ring so truthfully and with such familiarity to me.

I've been a full-time artist for more years than I would like to admit...........; but primarily painting in watercolors. THOUSANDS of watercolor paintings.
I had made a very nice living selling them,..and have taught watercolor painting for many, many years.....to people from all over the world.
About three years ago;...my galleries were all telling me people were very quickly tiring of work done in watercolor,...and that they wanted OIL PAINTINGS!

So,..; I taught myself to paint in oils.
I studied Ramon Kelly's work, Richard Schmid, Dan Gerhartz, Scotty Burdick, Ron Hicks, Ted Goershner, .........and many other contemporaries.
Then on to the masters........; Degas, Monet, Waterhouse;..Sorolla;............................................the list is endless.

A couple of suggestions........

1) Diane's advice was sound. Take a look at Joaquin Sorolla's figurative beach scenes. And, in addition,..all of his other work that you can find..;) Study as carefully and patiently as you can the colors, techniques,..and masterful way that he used to portray LIGHT (and conversly, shadow) falling on,..and illuminating his figures. Soak in the beautiful, glowing fabrics;..the blouses, skirts,..sailcloth, etc.
Then try to incorporate some of these colors and effects,...a-little-bit-at-a-time,.........into your own work.
You might want to look at Dan McCaw's work,...as well. He is a contemporary master of color, light, and shadow.............:)

2) The "Concept" of edges ;..when over-intellectualized,..is confusing.
I've found that in actual practice, however;...not as difficult. ;Thank God.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about WHAT should be hard-edged;..and what should be soft, blurred, or "lost".
Generally speaking;..it's a good idea to decide what your focal point will be BEFORE you begin a painting.(Unless you paint VERY expressively;..or lean toward the abstract)
The focal point or "center-of-interest" usually will have the hardest edges,............as well as strongest value contrast.
These are VERY general suggestions;..but perhaps........a good starting point.
Softer,.....or "lost" edges are often effective in other areas of your painting where you don't necessarilly want the viewer's eye to linger for too long a time. They create more "mysterious" areas within a painting.
Again,...generally speaking;..you may want to blur and lose edges nearer the outer borders of the painting;...continually leading the eye back INTO your painting with the harder ;...more well-defined edges. Make any sense at all?

Perhaps when studying other artist's work,.........you may recognize some of these ideas.

I hope that I've helped just a very little bit,.......rather than confuse....:rolleyes: ;) :)

Have Fun,..-Scott

12-10-2003, 07:48 AM
good advice re the edges.

One way to "soften" an edge visually, is to reduce the contrast between one shape and another. So, look at these squares:
you can see the edge between the black and the blue very clearly because the black is SO much darker than the blue.

But the edge between the blue and the green is much "softer", because the blue and the green are so close in tone.


Now to relate this to your pic.

Have a look at the right-hand edge of the woman's dress, where the bright white meets the blue ocean. The contrast is VERY strong there, so that edge comes forward, and is very sharp.

In fact the sun is from the left hand side, so her right side would actually be rather more in shadow. Some lovely blue shadow on that white dress, under her arm and down her side, would reduce the contrast between her dress and the blue sea, and would "knit" the figure, at the point, rather more into the scene, with a softer contrast.

In general, you know you need to look at the shadows on the dresses, you have the opportunity here to use the "warm light, cool shadow" idea, and make the sunlit parts of the dresses warm and bright , with a touch of cream in there, and the shadows cool and blue-ish - delicious!

Also, read what I said about the shadows on sand, in your other post. I know some artists, me included, often uses blues in the shadows on the sand, ... but be careful here, the blues in the sand need to be VERY carefully added, ideally from understanding and observation, otherwise it can look like a blue hole in the sand! Might be best to use the "glazing over the sand colour" idea for now, until you actually go and look at a beach, rather than at a photo, which is always going to be particularly unhelpful with regard to shadow colours.



Dana Design
12-11-2003, 03:36 PM
Well, was busy yesterday! Got a T-square and a traingle for starters. Then printed out the advice you've all given me and sat down to paint. I also checked out the artists you've suggested, Diane, and was blown away by the beauty. Especially Sorolla! I really, really want a book of this paintings for Xmas.

I learned an enormous amount from what all of you had to tell me, Scott, Diane, giniaad and Jerry. I looked for soft edges and tried to incorporate them into the painting and redid the shadows. I hope that I put all of this information to good use! I think I got at the very least, a year's worth of lessons here. This is the BEST place to be! Thank you all so much. Here's the update and please let me know if there's anything, once again, that I can to do improve this!
Thanks again!

Diane Cutter
12-11-2003, 06:40 PM
Such an improvement! Wow! Those shadows under the girls really looks lovely, such an inviting contrast with the first attempt. And the dress shadows are looking lovely. Actually the color changes gives the painting a much softer mood.

I'm glad all our critiques were of value. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have so much coming from all directions.

I'm glad you like Sorolla. I don't paint like him at all, but I love to look at him. If you ever take a trip to Spain, the Museo Sorolla is an absolute must. It's in Madrid in his home and full of his luscious paintings.


12-11-2003, 11:16 PM
Nice composition! Great to see you taking the advice here and moving forward at a speedy pace!

Dana Design
12-12-2003, 12:26 AM
Thanks again, everybody. I still need to add a bit of work to this and glaze the shadows but I wouldn't have gotten this far without all of the help from the good people in this thread!

Thanks, everyone!