Norfolk Port Authority / oil / feat oysters


Does this look convincing to you? I can’t tell. I’ve looked at it too long, and I had a devil of a time trying to figure out how to paint this.  I was never there when it looked like this. I winged it on the sky, by observing bright sunsets from my balcony and mixing colors. I went over my sky again and again until I thought it was ok. Then I had no idea how to paint the water. I can’t even remember how many layers of paint I totally wiped off because later I thought,” meh. that’s not good.” I sometimes waited for my paint to dry and started over. In all, I figure this took me about 2 months to paint, so considering how much paint and time is in it, if it doesn’t look good, it’s an epic failure. (no halfass failures for me)  But if it worked out, I finally did 2 things I’ve wanted to do for years, a panoramic view and a bright winter sky.

This painting is going to the window of Jerry’s Artarama when it dries. I love Jerry’s for giving the free space to me and other artists, and not taking a commission if there’s a sale. Thanks for supporting artists, Jerry.IMG_1976

When I mixed my colors I sat on this bulkhead at the Hermitage, where you can see this beautiful view of the Port Authority. All along it are tons of oysters. My daughter, Sarah told me the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives baby oysters to people who live next to the water. They come on a clump in a mesh bag. You drop it in the water and they grow up. They are natures little water filters. Sarah doubted they would be good to eat, but she told me the water is much less polluted than it was 20 years ago, so maybe. But, I’ll buy my oysters at the store, because they look real sharp. If I wanted to climb down there and get some, it wouldn’t be easy, and probably verboten anyway.

23 thoughts on “Norfolk Port Authority / oil / feat oysters”

  1. Wow. I think it looks really cool! You have to consider the source here, but seriously! I could tell what it was immediately…..and for whatever it’s worth, I’ve painted water in various ways numerous times and it always takes me a gazillion layers. Water is so very alive….even still bodies. But, yes!!! It surprised me to read that You were wondering if it’s a failure! NO!!! And I totally get how that feels being at the point where You just can’t look at a painting anymore…can’t see it! I’ve walked away for months sometimes until I am able to re-enter. Crazy process, huh? Crazy fun!!! And my boyfriend and I live around lots of creeks and rivers. I’ve seen those little bag Your daughter was talking about. Really cool. Cheers!!! Well done and congrats for such a wonderful spot to hang Your beautiful painting!!! 🤗😀

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  2. A trick I learned long ago is to use a mirror and see what differences I can spot between my art and what I’m using as a reference. It really helps!

    As for the oysters, I’d check with local water authorities for both the safety of them for eating, and also whether it’s legal to harvest them.

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    1. We learned the mirror trick in art school too. Thanks for reminding me, but I had no reference to look at since I made it up, except the land with the rigging and ships, that I drew in plein air.
      I’m not going to harvest the oysters. they’re on private property.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting!


      1. Ah, gotcha — I totally understand now. I like your painting; it’s certainly better than any seascape I can paint at present.

        Where did you go to art school? I went to VCU myself.

        Here in Maryland, the MD DNR is very sensitive about oysters and their penalties — at least for some guys — has been quite severe. I don’t know about the laws for Virginia oysters, but they may be similar.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. oh, penalties, I hadn’t heard. I can see why.
        Thanks about the painting. I’m excited since I moved to the beach from Richmond. Now I can practice painting water. It’s not easy for me.
        I went to art school at York Academy of Art in York PA. It’s no longer there. It was a small school. They pushed the students into following the ways of the old masters. I didn’t want to do that back then, but now I’m trying to.
        How was it at VCU? I never took classes there.


      3. Water is deceptively difficult to paint… practice makes perfect!

        VCU has the best art program of any public school on the east coast; there are a few better schools, but they are all private. I went through the communication art curriculum they had, and felt it was both a good value and a worthwhile experience. We had some instructors that taught the classics, but it was all oriented to whatever path was best for you. They have at least 15 different undergrad art degrees now, and I don’t know how many post-graduate. Their art school is what got VCU started back in the 1960’s.

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  3. It looks very beautiful! It actually reminds me of my home city port in Greece! I also what i love is that you describe the process of getting finally to this painting. People usually see the finished piece and think “good” or “not good” but they usually forget how much effort you have put in it regardless the outcome. This is what i am aiming to dowith my blog too for my following paintings…go through the whole process instead of just presenting the final artwork.

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  4. I understand what you mean by deciding when a painting is finished or needs further “editing”. This is a nice creative ending. My earlier years (1960’s) living in Norfolk and just two blocks from the Chesapeake Bay brings back memories of swimming among moonfish (small fistsized jelly blobs) and crabbing. Love your artwork, Chris!

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  5. If u had really painted that I’d say it is the greatest masterpiece I’ve ever seen. Just look at it, so natural. At fist glance I thought you photographed it and then when I read further on, only then did I discover that you PAINTED it. Really how’d you paint the water. If I ever want to learn painting I’d directly come to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Maybe it will be easier next time. I kind of had to fake it, but being there helped me get the waves. I could teach if I knew what I was doing. And thanks for visiting and commenting!


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