Thursday, October 18, 2012

At The Beach Again - 45

I made a painting for an auction at my daughter's school.  I had a hard time deciding what to paint for them.  Usually for auctions I donate something that is already finished, but for this I wanted to do something new.  At first I thought a dog portrait, but all the dogs I have painted, have  been for good friends.

Chuck Close is a portrait painter that also uses his friends and acquaintances as subjects.  I guess this way he did not have to flatter the sitter in any way.  He painted them stark, exposed and without taking a commission.  This was his effort to throw off the baggage of traditional portrait painting.  Not that I am comparing myself to Chuck Close...  My portraits, after all, are of dogs.   And my subjects are all irrepressibly cute and appealing... no matter what I do. 

"45" Phase One, oil on canvas, 12"x16"
So, I decided to do a painting of what has become one of my favorite scenes, "45th Avenue."  This one is lilliputian, a third the size of the other two.   I used to work this way a lot, where I painted the same subject over and over.  It might sound boring, but I learn a lot this way. 
Phase Two
Phase Three
Fini! I changed the values in the water, and the road.  I amplified the contrast in the foreground objects.  Then I  added some drippy glazing to the sky and cleaned up the 45th sign. 
I thought this painting was all about the light and the color, but I think, as my friend Will said, it is really about a feeling, an emotion.  I love the way the beach makes me feel, at this time of day.  Heading out to see the sunset.  There is a smell, a sound, and the visuals are always moving.  The sky is an indescribable color, a blue, with Naples yellow, black and a load of flake white.  It is so mixed it can change from too yellow, to too blue, to too gray.  Great fun.  Really, it's a lot of fun.  Not kidding.  No wonder I keep painting this scene.

Edited by Makiko Compton

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