Macpherson Was Right!

“Try Another Path!”
oil on canvas, 36″ x 24″
Kevin Macpherson was right. The power of doing little studies outdoors, then using them as reference in the studio is the only way to go.

This is the largest piece to date . . .and I itch to get really big . . . .at 36″ x 24″ I had to reach to get at it (okay, I’m a short guy!) . . .

Those studies I did over the weekend in the wind, and the photos I took set this piece in motion. I used the photos for a few minutes to get a general idea . . .then in the drawings, stretched the height of the big cliff to exaggerate the feeling of altitude.

Then I buried the photos. Yup! Totally hid them so I couldn’t be tempted to get near them. This painting had to come from the heart. I propped up the studies (the three posted paintings from the last few days) . . .looked at what I liked and didn’t like and set some small goals for this studio piece. I let the plein air pieces be my guide then improvised from there.

We can always improve on everything we do, but I think this painting says what I wanted it to say. It is loose in areas, tight in others, the colors are harmonic and there is a sense of space and atmosphere that works. Could it be better? Of course! But considering the few pieces I have done so far to date, I am happy with it.
Now, of only Macpherson would say the same thing!! :-))
(P.S. I wonder what I’ll say a year from now!)

6 thoughts on “Macpherson Was Right!”

  1. Love the composition (great job with the horizon line at the very top, with just a hint of the sky) and feel it has – I want to go down that trail to the ocean, as in NOW.

    Good advice on putting the photos away. Got to remember this, especially for portraits!

  2. Thanks for the compliment. I am pretty quiet about critiquing people unless they ask. Here is my two cents.

    In my opinion, the edges in your shadows in the painting should be softer. Also the edges of the rocks as the go back in space should also be softer. I can’t tell how thick the paint is from this photo. If you paint thick like me and don’t want to blend the edges of the strokes all the time then the value AND TEMPERTURE of the side by side colors needs to be right on in order to fool people eyes into believing they are seeing a smooth transitions when they step back. In saying all this, the edges aren’t the biggest problem in this painting to me. Cover the sky and dark part of the ocean when your fingers. To me they don’t have the same quality. The color also throws off your harmony but without seeing the original I won’t comment on color. The net does a good job at butchering color. My guess is you were having so much fun with the rocks and foliage that you “FILLED” in the background. The craft of applying paint needs to have the same quality across the canvas regardless of its importance compositionally. Other areas might be more important but never should be painted that way. I always tell myself the painting is only as good as its worst brush stroke.

    The good thing is it only stands out because the quality of the rest of the painting is so good.

    Hope this helped.

  3. Ladies and Gents . . .I hope you all read this crit from Elio! I am neither shy nor frightened off by strong, straight crits. How else shall I learn? How else shall I open my thinking and expand my skills?

    If you don’t know his work, I strongly suggest that you get to know it. As I see Elio’s work, he is confident with all aspects of each stroke . . .it certainly appears that way. But, I can guarantee those loose, beautiful brush strokes of color are each carefully considered and thought through before putting them down. He expresses himself with the air of a master . . .as he is. One doesn’t get to this point in painting without spending thousands of hours studying his processes and pushing to reach distant degress of understanding and skill.

    Thank you, Elio, for your frank, straight forward crits. I truly value such words and thoughts . . .and your time.

    This one is being printed and posted in my studio. I have much to think over!!


  4. I like this so much. This reminds me of a place near I think it is, Avila Beach at the central coast, near Pismo. I was there last month and walked down a path just like this to take some photos. Beautiful job…

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