Strong Tides Part Two

Who could get tired of the hypnotizing effect of watching the waves come in? Not me. Below are four more small oils, alliteratively delivered for your enjoyment.

Strong Tides Part One

The small oil on paper paintings are the best way I know to practice improvisational painting. The inspiration can be plein air looking,  or a few photographs taken on a walk. Either way, doing the paintings as quickly as possible, and feeling free to exaggerate, pretend, make mistakes, and try again….allows the imagination to roam while being anchored to reality. While the results look good, it’s the lessons learned from the accidents and the freedom to improvise that I hope will carry over to the larger paintings.

Rough Seas

TM8936 Winter Waves #7 7x7 oil on paper

TM8936 Winter Waves #7 7×7 oil on paper

A last hurrah for winter? Maybe. The dramatic winter waves series is probably coming to an end for this year, at least in its smaller dimensions. The process of working quickly and spontaneously did teach me to trust my instincts more, and to let the paint be paint – thick, thin, runny, fat….love it! Four more paintings below. Enjoy.

Winter Waves (part two)

TM8930 Winter Waves #2 7x7 oil on paper

TM8930 Winter Waves #2 7×7 oil on paper

Continuing my study of winter waves, Winter Wave #2 is larger (7×7) and has that extreme slant of light and shadow so indicative of winter in our northern latitudes. Winter’s brilliant blues and strong whites are cold, but the warm white of the prepared paper ground showing through feels like sunshine. Liking the larger size, I decided to try another, but this time zooming in.

TM8929 Winter Waves #1 7x7 oil on paper

TM8929 Winter Waves #1 7×7 oil on paper

The topsy-turvy angles and ominous heft of the wave are dramatic. I wanted the strong contrast, but within the large areas of contrast I still wanted some luminosity and a hint of detail. Working with both knife and brush, and with lots of medium, I found I could emulate the waves with a flick of the knife. Oh lucky day! Going back into the painting a few days later allowed me to develop subtleties in the dark areas and a tracery of foam near the top of the wave. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM8929 Winter Waves #1 - detail from foreground

TM8929 Winter Waves #1 – detail from foreground

Winter Waves (part one)

TM8931 Winter Waves #3 6x6 oil on paper

TM8931 Winter Waves #3 6×6 oil on paper

TM8932 Winter Waves #4 6x6 oil on paper

TM8932 Winter Waves #4 6×6 oil on paper

Winter waves seem thick, a bit sluggish, but still powerful. Painting them, I chose to emphasize the weight of the water, and its rugged movement. There is a certain abstraction that occurs when the subject is brought closer. And energy – a big thunderous whoooshhhh. I like the vibrations.

Technical painting notes: I mixed Winsor Newton Liquin Impasto medium into the paint to give it body and to make it almost like frosting to spread with a knife. I also decided to utilize the off-white of the ground in contrast to the cooler white of the paint, letting the primed paper act as a color in itself. The “bareness” of the exposed paper makes the thick paint used for the waves seem even heavier.

After the Storms

TM8928 After the Storms 36x54 oil on panel

TM8928 After the Storms 36×54 oil on panel

Rough weather equals great waves – at least for painting. After the Storms is a close-up view of the Atlantic in winter. Not a place you would want to stand and observe for long, but with the help of a zoom lens I watched those waves come in until my toes complained. Stay warm. Details below.

TM8928 After the Storms - detail from foreground

TM8928 After the Storms – detail from foreground

TM8928 After the Storms - detail from center with ribbons of foam

TM8928 After the Storms – detail from center with ribbons of foam

TM8928 After the Storms - detail from lower right with water cascading over granite ledge

TM8928 After the Storms – detail from lower right with water cascading over granite ledge

TM8928 After the Storms - detail from crashing wave

TM8928 After the Storms – detail from crashing wave

Listen Again

TM8922 Listen Again 36x36 oil on panel

TM8922 Listen Again 36×36 oil on panel

Life can be a cacophony, and there are times when we all need a break. My solution is to bury myself in the studio, put a Yo Yo Ma compact disk in the player, and dive into some waves. The glories of Bach, Ma’s expressive cello, and my imagined sea will usually see me through. Something about the back and forth rhythm of painting waves, the way of the body aligns its movements to the music and the subject, the need to concentrate on precise linear patterns….it soothes the spirit and nourishes the soul. Maybe that explains the title. I painted my first Listen painting not long ago. This painting is titled Listen Again. I suspect there will be another……Enjoy.