Plein Air in Fresh Air

April 16, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting of the four trees in front of Nick's Restaurant at Basin Bayou, Florida - www.joanvienot.com
Oil painting of the old fishing boat, Pompano, at Nick's Restaurant - www.joanienot.com

After a month of high pollen alerts, torrential rains have cleaned the air and a very chilly air mass ushered in an ideal day for plein air painting, with stark shadows and bright colors.  I met up with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters at Nick’s Restaurant in Basin Bayou, which is on the north side of the Choctawhatchee Bay, halfway between Freeport and Niceville, in Northwest Florida.  Shortly after we arrived, the neighbor released his penful of exotic chickens, and they provided distraction and amusement while we painted, the young roosters strutting around, trying their first crowing in cracking, adolescent voices.

I remembered what I had learned in Morgan Samuel Price’s workshop  2 weeks ago.  I worked with the intention of creating the illusion of space, with horizontal surfaces catching much more light and vertical surfaces much less, using values to lead the eye through the painting.

For my first painting, I was interested by the four trees along the shoreline, so I opted not to include the boat, “Pompano”, which stood on dry-land props between two of the trees.  My interest was that one of the trees as orange as it was green.  After I finished it, I painted a second, smaller painting, this one of the boat.  Both paintings accomplished what I set out to do.


Acceptance into A+Art 2014 Top of the Class Juried Show

April 12, 2014 in Landscape by joanvienot

I am pleased to report that both of the paintings I entered in the A+Art  2014 Top of the Class Juried Show were accepted.  It is a beautiful show of only 37 works, juried from 85 entries.  The juror and judge was Brian Jekel, an instructor at Pensacola Christian College.  It is an honor to be showing alongside the works of Susan Lucas, Charlotte Arnold, Melody Bogle, Heather Clements, Donnelle Clark, Lynn Wilson, Ann Welch, and Theresia McInnis, the award winners and honorable mentions, and beside the many other talented artists whose work was accepted, all members of the Local Arts Agency, Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County.  McInnis won Best in Show with ‘Bromeliads Gone Wild’, winning the $500 Trustmark Bank Award and a solo show of her own in 2015.  Lucas won the Livingston Financial Planning $250 Award of Merit, Clements won the Watercolor UPS Store $250 Award of Merit, and Arnold won the Hidden Lantern Bookstore $250 Award of Merit.  The show will be exhibited at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, until May 30, 2014.  Hours are M-F, 9:00 to 4:00.

Oil painting of Tucker Bayou in warm tones, stylized from photo app, www.joanvienot.com

“Tucker Bayou”, 30 x 40 x 2, oil painting on gallery-wrapped stretched canvas

Oil painting of the dune forest and the rose-tinted grasses bordering Western Lake in Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

Grayton Beach Rosy Grasses, 12 x 36 x 3/4 framed oil painting on stretched canvas


“In Plein Sight”, in Emerald Coast Magazine

April 3, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Joan Vienot In Plein SightEariler this year, I saw a news photographer at one of our painting sites, but I thought he was taking pictures of other artists.  To my surprise, the photo published is a photo of me, working on my painting at Oaks Marina, in Niceville, Florida!  The print version of Emerald Coast Magazine uses the photo for the whole page, with the story inset.  The story in digital format can be found at http://www.emeraldcoastmagazine.com/April-May-2014/In-Plein-Sight/  Story by Diane Dorney,  and photo by Scott Holstein.

Oil painting of the view from the Oak Marina at Niceville, Florida


Studying from Morgan Samuel Price

March 30, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

2014-0323 Apalach Afternoon Behind the Island

The view from where I stayed

2014-0324 Coombs Inn

Coombs Inn and the Church

2014-0325 Scrub Oak Grove

Scrub Oak Grove, St. George Island

2014-0326 Apalachicola Marina

At the Marina Under the Bridge

2014-0327 Scipio Creek

Scipio Creek

2014-0328 Rainy Day at 'Up the Creek'

“N 2 Deep”

 

Last week I attended a plein air painting workshop in Apalachicola, Florida, taught by Morgan Samuel Price. The location of this fishing village is just two hours from my home, an easy drive but far enough away that I chose to stay in a rental property rather than commute. I learned so much I hardly know where to begin.  It will probably take me years to assimilate it. The difficult thing about an intense learning situation, is that much of it is communicated abstractly in words and absorbed into the left brain, while painting is performed on the right side of the brain. Fortunately, Morgan demonstrated during and after each lecture, to help us make right-brain sense of the concepts she was teaching. And she didn’t seem to mind repeating answers while each of us gained just enough understanding to ask the same question the previous student had just asked. “Morgan, what colors are you using now?” “Ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, and hansa yellow,” Morgan would answer. And the next student would ask, “Morgan, what colors did you mix to get this color?” And Morgan would patiently answer, “Ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, and hansa yellow.” To be fair, though, the different colors we were asking about were entirely different colors — it’s just that Morgan is a wizard at color mixing, and can make any color on the palette out of ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, and hansa yellow.

The first day, Morgan taught us about various materials and how to hold the brush for different angles of brushstrokes, and she taught us about color value, intensity, and temperature. She taught us more about those topicss every single day. She also taught us about  color in context, about composition, about creating the illusion of receding space, how light falls on horizontal surfaces vs vertical surfaces, how the eye moves through a painting, and even how to doodle on a scratchpad that sits by the telephone. She taught us about clarity of value and precision of shape. She taught with ease and good humor.  And she patiently answered again, “Ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, and hansa yellow.”

We had some good sunshine the weekend before the class, but our only sunny day during the class was the first day, Monday. After watching Morgan paint a simple alleyway with so many luscious values and such obvious perspective, making it look oh-so-easy, she turned us loose to paint in the afternoon. I choose the bright yellow siding of the Inn where everyone else was staying, and tried to capture the perspective of the sidewalk receding toward the church in the background. Even in my frustration (left brain / right brain confusion), I already had begun to learn. It is in the struggle that I find I truly learn, whether the painting shows that learning or not.  There is some confusion between the palm tree and the porch roof which makes the porch roof look like it is angled wrong — it’s not.  But as we joked in class, sometimes we need arrows and words printed on our painting to explain different elements.  My painting of the Inn could use several arrows.

The next day we drove to St. George Island, and I painted a grove of scrub oaks which had a play of light on the tree trunks that interested me.  I struggled with that light, but Morgan said to be definite with it — so I put down my tentative little brush and made some bold swaths of light, giving it much more of the feel that I wanted.

On Wednesday, two of the other students and I got lost from the rest of the class.  We painted near the base of the bridge to SGI, at a marina.  I painted on 16×20 canvas panel instead of my usual 8×10. I enjoyed using bigger brushes, but found myself being very stingy in mixing my colors, never mixing enough paint.  It’s difficult to paint with no paint on your brush.

Thursday found us at Scipio Creek, at another marina at the north edge of Apalachicola.  The pelicans and seagulls put on a continuous show for us while we caught the hazy pinks and lavenders in the middle ground and the muted grays in the distance, in contrast with the richer colors and more contrasting values in the foreground.

And then, sadly, it was Friday.  I painted beneath the overhanging deck of ‘Up the Creek’ Restaurant, with a vicious thunderstorm popping lightning all around me.  Nearby strikes three times chased me back further underneath to the center of the marine storage area under the building, which I imagined was safer.  All of the colors of my scene were washed out, at times it being so dark there was no color at all.  The last thing I painted were the reedy grasses and trees in the background, when suddenly I realized it was time to critique, so I packed up and hurried back.  I will dim the intensity of color on that foliage to make it recede more — it’s a little too bright, like the sun is shining on it, which it wasn’t.

A plug for my excellent host, the owner of the property where I stayed, Robert Lindsley:  Visit the Robert Lindsley Studio and Gallery at 15 Avenue E near the waterfront in Apalachicola.  And to the VRBO agent, my new friend Mike Klema — just search “VRBO Apalachicola” for Vacation Rentals By Owner, and Mike’s units will come up.  He was very accommodating, and I loved my place behind the island, right on US 98!  I had the thrill of seeing both the sunrises and the sunsets, as well as the parade of fishing boats every morning, and the abundant species of birds.  I’ve posted below a few photographs of my week, which all in all I enjoyed very much.

 

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunset

Low tide

Low tide

Atmospheric scenery

Atmospheric scenery

Fishing boat

Fishing boat

Eagle below my house

Eagle below my house

Demo in the alley

Demo in the alley

Class and demo on the beach

Class and demo on the beach

Morgan critiquing

Morgan critiquing

iPhonography Bicycle

iPhonography Bicycle

iPhonography Grasses

iPhonography Grasses


Plein Air to Colorado and Back

March 6, 2014 in Landscape, Photography, Plein Air by joanvienot

Photograph of the moon setting over Buffalo Mountain, in Silverthorne, CO, with the alpenglow preceding the sunrise

Photograph, moon setting over Buffalo Mountain in Silverthorne, CO, in the alpenglow of the sunrise

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that this year I have the intention of attending as many workshops as I can afford, to learn as much as I can from artists whose work I admire.  At the very least, if i am traveling anywhere, I am justifying it by taking my paints.

Oil painting of the view from Four Amigos at Silverthorne, Colorado

So last month when I traveled to Colorado for my Dad’s 94th birthday and then to the mountains to play in the snow with my two sisters and their families, I took my Guerrilla Painter’s Box, with every intention of painting every day.  I had forgotten that where there is snow, then it probably will be snowing!  So the light was too dim for inspired painting, and the weather suitable only for playing in the snow, until the last day I was there, when the sun finally came out.  I stepped out onto the front balcony and caught the view of the mountains across the way.  I left that little 5 x 7 painting there with my sister as a small thank you for the adventures.

Oil painting of a snowy Colorado mountain sceneI took a lot of photos, thinking I would paint more snow scenes later, but life has been hectic since I returned, so I only managed one, at left.

Yesterday I again painted with th Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters group in my home area in Florida.  We met at Baytowne in Sandestin, FL, and I painted the brightly colored shops reflecting into the pond.  It was chilly, and the light was low, with rain predicted, but the lake was flat and the reflections just a bit choppy.  To brighten my colors, I choose a canvas I had under painted orange, and I allowed some of the orange to show through my colors, and I scratched off some of the paint in places where I wanted lines, so the lines shine a bright orange.

Oil painting of the shops at Baytowne in sandestin, FL, reflected in the lakWe met near the fountain for our critique.  Another artist had the misfortune of dropping his painting and the edge of it sliced a diagonal scrape across the face of my painting, so I had some repairing to do afterwards. I am happy to report that the painting is no worse for the wear.  sometimes these sorts of things happen when you are painting outdoors — it’s all just part of the experience, where things are never entirely under control.


Plein Air Painting – Practice Pays Off

February 5, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting of the mansion at Eden Gardens State Park, behind the reflecting pool and a huge live oak treeLast weekend I painted a community street scene in the studio, using photo references, after attempting it plein air.  The architecture was filled with straight lines, which are a torture for a freehand painter.  I can fudge and fake the branches in a bush, but architectural lines for the most part look right only when placed nearly exactly where they in fact are.  So the painting of the street scene was a serious challenge for me.

But the practice served me well when I painted today, making the straight lines of today’s structure seem like child’s play by comparison.  I was in fact surprised at how quickly I was able to make an effective representation of this mansion at Eden Gardens State Park where the plein air painters met this morning.

The light was peaking in and out of the clouds, and when it peaked out, the building and middle ground lit up with vibrant color and the huge oak in the foreground became a stark silhouette.

Next week I travel to Colorado to visit family and to play in the snow in the mountains.  I will take my  camera and some paints with me.


Painting Plein Air in Rosemary Beach

February 3, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting in purple and yellow, showing the Rosemary Beach Town Hall and Post Office, from Highway 30AWhat a difference in the weather this weekend!  After an ice storm paralyzed the Deep South midweek, I was so happy to be painting in my shirtsleeves on Saturday!  And what a change from last weekend, when I was painting at the Chautauqua Festival in my snowsuit!

The Rosemary Beach Foundation offers a “Girls Getaway on Superbowl weekend, and plein air painters were invited to paint there.  This made the third weekend in a row for me to be painting plein air.  I painted for the sheer enjoyment of it.  I was out in the open, near the road and near the sidewalk, so I had many visitors, making it a fun and interesting day.  I painted the Town Hall and Post Office, at right.  Those buildings actually are white, but what interested me was the face of the Post Office, showing the golden light reflected from the side wall of the Town Hall. From where I was standing, I couldn’t actually see the directly lit side of the Town Hall.  I could see the shady sides of both buildings.  To make the reflected light really obvious, I painted both buildings lavendar.

After lunch, I turned 180º and began painting the street scene northward on North Barrett Square, from Wild Olives towards the Hidden Lantern Gallery where our finished paintings were being displayed.  I worked quickly, trying to catch the gist of the architecture.  Clouds had come so the shadows and lighting I had enjoyed in the morning were diffuse.  I could see that my perspective was warped, but I wasn’t terribly invested in the painting as a finished product.  I continued painting in order to learn how to handle my brushes and make convincing architectural shapes.

Oil painting of the view north near Wild Olives on North Barrett Square in Rosemary Beach, FloridaA student on a bicycle approached and we talked a little and I learned he was an artist.  I asked him his website, but he said he was not yet that “advanced”.  So I told him he could see more of our work in front of the Gallery, which he apparently viewed and then came back to further engage me. He started by saying, “I disagree with what you are doing.”  I should have bid him adieu right then and there, but I was intrigued, and gave him my attention.  He offered his limited view of creativity, that there was no value in painting what someone else had already created, such as architecture.  It sounded like this might not be the first time he had given this speech, and it sounded like some of the pointless arguments I had heard in college, as to what is “legitimate” art.

By this young man’s definition, I doubt that he would have appreciation for a musician playing a symphony written by someone else, or a dancer performing someone else’s choreography.  I lad lost interest as soon as he said he didn’t paint things that were “already painted”.  But he pressed his point until I actually started to get irked.  It became clear that his intention was to dismiss plein air painting, and to elevate his style of expression, whatever that is. I abhor “exclusive” thinking.

One of the things I have so enjoyed among nearly all of the artists I have met at this “mature” (middle-aged) point in my life, is their support and encouragement of each other. an attitude of INclusion, not EXclusion..  I believe that no artist should be discouraged from whatever path they are on at the moment, and their work should not be judged as to its “legitimacy”, but rather that anyone making any effort to express themselves visually, should be encouraged, that all artistic expression should be supported and nurtured.  In fact I think that everyone is an artist, and we ought to help each other retrieve that creative spirit, whether singers, or carvers, or painters, or poets.  It is a shame that so many people, somewhere along the way, stop trying. I guess it takes a good streak of stubbornness to retain creative drive, because somewhere along the way, every creative person must overcome the energy of those claiming their expression to not be “good” enough, or expressive enough, or “legitimate”.  It was when this student dismissed my protests by pronouncing “The truth hurts”, that I realized the depth of his arrogance.  I told the young man that it was better to support and encourage other artists, and not to judge their efforts and try to discourage them.

I thought it was going to rain the next day, so I stayed in my studio, and I repainted the scene I had been painting the day before, using black and white photo references (above right).  Later that day, I about dropped my teeth when I drove back to the Hidden Lantern to pick up the painting I had done the day before, discovering that the street was made of dark gray brick-pavers, not the red-orange color I had painted.  It never even occurred to me that they might be something different — red-orange seemed so right!  So there you are, a true enough representation of the shapes that interested me, coupled with my own sense of what the street “should” look like, Ha!  Another fun thing about plein air painting, or even studio painting from photo references after doing a plein air study, is that if I paint the same scene again, even from the same vantage point, it would turn out to be a completely different painting.

 


Plein Air Painting at The Chautauqua Festival – an Arctic Blast!

January 30, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

2014-0124 Coots Wintering at Lake DeFuniak

Click HERE for larger image, detailed view.

2014-0125 First Presbyterian Church, across Lake DeFuniak

Click HERE for larger image, detailed view.

2014-0126 DeFuniak Depot and Tracks

Click HERE for larger image, detailed view.

DeFuniak Springs Caboose

DeFuniak Springs Caboose
(iPhonography)

Troops at Florida Chautauqua

Troops Re-enacting the Civil War
(iPhonography)

It was cold! The high last Friday was 38°! That’s cold for Northwest Florida! That’s cold for outdoor painting!  I had made plans to paint at the Florida Chautauqua Assembly with other plein air painters. I was prepared for the cold, dressed in my quilted snowsuit overalls and two jackets, a fleece headband visor, and cloth gloves under my latex painting gloves. And I wore wool socks inside my beach Crocs. I looked like someone from the Arctic North, but I was toasty while I painted on the shore of Lake DeFuniak last Friday morning. But later in the afternoon, the chill set in, and I was pleasantly surprised when a dear friend, Eda Busby, brought me hot tea and a blanket and fingerless gloves, which gave me more dexterity. I gave her the painting I had just completed. Saturday was almost the same, but Sunday was a warmer, and I actually was in shirt-sleeves for a little while, painting the restored DeFuniak train depot and railroad tracks.

It was my first time attending the Chautauqua Festival, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I found the well-organized art exhibit on the second floor of the “Hall of Brotherhood”, also known as the Chautauqua Building, and I met some of the friendly and talented artists of the northern part of Walton County. They allowed me to bring in my wet oil paintings as I completed them. We also displayed completed works. Three other people painted plein air over the weekend. Several of the artists opted to paint indoors, in the gallery.

The festival itself had a number of historical exhibits and people dressed in period costume, with Civil War re-enactments accompanied by some unsettling firing of guns and cannons that made me jump and the geese honk. My favorite exhibit demonstrated a small part of the culture of the Muskogee Creek people, where a woman named Debbie Bush showed me her family’s fabric pattern on her skirt, and talked to me about herbs used in healing and she gave me a sharp piece of flint to carry in my pocket for personal protection. Another exhibit featured carved and assembled crafts and toys. i was fascinated with an assemblage of wooden “cards” strung together in a way that they unfolded in a strand and then each flipped over successively into a strand facing the other direction when the top card was flipped.  The demonstrator called it “Jacob’s Ladder” — Click here for a 30-second video of the demonstration.

I also tasted my first (and last) Funnel Cake, paying about $5 for a dinner-plate-sized dollop of batter fried into bread and smothered with powdered sugar. I don’t think there was one redeeming quality — I managed to force down my 1/6 slice, and left the rest on the counter for my fellow artists to enjoy. I came back a couple hours later and noticed it was gone, much to my relief.Click Image

Friday evening was the opening of our A+Art exhibit of plein air paintings, “Outdoor Magic”.  I showed 3 pieces I have previously posted (click picture for gallery view):

Oil painting of a creek running into Mack Bayou, in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida Oil painting of the bright light on the water of the Gulf of Mexico at Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, Florida Oil painting of dunes at Grayton Beach State Park

Below are a few pictures from the festival:

One of the historical homes on the Circle

One of the historical homes on the Circle, DeFuniak Springs, Florida

Frozen fountain, painting plein air in 38°

Frozen fountain, painting plein air in 38°

Debbie Bush, Muskogee Creek cultural display

Debbie Bush, Muskogee Creek cultural display

Eda Busby brought me hot tea!

Eda Busby brought me hot tea!

Historic Crafts demonstrated

Historic Crafts demonstrated

Painting the Depot and tracks, half-done

Painting the Depot and tracks, half-done

Chautauqua Building Hall of Brotherhood, DeFuniak Springs, Florida

Chautauqua Building Hall of Brotherhood, DeFuniak Springs, Florida

Lest I leave you completely disillusioned with the temperatures in Florida in January, here’s a warm studio painting  inspired by the lakeside grasses in Grayton Beach State Park!

Grayton Beach Rosy Grass

Click image for purchase information.

 

 


30A Songwriters, Chautauqua, and Girls Getaway, an Exciting 3 Weeks

January 21, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting of the view from the Oak Marina at Niceville, FloridaI am painting 3 weekends in a row, or at least I plan to.  Let’s just say I’m taking my vitamins, in preparation for that much painting!

Last week I went to the Oak Marina, in Niceville, for the weekly outing with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters.  It was a bit breezy and chilly, but nothing like the 40 hours below freezing the week before!  I dare say no one here in Northwest Florida was out painting that week!  I know I wasn’t — I was huddled by the fireplace.  This week I just put on my wind pants and turned up my collar.

I was working on a canvas panel that I had underpainted with a sort of a russet color acrylic, which initially I regretted, because it was difficult to cover when I was trying to paint my sky.  Later in the painting I achieved the results I had wanted, when I scratched down to the underpainting for the detail lines.  Accomplished fellow painter Charlotte Arnold told me to feather downward on the juicy paint to turn my splotches into Spanish moss, on the huge oak bordering my painting.

Oil painting of eucalyptus in a blue pot at Grayt Grounds of Monet MonetThis past weekend was highlighted by the annual 30A Songwriters Festival, one of two amazing festivals produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance, the area arts organization here where I live.  I was privileged to work with my friend Leslie Kolovich who produces podcast interviews.  She had several singer-songwriter artists and groups in her studio over the weekend, who performed live and impromptu for us.  You can listen to those podcasts at www.supradioshow.com.  Below is a quick iPhone photo of THE Jeep Rosenberg being interviewed (I love this job).

photo-7
.....
Oil painting of Chinese lion statue at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet

In the mornings I painted plein air in the gardens at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, the wonderful coffeeshop and event venue that is displaying some of my work.  They put my work on easels throughout the gardens, for the weekenders strolling through with their coffee, who chatted with me while I painted.  It was downright cold the first day, so I looked like the Michelin Man, dressed in my quilted snowsuit.  The second morning was much warmer, and I enjoyed the sounds of a band playing for the coffeeshop patrons while I painted.  Grayt Grounds is selling my work online too:  Click here!

This weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 24-25-26, 2014, I will be painting “on the circle” around the lake in DeFuniak Springs, FL, for the Chautauqua Festival.  A number of painters from our local plein air group will be there, as well as some traveling specifically for this event.  The festival has dedicated a room for us to hang our wet paintings, and has invited us to show our work.  On Friday the 24th, I also will be attending the opening reception for the A+Art “Outdoor Magic” exhibit of plein air paintings at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College.  I might still be in my painting clothes!!

And the weekend after that, on Superbowl weekend, I will be painting in Rosemary Beach, during the Girls Getaway, again with other local plein air painters.

Anyone can paint at these events.  If you want to paint with us, you may contact me through this website and I will put you in touch Beckie Perrott, who graciously informs us of all these plein air opportunities.

This last painting I made this weekend, was one of the two stone Chinese lion statues in the gardens at Grayt Grounds.  With the typical bugged-out eyes, and a large pearl in his mouth, this iconic statue was harder to paint than I thought it would be.  I ended up not painting much of the surrounding foliage, spending most of the time trying to capture his face.  This lion was different than most of this type.  Most of these are in pairs, as is this set, and the male lion has a ball under his right foot, and the female an inverted cub under her left foot, but this lion has a four-legged critter sitting under his right foot, a critter I could not identify.  I’ll have to ask the owner, who owns the jewelry store next to the coffeeshop.

Most of my paintings and images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

 


The Setting Sun – Working From Photo References

December 30, 2013 in Landscape by joanvienot

Oil painting of the Gulf of Mexico at Sunset, with oranges reflected on the emerald green sea
Oil painting of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, with people silhouetted against the purple and peach-colored sunset
Oil painting of sea oats silhouetted against burnt-orange clouds over the Gulf of Mexico at sunset

Painting a sunset, during a sunset, would be very difficult because the light changes so fast.  But the subject begs to be captured on canvas.  Since the weather was chilly this weekend, and it was warm and cozy inside my studio, I decided to take a few stabs at it using photographs I have on my camera phone.  Photo references are not ideal for making a painting, because the camera does not catch everything the eye can see, and the camera certainly does not capture the sound of the waves, the warmth of the evening sun, the changing patterns of the waves, and the shifting latticework of shadows and light.  So I rely mostly on my sensory memories of the experience, some going right to the core of my own being, reflecting whatever might have been challenging me that day, whether work-issues, relationships, or even the existential questions of existence itself.

I have painted many a sky using watercolor, where the happy accidents often end up being exactly the right shape, color, and mood.  Oil painting is so much more deliberate, that I found myself questioning whatever made me think I could be a painter.  Plein air painting has allowed me to develop a much looser, impressionistic style, so I expected more immediate success with my sunset skies.  It took more time than I thought it would.  I can see that I need to practice more, if the sky is to be the subject and the focus of the painting.

The most elementary and powerful form of defining shapes is through silhouette, which sunsets encourage.  My first attempt does not have any foreground shapes other than the beach itself, and I think the next two are much more interesting because of the silhouettes of the figures in the middle ground of the second one and the sea oats in the last one.