Caught Between Impressions and . . . .

“Ripples and Light”
oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″
Last night after work, I scooted out of the office and went directly to the yacht harbor here. This place probably contains over a thousand boats of all kinds. The working boats are my favorites. The problem with painting in the yacht harbor is the challenge of simplifying. There is such a twisted morass of shapes and lines and different whites that it boggles the mind . . . . . .especially if you are painting it!

I had only an hour and a half to get something down on canvas. We were to be dinner guests someplace, so I couldn’t fudge the time. The fog was rolling in and had half covered the harbor. I set up and went to work. 30 minutes later the fog lifted magically and the light was frying my eyes. I already had a grey sky and backdrop in silouhette . . .when suddenly there were contrasts and colors that weren’t there 20 minutes previous! The pleasures of plein air painting!!
This painting has good spots and not so good spots. I see now that I really need to work on my whites and the light and shadow therein . . . . . .not just on this painting, but any other that has a lot of white. Maybe that is why Ken Auster is so good at what he does. I should spend some time studying his work. . . . . .and making more paintings with a lot of white in them.
In one and one half hours last night I was able to make enough to walk away and make a few adjustments in the studio this morning. I think, however, the next adjustment should be done in the fireplace! In looking at this, I find I am caught between impressionistic brushwork and detail. I need to land at one place or the other.

6 thoughts on “Caught Between Impressions and . . . .”

  1. You’re right, this is a very difficult subject. I can tell you how Ken handles lights: he mixes the shadow colors first, then mixes white and a little yellow to make the side of the object in light. It’s a much simpler approach than many artists, but it does work.

  2. CUZ!! Wow… I love love love the reflections…I need to work on my water…have a few fears when it comes to that.. Anyway..I;ve tried a few harbors…you;re right…simplify the masts, lines, spaces, color…tooo much… Tough gig..but you DUNIT! vERY nICE WORK!
    yER cUZ, Therese Fowler-Bailey

  3. I like this painting a lot! And thanks for the link to Ken Auster. I spent some time at his site, and I like the way he uses such intense colors.


  4. Mike, you’re being too hard on yourself. This is an impressive painting. I think you’ve done a wonderful job of simplifying a complex subject and making a readable “essence” of the scene. And your varied whites work for me!

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