19 January 2017

La Mer

La Mer - in this case, the Mediterranean, looking East from Palavas-les-flots, at sunset.

I wanted to try something very different, and this was it - very soft and subtle changes of color, lots of variation in the sea, but a gentle, fairly flat surface. I made more studies of this than ever - so many that I think I was a little tired of it by the time I got to the canvas! But I learned a lot, and kept track of my tries - what worked and what didn't.

~~~ My summary ~~~
Mediterranean Sea, Palavas-les-Flots
October, 2015

1 - sky: light blue permanent + ultramarine blue (red shade)
2 - sky: base of #1, dry, then yellow + white, sponge then dry brushed
3 - sky: base of #1 as wash, dry, quinacridone magenta (slow dry) + titanium white
3a - horizon line: dry brush #3 base, dry, then #5 wash, and dry cloth scrub
4 - far sea: light blue permanent + titanium white
4a --- boat: touch of #4 + titanium white
5 - near sea:  light blue permanent + prussian blue
6 - waves: #5, #4, #4 thinned w/ water, titanium white dry brushed, #5 + payne's gray
7 - land spit, boat shadow:  payne's gray wash (not burnt umber +)

Much of this doesn't work well
- 2 - at least it's not green
- pink/magenta is too strong
- colors, shades are not subtle, too strong
- sponging on thick paint wasn't subtle

I like (but didn't do for final canvas)
- the thicker paint/blobs for the sea and waves
- a rough mix (palette knife) of multiple hues for streaks
- very light magenta wash over sea (best over waves, not as good over distant sea)

Techniques for final canvas:
- sky stronger at top, wash downward, remove upward, then paper towel dab
--- make sure no streaks! Dabbing helps reduce this; used new brush
--- when almost dry, use barely damp brush to smooth out sky dabs
- wash lemon yellow over faint blue (this did not look green!), dab
- wash magenta over faint blue, dab
- far sea is wash over blue wash, almost all white, touch of lt blue
- paint spit and underwater contours before waves/sea
- hint of land spit
- wash white over sky to brighten one side
- wash blue over sky to soften other side
- far sea doesn't look like sea; add more wave detail than in original
- boat isn't clear enough; add more detail and a wake

With gesso on paper:
--- wash still works, but doesn't soak in as much (careful of drips!)
--- washes need more paint; let dry slightly before dabbing off

To try on a different version:
- posterized version, not subtle, strong stripes; slashes for boat
- wash yellow and pink, then spray w/ water for droplet effect or blot off w/ sponge
- paint sea last; keep thick streaky paint for it
- practice boat, shadow, try #6
- no boat, no spit - or just a hint
- horizon line - needs to be subtle
- other edges - transitions in sky, sea need to be softer - try dabbing
- check on acrylic thinners good for canvas (just use water)

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