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Old 07-10-2011, 12:44 PM
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Wave Studies 100

A few people were interested in the 100 challenge I just finished and I'm starting a new one, so thought I'd post it here for some idea of how it can work. I just finished 100 small works where the focus was composition. For this one it will be waves, all kinds, and conditions. The main reason to do these 100 challenges is to speed up the learning of the basics. sort of like getting to know an alphabet, words, and a few phrases, but not up to full sentences.

I will be using primarily oil, and a stray watercolor here and there. For this forum I'll share what I discover mostly about the paint. I'm working alla prima, so unless there is some glazing done afterwards( occassionally) there will be little medium used. What I will try to discover is the best colors, brushes, and techniques to use to portray waves.

I'm after direct methods, not taking a tiny brush to make details, because my big goal is to have movement, and I feel the energy of the stroke, and mixes of the paint from that lends more movement. Any attempt at painting every fleck of foam and detailing the surface freezes things in place, nothing wrong with that, Pickering and other contemporary seascape artists do that, I just have more interest in artists like Frederick Judd Waugh

I live 20 min from a spectacular coast line Sonoma County Northern California. It is very rugged and not easy to paint, I go out 2-3 times a week and work from life en plein air. But most of the studies I will do from various photos I've taken until I get the basics down, then I'll be able to do it from life.

here is #3 I was mainly looking for how to swing my brush to get the water and foam. there is palette knife work in the lower part and fingers in the foam. All the old master sea painters I've studied say fingers are essential. and just read a great blog on Odd Nerdrum demo where it said he used his fingers extensively...I've found then great for foam

8x10 oil on oil primed linen main colors, Dan Smith Pthalo Turquoise, Trans Orange Earth, Old Holland Ultra Blue, WN Cad yell lt, Cad Orange, Flake White Hue, Michael Harding tit white.

I used a synthetic Da Vinci top acryl, for a lot as I can lay down or pick up color with it, and the new sable like brushes from their College line I mentioned in another thread. I find using the right brush is really helpful for getting certain effects so the act of painting creates just what the eye needs to read a passage as water or foam or bouncing light. In this work keeping the white out of the deeper water creates much more translucence. Ie where the water goes thinner and lighter at the top of the wave, I don't use white, I use cad yello and paint thin so the white of the canvas comes into play. White added here just makes it dull and heavy.



One of the hard parts of the wave is getting the sunlit portion to read. There is only white for what is really much brighter, so all the other values in the foam have to set it off, and yet they have to still read lighter than the water. I'm also starting to see warm cool relationships out there that I can use, most contemporary seascapes seem to just blue the shadow foam, but there are other colors and many of them warm, but it's taken me over a year of observation to begin to see them, and beware photo painters, the camera doesn't see them either.
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Last edited by winecountry : 07-10-2011 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:23 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

I like how you handled the waves and water. Well done.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:34 AM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

Thanks Freesail

I'm learning, this is actually one of a series, starting with the wave just building then just cupping over, next it will be fully broken.

I took lots of shots of a wave sequence, the first 10 -12 paintings will be devoted to these sequences so I can really study the anatomy of the wave, carefully putting in more detail that I need really so I know all the ins and outs.
After that I will let go and paint them more freely, picking and choosing what is needed and what can be left just suggested.
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:24 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

here is the last of this wave sequence the next bit happening after the first one I posted. I was most interested in trying to capture the fallen over part where you can see the foam through the water at the top of the wave, I can see this often out painting and was trying to figure out how to show that, this is not quite right but almost.

Also worked on which brushes to use to give the effect I want, have settled mostly on Da Vinci, top acryl and the college line, which acts just like a sable. These are really cheap brushes, but they work better than my expensive bristle and syn. mongoose. The top acryl I like as it picks up paint as well as lays it on, and this is allowing me to lift in some lighter tones where the ripples are. Another sequence coming up. it's sort of agony to get this detailed but it's good discipline, and the knowledge will be there when I need it later if I choose to get this detailed.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:57 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

They are gorgeous! I love your approach and the results you are after, and I am looking forward to your next paintings of waves and hoping I can learn to paint like that.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:12 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

thank you, glad you enjoy them and will appreciate your company here, it's a long way to go

You can paint the sea, the best book to start that covers it all is E John Robinson's Marine Painting in Oil. available on amazon used very reasonable it covers everything you need to know, and is where I started last year.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:36 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

Just wanted to drop by and say I am watching. I dont do landscapes, seascapes or plein air (yet?) but I do enjoy reading about your experiences and thoughts. You are extremely diligent in your endeavours and it obviously pays off. I like these paintings very much indeed and am interested in your comments about letting the white canvas show through and how you are getting translucence and a wet watery feel. Have you looked at the Sorolla thread on this forum? I noticed (because you mentioned it) yellow and warmer colours on some of his waves and water. As I say, I know nothing of this subject but just wanted to say hi. Good luck with this.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:15 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

Hi Tina, glad to have you along on this wet journey and thanks so much for the Sorolla reminder, I love his work, but haven't checked it out for sea or ocean...I'll do that
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:01 AM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

trying to loosen up some, had a series of real bad ones as I tried other surfaces, none of them let me manipulate the paint the way I wanted, This one is on Morilla Canva Tex, not bad for a practice surface, it is canvas, and has a pretty slick finish which I need for what I'm trying out.

Used WN Chrome Green Deep on this very much like Viridian, but stronger.
My goal is to develop brush work that makes the forms and structure of the wave without painting on small details, or using small brushes. That means I need some "happy accidents" and a direct method, that cannot stand a lot of reworking, if it doesn't work I scrape it off and try again. The central portion of this one has a nice movement, that came from the brush and not completely mixed paint.

wave study #10 ...90 to go.


detail
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:10 AM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

I'm sure I am not alone in saying "Thank you!" I no longer live near wave action, so your work is a godsend! I will be following this religiously.

Thanx 4 posting, these really pleaseth our eye, Greg.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:47 AM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

I have a few recent photos close ups of waves and foam and such if you want some refs.. And the term fingers, is actually a very very old japanese thing, in their paintings they called them finger waves..
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:44 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

your comments pleaseth my heart Greg

DVF thanks for the offer, I actually have hundreds of my own and since right now I'm trying to capture what is in my area, to paint the coast where I live, I think I'm ok. Somewhere in the progress of the 100 I plan to try and do many from life, so the photos are just training wheels to get the hang of some techniques.

I'm fascinated by the fingers remark, does that mean actual fingers? Could you explain it more please?
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:16 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

Well if you look at old japanese paintings of water and tattoos you see a distinct finger pattern.. see how the tips in this all kind of reach out. imagine the wave tips like hands with fingers grabbing.. all different but so many interesting patterns.. make your hand like a claw, twist it roll it over, so you can see the forshortening, the depth and shapes.. D
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:24 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

some good fingers..
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:29 PM
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Re: Wave Studies 100

yes now I see, some waves do this, and some don't in my observation. Esp around here it's deep offshore and they simply wall up and crash, I will look in my photos for this type tho, because in some seascapes it might be really nice to design it this way, especially when the bottom line is too straight or boring.

On the other hand I'm not painting realism as much as representational, ie still recognizeable but allows for more abstract painterly brush work that shows and "constructs" the form....so I will have to work on swinging and twisting the brush to create this, not drawing.
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