March 7, 2018

Edit Down - Waaaaaay Down.

6x8" plein air study, Leadbetter Beach, February 2018

This is a plein air study that I recently did on my trip to SoCal.  As many of you know, I do a yearly painting junket to Santa Barbara, and this piece was painted at the end of the day, and is only 6X8".  It was a busy day at the beach, yoga practioners were doing their thing, as were surfers, dog walkers, sand castle builders, etc.  The view I had started to paint facing the opposite direction was the more obvious painting subject, beautiful sunlit cliffs up against the sea.   I spent most of the morning on the first painting, but this quick study turned out better by far.  Ironically,  I  had not even considered painting this direction when I first arrived on location.

 I did not have a clear idea how to tackle this subject,  so I started with the big decisions- the division of space on my canvas.  Next, I laid in the basic values and colors, which I completed in about 15 to twenty minutes, isolating and checking I had the big relationships down with accuracy.   Lastly, the small shapes, the "grace notes" to add some interest and scale and to direct the eye. I pushed in  a few palm trees that were actually just outside my view, to add a horizontal dark to anchor the composition, and it worked.  I do love to exercise artistic license.  It makes all sorts of things possible.

I love these small studies because they either go very right or very wrong in a big hurry.  The small format forces you to pay attention to only the important elements, there is no getting lost in minutiae.  Oil paint is too thick to make teensy weensy exacting shapes - unless you want to make yourself a little crazy.  Far easier to keep it simple and save yourself the aggravation in my opinion.

Less is always more.

In closing, I have a few things I want to share with you:  I am in the West Fine Art Show coming up this weekend.  Here is the basic info in case you are in the area and want to show up and say hello (I would love to see you!)

Location:  Yorkson Middle School, 20686-84 Ave, Langley
Dates:  March 10 and 11, 10:00 till 5:00

Also, I have  ONLY THREE MORE SPOTS  in my upcoming atelier workshop.  Go to the link below for info on that workshop, or any of the others that are coming up, including my July plein air workshop.

My September tour to Croatia is filling nicely, still room for a few more there.  For info on the trip go here: and also check out the link above.

Happy painting everyone!!!!

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