I spent roughly 20 hours on the dune next to this tree and I was only trying to capture it’s image but when I got home I kept thinking about the tree, like the tree was communicating with me by mental telepathy or something! nah, I’m kidding. This is what the tree would like to say.
The sand doesn’t have enough nutrients. The wind is trying to blow me down all the time. Someone called me scraggly and now I have a low self esteem. I won’t live as long as other pine trees or ever get tall.
And still, the scraggy little tree lifts it’s dead bleached arms to the sky like a person who suffered but doesn’t give up hope.
There’s something going on in the shadows and places where you can see the dune grass through spaces between branches. It’s heavily textured.
You can’t go down the dune through the grass filled with burrs and give the tree a hug. The tree is prickly too, not to mention that’s a steep drop off and you have to climb back out.
You want to remind the tree that it is on prime real estate with a better view than most pine trees have and its head is above dune level.
Plus, the tree has a lot of grace, like people who have lived through some bad stuff. Then when something else bad happens, those people don’t freak out in the next dangerous situation. Like the tree, they remember a worse storm. And people or trees that had it easy fall apart under stress.
This is how far I got on it after 4 mornings of going out on the dune to paint and staying for 2 or 3 hours each time. It was sunny and not hot so, very enjoyable out there. My Gluteus Maximus had a workout 4 mornings in a row hauling my art supplies up the dune on the deep soft sandy path. The beach cart makes it possible but not easy. And I have a dark tan, which is really only a darker shade of red because I don’t tan well. It doesn’t feel sunburned. They’re calling for cloudy and rainy days all week. bummer, because I’m almost finished with the painting. I could finish it this week if the sun comes out. I hope they change the weather forecast. I guess there are plenty of things for me to do at home that I neglected lately because this painting took a lot of energy last week.
The tree is still only roughed in. I had to work on the background first. I considered finishing it at home but most of the time when I work on a painting at home, when I get back to the scene I don’t like what I painted at home.
It was real nice out on the dune this morning and yesterday. I’m excited that I got this far with the painting. Maybe tomorrow and Sun. I can make more progress.
I have two coats of paint on the sky and I’m going to call the sky finished. Before I paint the tree I need to work on the opposite shore, the sand, the water and the grass again and let it all dry a little so that when I paint the bare branches over the sky and water they don’t smear.
I changed my mind about adding a kite surfer into the picture. This painting is all about the tree. I’ll try painting a kite surfer another time.
The branches and sticks will be the last to paint along with the pine needles.
I often hear people say, “Don’t overthink it.” when someone is mentally stuck on any certain subject. I never studied psyche so I can only tell my own experience. I’m an over thinker and I feel fine.
If you have a busy life you might feel like you have to decide anything right then so overthinking seems bad but if you retire you have time to reflect on everything and you can figure out a lot of your own life’s problems and the problems of others. Then you can learn from it and accept it. That’s when you get some peace in your mind. You have to go over it again and again in your head. until it goes away.
The same goes for small problems. Take your time deciding, make the better decision. Don’t let anyone rush you.
This kind of life I’m living would drive you crazy if you were an extrovert. I’m neither an introvert or an extrovert so it took a long time to get used to. Now I kind of like it. I’m free. And because my life is so simple I have endless inspiration and something else money can’t buy, intuition. It’s not ESP, it comes from trying to figure out whatthehell happened and seeing trends. Do you know what I mean? A person that never contemplates never gets intuition.
This is a problem that recently came to my attention.
There are a lot of people out there who are not a part of society in general. They don’t have close ties to friends and family to run ideas by and help them decide what’s real and what’s fake on the internet. They also have more time on their hands to look up a topic and follow it online.
When someone like that does a search on a subject like, is the world flat? they find cool pictures of a flat Earth. They keep looking at flat Earth pix, because it’s more fun than looking at a real photo of the Earth from space. Then the algorithm thinks they want to see more fake news topics and they get led to more and more things like conspiracy theories, fake news, etc. That person might not realize it but they are being fed nonsense by the computer. It is becoming a danger to society. People are becoming more radicalized because of this.
One of these days I’ll say, “Yes! I nailed it!” This is not the day but I don’t hate this attempt. Each try is getting me one step closer to my wave masterpiece which will happen some time before I die.
In the background you can see condos at Sandbridge about 2 miles up the beach and some waves far away. You can’t go past those pilings. That’s a restricted area for wildlife.
The pilings and shadows make arrows pointing down to the water. This close up shows where I’m trying to give the illusion of a thin layer of water on top of wet sand. It soaks in fast and some runs back out. That’s the sweet spot where you can see reflections of sky or maybe shore birds if they’re there.
This is a little rough because I wanted to do dry brush and try to make the painting fuzzy. I didn’t use any Terpenoid or medium.
You can see my brush strokes but I didn’t achieve the ultimate fuzzy effect that I’d like to get. I’m talking fuzzy like William Turner.
There are so many scenes that I have in mind to paint, I can’t just do waves, I’ll do other subjects and go back to waves at different times. No rush.
I got this far with it a few days ago when it rained. Now it’s raining again. After propping it against the wall where I can look at it once in a while, I’m not sure about it. I was working from my sketch and trying to mix colors from memory. Now I want to redo it and forget about trying to make it lifelike. I’m considering using more colors or if I should keep it limited like this is. I’d like to try a painting technique that I never use, dry brush. I want to make it fuzzy if I can. Fuzzy is in style. hahahah Stay tuned. I’ll show it to you even if it’s a disaster.
This much is painted with my brushes taped to yard sticks, ala Matisse, and I might continue with that. It’s a little hard to get started on a project if you don’t know what you’re doing. I know a lot of artists work from the subconscious or somehow spontaneous, I like to have a plan.
It was a little scary to paint the flowers with my brushes taped to yard sticks. I couldn’t decide, should I put a coat of Maroger medium on it first in case the brushes bobbing around on the end of yard sticks made a really bad blip? Because with the medium on the dry painting first I could easily wipe off a mistake. Then I thought Matisse probably didn’t use Maroger medium and if I want to try to paint like him I should skip it.
After I got going it wasn’t as bad as I thought but my brushes did go all off in places.
I never saw a painting by Matisse that I didn’t like. If I could copy his style that would be a real accomplishment to me. But I can’t just copy one of his paintings because mine would look like a bad imitation. I have to wing it a little because this isn’t something they taught at the academy. And also, every artist is different, so you’re supposed to do your own thing. I did try to find his style. I’ll keep working on it. Too bad he’s dead. I can’t shoot him an email and ask.
This close up shows a brush stroke gone wild in the red on the flower and in the blue that went over the stem.
Oops, the blue cut right through that stem. Should I fix that? I’d like to fix it but something tells me not to.
I don’t know. I guess this is the best I can do for modern art at this point in time. I made it as bright as I could. I’m pretty sure Matisse mixed his colors instead of using them straight out of the tube.
I meant to tint my canvas paper gray but it came out black. That will be ok. It might make my begonia look like a drama queen.
I think I’ll do the background blue because the petals are orange so that will be the complimentary color for some contrast. It might make the petals show up brighter. I’ll wait a day or so and put the orange on top of the white and gray. The white and gray in the petals is the underpainting. I need to underpaint the orange with white because the orange won’t show up on the black background because it’s a more transparent color.
For this painting I’m stealing from 2 great artists, Matisse and Picasso. At YAA they told us, “Only steal the good stuff.”
From Matisse I’m stealing the idea of taping my brushes to yard sticks and standing way back from the painting. It’s fun but slightly out of control, which doesn’t make it easier. And from Picasso I’m stealing cubism. I wanted to fill up the paper with a lot of flowers and I have this little plant, so I drew it from all different sides and at first I had it up on boxes for added height, then I lowered it to table level. So that gives me different angles too.
I’m going so modern I didn’t sketch it with charcoal first and didn’t plan the arrangement. I just started painting flowers and filled in the whole paper. Painting them a little larger than life makes it easier.
So, I still have to do the background at least once, maybe twice, put the orange on the flowers and decide if I want to go over the leaves again. I’ll see how they look on the blue.
Doesn’t matter how long this takes, it’s too hot and humid for me outside in plein air. And we have rain coming in.