No Surrender!

“Containing the Dunes”
oil on canvas panel, 8″ x 10″

Today I wrestled. As in physical struggle with another being, larger than I. The other being was this little 8″ x 10″ canvas and my attempt to show aerial perspective at work along a hazy beach. He won. Yup! Beat me fair and square. Not just in ten rounds either. I put up a galiant fight (I think I did) which took much of yesterday and a good part of today. I am sure he will be back to take me on again and again. But I am not giving up! No surrender here!

This was a particularly difficult subject because the aerial perspective on the beach was throwing off the feeling of closeness of the foreground sand pit. Back and forth, scraping and brushing and wiping and trying I went. All said and done, I blended too much and spoiled the effect I once had with strokes.

Richard Schmidt has been ringing in my ears, of late, while I paint. Edges! Transitions! Values! Today his lesson (from the book) was this: Given two shapes, one large and one small, same color and value . . . .in the distance, the smaller one will appear to be lighter than the large one and have softer edges . . . .all due to the effects of the atmosphere and light. (This is a simplification) . . . .I can see why now.

This entire painting was about those lessons of aerial perspective and edge management. Slowly, I am beginning to make my strokes more deliberately and less often. When I do that, I find the painting to be much more fresh and the colors crisper. (Another lesson to be applied in future paintings . . . .!! Gotta put a sign on the wall!)

Anyway, the work we do alone or together always pays off in solid lessons learned and practiced. From that perspective, it was a very successful day.

10 thoughts on “No Surrender!”

  1. You sure do get a lot done Mike. Good example for all. You are only as good as the amount of canvas behind you. I like how you approach each piece with a challenge to yourself.
    I think the aerial perspective looks fine.

  2. the dunes painting is extraordinary! It’s amazing how real it reads with the distance really grayed and softened then the stuff close up really sharp. Even the water splashing on the rocks to the left is in focus. You’re doing so well in oils.

  3. Hi Frank! If anyone should take a bow, it is you! I would be proud to be as accomplished as you. . . . and that is why I challenge myself. No fun if there isn’t some purpose . . . right?

  4. Oh my gosh. Mike, if this painting won, you should let more of them win. I think there’s something sublime about it. Yes, yes, that’s the word. I understand what you’re saying about the blending, but it works really well against the hard-edged rocks. Yowzah!

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