I painted this 6” x 8” demonstration piece in my late afternoon, seasonal weekly coastal class. It was an overcast day with a mixture of fog and clouds. When it was nearing 4 pm, the scene was lit with a magical ambient glow. I saw varying color shifts leaning toward red within the entire view (the light's quality in a scene’s entirety is what can be referred to as the “envelope of light”). I was attracted to the glimmer of light bouncing off the distant objects across the bay and the coolness, yet relative brightness, of the water in the distance. I saw an opportunity to use the natural shapes in the bay to move the viewer’s eye toward the glint of reflected lights off in the distance. I spent a few minutes deciding on my design with a quick sketch while noticing that I could further illustrate the cools shapes against the warm shapes in the same design.
Cloudy days commonly bring out cool lights and warm shadows. Nature gave me a perfect scene to demonstrate how the cools can play against the warms in such a pleasing way. I was careful not to have equal proportions of light to dark and warm to cool in my initial sketch. With a bit of “visual pruning” to the foreground bushes, I tried to create a composition that wasn’t 50-50.
“Light and dark, warm and cool color in equal proportions produce a static neutrality, balancing each other right out of the picture, one will destroy the other.”
- American painter Harvey Dunn (1884-1952)
I always try to paint related masses as one larger mass to simplify the composition to its basic parts. As in written language, a short statement delivers its intent much stronger than a long-winded sentence.
In my workshop, "Abstracting the Landscape," one of my main intents is to impart a little bit of wisdom that "less is indeed more." Paint related masses together as one large mass. It will simplify the composition and give more weight to the message you’re tryin