|Stroll on Leadbetter Beach, oil, 8X10"|
When painting on location, there are often elements all around you that you would like to include, but things don't "line up".
For example, all over the beach there were these lovely water channels, although there were none in my view of these bluffs. They create lovely patterns and reflections - and also introduce an element that can break up an expanse of foreground beach - something this little study was in need of.
DRAW ON EXPERIENCE
I had an understanding of the types of shapes they make, and manner in which they catch reflections, etc., so I placed the water channel strategically to help balance out the composition, and create some linear "lead in".
When I first started painting in the great outdoors, I would find changing elements around a scary thing - it seemed too risky. These days, I have learned how to make it work for me. I must add here, that when outdoors, I have gotten out of the habit of using a viewfinder to find a composition as it limits the options - I am stuck with whatever appears in the magic box. I find it more resourceful to borrow from all of the variety that is on hand.
There were people walking on the beach, and that added not only an element of interest and life, but an opportunity to add some scale to the size of my bluffs. They don't hold still, so you have to watch them and use your visual memory to paint the shapes. In this case (as in most) a simplified attempt worked best.
I'm back in the land of the ice and snow now - although it is beginning to melt. I still have more images I want to share with you from California. I hope they will keep you warm until the weather here in Canada does.