The Sound of Fog Horns

Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2014 by sebland

FOGGY DAY ELEVENWhen we arrived at Cranberry Point on the second day of our workshop, the fog was rolling in. I really enjoyed standing and listening to “Old Sparkplug’s” horn every ten seconds. It was a lonely, mournful sound, and I could have listened to it all day long.

However, Michael, our teacher, had other ideas.

FOGGY DAY SIX              Choosing his spot, he began again with the value thumbnail. This is a most helpful way for plein air painters to find the large masses and shapes and locate their darks and lights.

Today, Michael is using pastels, and I have to say his work and Sue’s, one of the other students, has whetted my interest. Pastels may be my next learning experience!

FOGGY DAY SEVENAfter sketching in some locating lines, Michael began to work his magic.

FOGGY DAY NINE Within an hour, he would have a beautiful piece of art. I wandered around the beach, finally settling on the perfect spot.

FOGGY DAY SEVENTEENI had decided to paint the lighthouse, “Sparky,” and watch the fog roll away.

FOGGY DAY FOURTEENI did my thumbnail, then roughed in the values and the main shapes.

FOGGY DAY FIFTEENBecause I had primed my canvasboards, the painting already has a warm glow, as if I were painting at sunset.

FOGGY DAY EIGHTEENMeanwhile, Michael has painted an alcohol wash on his pastel. He goes to warn the others who are on the beach to watch out for the incoming tide. Compare these two photos: Note where Sue is standing on the beach, working on her painting, then look at the second photo. She would have been washed away! The tide rose that fast – two hours maximum!


Content that I had a good study, I signed off on my second workshop painting.


Back in the studio, we critiqued our work. Mine is a little pink – I’ll go back and mute the colors a little. Sue’s lovely pastel and Brian’s oils all are looking good!

Brian's oilsSue's Pastel

DSCN0345 Michael’s finished pastel is really lovely – Now we know why he is the teacher!

Thank you, Michael, for inspiring us all!



DAY SIX – At the End of the Day

Posted in Painting with tags , , , , on January 25, 2013 by sebland

DAY SIX – At the End of the Day.

DAY SIX – At the End of the Day

Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 25, 2013 by sebland


My students help put things into perspective, sometimes, and that happened this week. When we were critiquing this piece, I asked my student if she felt the painting was finished. Her reply was: “Where were the birds?” I realized that to give life to this moment, I did need some little fellows walking on the beach with me. Adding the birds and their shadows took only a few minutes. I washed over the gentle waves once again with warm and cool colors already used, and realized this painting is exactly what I wanted: a memory of a soft and gentle evening, alone on the beach and admiring the amazing colors the Master Painter had provided, just for me. That’s how I feel about every sunrise and sunset – Someone created all this beauty as a gift to us. I think I’m through with this one.


I’m looking forward to next week’s painting: Depoe Bay and the Roar of the Surf.


Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 15, 2013 by sebland

DAY FOUR 1 low res
It’s really fun when I begin to see the painting resembling what I had in mind. Mixing the blue, yellow, red and burnt sienna, I create a sandy mix that I paint into the foreground.

Now I want to try to bring the tidepool in and show the reflection of the setting sun – something I haven’t tried before. Studying my reference photo, I realize I need to mix a light peach/brown color, so using cadmium red light, cadmium yellow medium, titanium white and lots of gel gloss medium, I paint the area where the waterline washes gently over the sand in the foreground.


DAY FOUR 2 low res

I like that. I use the same light color mixture on the right side of the water, showing the sunlight reflecting on that side.


DAY FOUR 4 3 low res

Mixing ultramarine blue, white and a little burnt sienna, I paint some cooler colors under the rock on the right side and working down, glaze more of the cool colors to blend with the warmer ones.


DAY FOUR 5 low resNow for the fun. Loading a 1″ watercolor brush with white, gloss medium and a little yellow, I drag the side of my brush across, creating some gentle wave action. I think the painting is beginning to take shape. Using the same white with a little blue and gloss medium I drag some cooler waves across from the left. This painting is easy and fun to do. Next time, we’ll work on the rocks. They look a little like sharks at the moment, but we’ll fix that. I think I’m going to like this picture!

DAY FOUR6 low res


DAY THREE: Going Over the Edge

Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 15, 2013 by sebland

Warming up the sky

DAY THREE: I like to prepare my students for that inevitable day when you truly do not like your work. Now that I’ve passed over that plateau, the painting is beginning to help me along. It is impossible to describe the sensation that your work is speaking to you. People think you’ve gone over the edge, but it is true! There is a point when you know this is going to be something you love, and there are little voices in your head saying: “Warm this up,” or “Take that out.” It really is amazing and something I’ve heard from other artists. Soooooooooo, if I’m going crazy, I won’t get there alone!

Today, I felt the painting really needed to be warmed up, so I started adding more yellow, mixed with white, to brighten the sky.


Not bad, now let’s put some light in the water! Using the same color mix: yellow and white, with a little gel medium for shine, I began adding light strokes on the right side of the water.

DAY THREE 3 low res

The left side, under the rocks, should be darker for contrast, and I want more reflection in the water, so I mix ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, some white, and lightly add this mixture to make more reflection in the water on the left.


The colors really are beginning to captivate me. I want to begin to put more movement in the water, so I brush, over and over, streaks of yellow and white, then blue, yellow, red and white to make the waves slowly begin to appear.

I know I am far from finished, but I prop the painting up near my bed so I can study it and plan the next session. Hope you’re still enjoying watching paint dry!


Posted in art, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 10, 2013 by sebland


I try to tell my students not to be intimidated by a blank canvas. One of them, apparently not believing me, described the new, larger canvas she purchased in this way: “Help, Help I need guidance. This canvas has arms and legs and large teeth in my dreams.”
Then, I walked into my studio and was faced with this. Suddenly, I felt what my student felt – intimidated!

The cure for this malady is to leap in, so I mixed gesso with cadmium red light and cadmium yellow medium, and prepared to cover 1,728 square inches.

In less time than you would think, I was halfway through the underpainting.

Now I’m rocking and rolling and ready to rough in the horizon line. Using ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and white, I mix a cool blue lavender, and paint the horizon line. Then I begin to rough in the clouds and add some color where the sea will be.

This is the point where I begin to love my painting.

I try to emphasize, when painting water, especially a lake or ocean, the line must be straight. If your horizon line goes up or down, the water will run off, right?

I notice in my reference photo, that the sky is much lighter near the horizon, so I brighten the sky and begin to add the sunlight colors low in the water, where I’ll put a sea glow later.


Ah, now I am really beginning to like my work!

But then……….I roughed in some rocks, as I remembered how massive they looked on the coast.

WITH ROCKS low res8

I am not happy with this composition. In fact, I really hate it! Time to go pour a glass of wine and decide what to do next. Maybe tomorrow will be better…

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