Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Heron in Tidepool

Heron in Tidepool, 16x20"oil, ©Diane Mannion


Knowing when to stop working on a painting is tough.  Kept going with this tidepool scene, pushing it farther, then setting it aside and looking at it again.  Finally, this morning... after a few more angry brushstrokes... let it go.  Had to get angry enough to let my imagination loose, then added the finishing touches.  It was as if I let the visual overpower the controlling part of my wee brain.  Hmmm... something to think about on my next masterpiece... don't overthink!

This painting evolved from plein air studies and reference photos on a brilliant morning when bright red and green seaweed washed ashore after a storm.  By noon, it had turned dark brown. 

My plein air studies were the most useful for the values and color.  And of course, the series of photos I shot of this young heron wading through the tidepool while I painted were invaluable.  Had to paint that heron in!  It's as if he knew my painting would not work without him. 

Love it when critters walk into my paintings.  Same thing happened while painting the Gumbo Limbo tree, last post... that squirrel demanded to be painted.

And now for something entirely different:  I'm a huge fan of James Gurney!  His work inspired me to pry open my ancient box of gouache tubes.  And I'm a fool for contests, so shamelessly submitted my very first gouache sketch on his site yesterday.  It was a lot of fun, but gosh, my gouache is awful.  Will experiment further with this medium for sketchbook work. 
 Taqueria, 5x5"gouache sketch #1, Diane Mannion
 Auto-painting on location
Limited palette, red, yellow, blue
First ever gouache sketch!  Used red, yellow, blue, and white.  My main medium is oil and although I also use watercolors, found gouache difficult, BUT can see the possibilities.  Mistakes can be worked over.  Spelled Taqueira wrong first time, ack!

Auto-painted in the car to about halfway, then finished later.  Had to “imagine” the customers… too hot to eat outside in Floridian August.

Inspired, thanks to James Gurney, to do more plein air sketching with gouache!  
Visit his great blog here... James Gurney!

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