Not Yet

TM9179 Not Yet 36×54 oil on panel

When I used to photograph waves, I looked for the significant moment when the wave was collapsing – the moment with all the drama. Now, I know that every moment is filled with drama and significance – the building concentration of energy can be more dynamic than the release, and the backwash, the remains of the prior wave returning to the sea, has a beauty all its own. Ultimately, every moment of every wave is unique, challenging, and worth the effort to understand and paint it. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9179 Not Yet – detail from lower left

TM9179 Not Yet – detail from advancing wave

TM9179 Not Yet – close-up showing use of differing viscosities of paint and use of oil to drag and spatter the underlayer

Technical painting notes: I started the painting with a roll-up (soft rubber roller) of darkly subdued blue greens. While the paint was wet, I used a mixture of oil and mineral spirits to streak and displace some of the thinly applied paint, especially up near the horizon line. I used the same mixture to spatter and blot “spray and bubbles.” To achieve the dragged effect, I used solvent to spatter the wet paint, then a soft brush to drag the dots of solvent, creating elongated drips and gaps. I also used a crumpled piece of plastic wrap to drag some of the solvent pools, again to suggest moving water.


First Morning

TM9170 First Morning 42×48 oil on panel

The space feels sumptuous, as if the horizon could wrap its arms around you and yet stay out of reach. Two waves, crossing paths, have agreed to succumb. The only sound is their collapse, the frailty of ripples and their dissipation……..under a remnant of fog. Keep cool, and enjoy.

TM9170 First Morning – detail with waves rolling in

TM9170 First Morning – close-up of sand, showing use of layered spatter and blotting


Watching Waves with a Friend

I was watching waves after a storm when I met this little friend.

Dune Quartet

Nothing happens in isolation. These small dune studies, done in preparation for larger paintings, may, instead, lead to a whole new color-field direction for my coastal work…..

Late Summer on the Dune

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune 36×44 oil on panel

There’s such a challenge painting dunes – the grasses and vegetation, the shifting sands, the soft and muted colors later in the year. I think it’s all those in-between colors that first drew me in, and the open space. There’s also a quality of emptiness, despite the vibrant life that calls this environment home. The dunes, being un-anchored, also remind me of the transience of life. Things happen and disappear. I think on that. Details below.

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune – detail

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune – detail from right side showing distant sand and vegetation

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune – detail from foreground showing use of spatter, scraping, and roller

Technical painting notes: I used many monoprint techniques on this painting, beginning with a roll-up of umber and sienna oil paints which were manipulatedĀ  to capture the broader shapes and gestures of the scene. Scraping and blotting, spatter, and pressing textures into the wet paint gave me myriad textures to emulate plant growth. When the base layer was dry, I used spatter, brushwork, and more scraping to define areas. Very thin applications of paint (with roller and brush) established the sand. I liked the vague edges of rolling “sand” over “plant”, and decided to keep the lower part of the painting more suggestive, (the dunes are about shift and change). Details were developed in the middle ground, contrasting with the darker band of sea and sky above it.


Just Like That

TM9142 Just Like That 42×48 oil on panel

Wait a minute, and it will change – we say that about the weather around here, but it’s true about many things. This view began as a sunny day, until suddenly a squall pushed its way into a dramatic punch. Then it was gone, Just Like That. The wind, with its waves and white caps, was powerful. I’m thankful I was near shelter when it came in, but oh IĀ  loved it! Details below. Enjoy.

TM9142 Just Like That – detail from foreground

TM9142 Just Like That – detail from right side

Technical painting notes: The sky was painted with soft brushes, laying in the values first. Later, I glazed semi-transparent color over the base layer to modulate the tones and adjust color using a soft, watercolor mop brush.

As I worked on the turbulent water in the foreground, it became too exact and finicky, so I used my soft rubber roller to roll over it (while wet) to see if that would create some chaos appropriate to the whole mood of the piece. It worked. As the foreground became “scumbled” under the roller’s effect, I found I could pull out a few details and it was enough to suggest the feel of the moment without overwhelming detail. It also served to quiet the middle ground under a blue gray tone, suggesting shadow.

TM9142 Just Like That – detail with roller coming in