So, one comes to expect poor or lackluster results while one is in the learning mode. ( I have been messing round with oils for four years and am just coming to where I have a sense of what will happen when I put brush to canvas . . .but I have a long, long way to go). I think the goal is to accumulate 10,000 hours of good experience. Meanwhile, I am a blind hog searching for acorns.
Oil on Canvas Panel 12 x 16 inches
Where I live, it can be gray most of the time. In the vicinity of Big Sur (The Pacific Coast south of Monterey, CA) even in summer, it can be foggy, windy and cold . . .especially in August. When the call came from my friend, Scott, to go to lunch and paint afterward near Big Sur, I jumped at the chance. Even though I knew the weather conditions could be, shall we say, unwelcoming, the opportunity to be in extraordinary scenery, painting with someone as enthused about it as I, I could not pass on the chance. So, we decided to leave late in the day, go out to a nice seafood lunch then paint afterward.
We arrived at Garrapata State Park around 2:30 PM. I have never, ever witnessed such perfect conditions on this coastline . . . .and I have lived here since the age of 12! The sun was shining, there was no wind, the waters was as quiet as a lake! Usually, there are waves breaking every 10 to 20 seconds . . .one after the other and the water is rough and roily . . .no a place anyone would opt to swim. This water was as calm and quiet as a mirror.
The scenery there offers a morass of rocks, ice plant, water, dark trees and colors that would make any painter swoon. The problem with that is there is sooo much input that it is overwhelming. Us guys who have painted outdoors for many years understand the necessity to simplify . . . .to cut out all the superfluous and to focus on one idea. We have the experience of having decided to make a painting full of the whole scene for several hours and have it kick us six ways from Sunday. It is better to choose one thing and to make a painting of that one thing and be successful, rather than try to include everything and fail.
Upon our arrival, we immediately noticed the reflections in the water of the big rocks near the shore. I decided immediately to focus on that one thing. Mind you, I was painting in oil. I had never tackled painting sensitive reflections in oil before. What did I know ? I mean to say I knew nothing of how one could go about this . . . .I was Blind!!
As an aside, my eldest daughter (age 45) has taken up painting recently and is experienced frustration in wanting to be successful in all her early attempts. What I have failed to tell her in her introductions is that we never fully know how to paint everything that comes at us painters. We are always fumbling and making blind attempts with little or no experience. After many, many years of experience and painting frequently, one comes to know his or her medium and what it will and won’t do. One gets to know a few tricks here and there that help a painting come to life. But there are A LOT of failures getting to that point.
I am told that even a BLIND HOG can find an acorn once in a while. Yesterday was such a day!