Watching Waves with a Friend

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


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 I  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




Beach Patterns

TM9137 Beach Patterns 30×30 oil on panel

Back and forth, up and down, sideways, everything is moving at the beach, and that is the challenge of painting it. With Beach Patterns, the crisscrossing waves caught my attention first, but the shallows and sand bars took over.  There are no straight paths, no clear directions, only the endless shifting, and that incredible white foamy lace. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9137 Beach Patterns – detail

TM9137 Beach Patterns – detail of foam achieved with brush and soft rubber roller




Wet Morning

TM9136 Wet Morning 30×30 oil on panel

I’ve been using some 30×30″ panels to try out new techniques for my waves, and Wet Morning is definitely an experiment that surprised me. The wave is visible, along with a sand bar and frothy water caught behind it, but it’s the in-and-out-of focus aspect that sets this painting apart. Using the roller, I was able to soften edges and redistribute paint in such a way as to capture some of the sense of looking through wet eyeglasses. There’s a certain poetry to leaving some things unsaid. Except for a few adjustments when the layers were dry, I thought it best to let it be. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9138 Wet Morning – detail from foreground showing rolled and manipulated spatters to suggest salt water foam


TM9136 Incoming 30×30 oil on panel

I’ve painted a few waves, but I’m still learning. Incoming is all about the edge of the cresting wave, just before it begins to collapse. There’s transparency and a feeling of indecision – as though the wave weren’t sure when it should break, either. I want that in between moment. I think hesitation is universal. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9136 Incoming – detail from cresting wave

TM9136 Incoming – detail from upper right showing turning edge of wave with brushwork and spatter

Clearing Up

TM9140 Clearing Up 42×60 oil on panel

Big waves deserve bigger panels, so this is my first 42×60 oil painting on panel. The painting is based on waves I observed in Gloucester, Massachusetts after a particularly violent storm. The huge rollers were piling up on the beach, each one more impressive than the last. The colors were every shade of gray, with blue and green sliding in as the clouds cleared away.I experimented with the foam on the beach, playing with the roller over spatters and brushed paint. While the waves may have been violent, painting them was not – I  enjoyed becoming part of them. Details below.

TM9140 Clearing Up – detail from top edge of wave

TM9140 Clearing Up – detail from crashing wave

TM9140 Clearing Up – detail from foreground