View Full Version : Gathering on the Sand

12-22-2008, 12:03 AM

Title: Gathering on the Sand
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 18x24
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is one of my off-the-wall (if you know what I mean) paintings. Sometimes when I look at it I think, "No, those aren't rocks, those are jelly beans among one kidney bean, rock candy or whatever.

Does the sand look real? It came in a bag for sandboxes.

12-22-2008, 12:54 AM
I think the rocks are very well done. For some reason, the sand doesn't look like sand, perhaps not granular enough, and the rocks seem not to *bed* down into it. They look more like they are sitting on contact paper, to me. the sand needs more contour or depth, to look like sand, instead of a hard, flat surface. The rocks, however, are gorgeous.

12-22-2008, 01:05 AM
Thanks Owlle I see what you mean. Maybe if I pounce some paint on with a bristle brush, it may give it a texture look.

12-22-2008, 02:06 AM
Beautiful colors, and I enjoy the arc that runs from lower left up and back down to lower right.
A couple things I'm noticing:
Highlight on each rock is in virtually the same spot, regardless of size or shape.
If the shadows on the right sides of the rocks are that small, it seems to suggest a nearly overhead light source, slightly from the left. Your rocks would appear more grounded if the shadows under the front and left sides were evident, with the right side shadow longer. Consider the effect of reflected light from one rock toward another, also: the cast shadows will be affected by this.
Visually, a wonderful image. Nice, very nice.

12-22-2008, 09:08 AM
As soon as I popped the image, I thought, "jelly beans" and it's therefore interesting that you worried that they would look like that instead of the desired rocks. Why?

The forms you've painted are arguably rocks. Albeit smooth river rocks. It's the colors which make them look like jelly beans. So one suggestion is to replicate rock colors more faithfully if that's what you're going for. The sand does look featureless and therefore un-sand like.

Is the photo a little out of focus? That makes is harder to judge. I'm thinking, for example, that the piece works great as a tiny painting but at 18x24, it needs a more compelling visual presentation. But maybe it has that but the photo is not revealing it.

12-22-2008, 12:09 PM

I need to focus more diligently on the light source. For some reason it is a major problem for me. I will try to incorporate your suggestions into the painting. If anyone out there has the program to provide me with a visual just on one rock, it would get me started in the right direction. Thanks in advance.


I agree the likeness to jelly beans because of the colors and shapes of some. Unfortunately, I don't think it is out of focus, it just needs more work. Thanks for your observations.

12-22-2008, 02:52 PM
I think the rocks look great- I've seen these polished rocks sold at pet shops and florists, but not usually on the beach in that wide an array of colors all in one location. I think texturizing the sand would bring more contrast to the smooth polished rocks and also maybe making areas of the sand darker-like wet sand. Pounce and texturize that sand like crazy, and I think it will really make a difference.

12-22-2008, 04:17 PM
I went to a psychic one time and she had a bag filled with small rocks..whe dumped them out and asked me to pick all the stones that 'spoke to me"... this is what they looked like on the table. I see a few that I would pick up.

12-22-2008, 04:50 PM
I could always do a mixed media with real sand.

12-22-2008, 06:00 PM
You can purchase ( why not make your own) a small square cornered tray that comes with a few chosen stones ( why not use your own) with it as well as sand and a small rake. This is all table top size, like 8X10 inches. They are rather soothing to play with and you can get some beautiful natural effects. Just play with the rocks and sand and paint what you see. As a child I used to collect 'pretty' stones and glue the small ones to a board for display. This seems much like that.

12-22-2008, 11:16 PM
Corby, that is basically what I did to accomplish this painting but without the rake. Now my grandchildren like to play "Beach" with it.

01-16-2009, 11:25 AM
I have been stippling in the lower right quadrant of the picture. Am I getting a sand likeness?

01-16-2009, 01:25 PM
Yes. Much better, I think. Perhaps aim for higher value as you keep stippling. Suggest a dry brush technique- no thinner or medium.

01-17-2009, 02:04 AM
Try just a few stones with that sand. Work on the light flow and the edges

01-17-2009, 11:50 PM
They certainly read like rocks to me. Those beautiful mineral rocks one sees at rock and gem shows. I actually have some here. They are wonderful to look at and touch, and some react with my energy which is an amazing experience.

Because your rocks look wet, I would have been more inclined to show ripples in the sand where the water had been, rather than filling all the sand area up with the stippling. I feel it might compete too much with your beautiful rocks. Just my opinion.

EJ has given you some good pointers about your light source, and shadows. Have a look here (http://www.geocities.com/~jlhagan/K9-14/part_two2_shadows.htm) and here (http://painting.about.com/cs/paintingknowhow/a/shadows.htm) and here (http://www.guidetooilpainting.com/shadows.html) for information to help you learn more about light source and shadows. If you do a google typing in Light source shadows in painting, you will find a lot of information to look through. When you set up your reference for painting, use a table lamp to "stage" light source, and resulting shadows. I sometimes use a torch. (very tricky holding torch and camera at same time, I have a torch stand in the planning stage)

I mentioned in another thread in this forum, about waiting for a few replies, before adjusting our pictures. You get 10 artists commenting, you are likely to get 10 different answers. You job, is to sift through those comments and points of view, and take out what you feel is best suited for your interpretation of your picture. You are the artist. I usually like to wait for about 10 comments, before changing anything, so that way I wont be disappointed, when someone else comes along with a better point of view than one previously posted.