Water, Water Everywhere

"View from the Jetty" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
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I took the photo that inspired this painting last year, on a cold day at the beach.  I didn't get around to painting it until this year, on an extremely hot day at home.

Looking around at the finished pieces and works in progress sitting around my kitchen, I realized that every one of them had a common element: water.  Even my landscapes have a bit of water in them.  I thought back to my high school days, when I first really tried to make paintings of my own.  I remembered that they usually had some water or waves in them too.

I don't live near water, but it's not too far to drive to the beach.  I'm also happy to paint swimming pools, ponds, and lakes.  I'm not sure what it is about water, but a painting feels much more comfortable to me if it has some in it. 

One thing I've learned about painting all these water scenes is the importance of shadow under the light.  Even the brightest reflection on water needs that shadowy element to give it depth.  I end up using a lot of tiny, horizontal darks to work that depth into the water I paint.

If there's something that appears over and over in your paintings, it probably has more to do with your artistic self than a moment's inspiration.  I can see a beautiful sky and feel inspired to paint it, but when I sit down to work, it's usually a water scene that gets me to commit to painting.  I love the challenge of capturing a reflection, or balancing the lights and darks, or making water shimmer with a range of values.  I'm always happy to sit by water, and watch its motion.   

Go through an artist's work, and see what common themes come out.  This tells you not just what the artist's strengths are, it also gives you a little insight into what moves that particular artist to sit down and create.  Even if you've never met that person, you know a little something about that artist by going through the work.  Much more meaningful than a Facebook profile, don't you think?

"Horseshoe Bay" 9 x 12
Chalk Pastel on Paper
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Please stop by and visit my new website!  You'll find plenty of water in my Land and Seascapes Gallery, as well as my California Scenes.  I'm still adding a little artwork each day, and will hopefully have all my originals moved to that site in the next week or two.

I'll be running a shipping special through the summer to celebrate!


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