Evening Sea – More sketches in paint

Here are some more of the Sea paintings I made recently. The photographs describe the paintings as they developed. The first group of three include the beach, but it is essentially the same viewpoint as the photos and painting from my last blog post.

 

Beach Painting, stage 1

 

 

Beach Painting, stage 2

 

 

Beach Painting, stage 3

 

 

These next two photos are of another piece in progress. I have used less paint in this one because I’m working with a lightweight colored paper which cannot take too much paint or water.

 

Landscape painting, stage 1

 

 

Landscape painting, stage 2

 

 

I quite like the energy in this one although again, I may have allowed it to become too dark.

Evening Sea – In Paint

Last week, I took a short drive south of Clifden to the Coral Strand, which is near the village of Ballyconneely. It was evening and the sun was setting against a menacing sky which threatened for a while and opened into a downpour just as I was leaving. The dark blue and turquoise colours of sky and sea against the peach coral sand and golds of the evening sun were truly spectacular. Here are a couple of the photographs that I took;

 

Photo 1 of Coral strand

 

 

Photo 2 of Coral strand

 

The top photo was taken slightly earlier in the evening. The rain storm is visibly brewing in this magnificent cloud, which seems unnaturally solid and bulky in the way that it hangs over the land in the distance. I tackled the subject in paint, as you can see below and tried to keep my focus on colour and atmosphere. The first picture shows the initial sketching out of the composition in charcoal and acrylic paint.

 

Coral strand painting, stage 1

 

 

I’m using a heavy acrylic paper here. I’ve added more colour for the next shot.

 

Coral strand painting, stage 2

 

 

I’m always in danger of going too far with these because I’m working quite fast and layering wet on top of wet.

 

Coral strand painting, stage 3

 

 

Looking back I like the piece at this stage ( above ). However, I took it further as you will see below and it has darkened considerably.

 

Coral strand painting, stage 4

 

What do you think about this one? It was still wet when I took the photograph. Did I take it too far?

Sunshine, beach and Heron in paint

Last week, I spent some time on Ardmore beach, near Clifden and I took some photographs which I blogged about. Over the week end, I returned to these and made some sketches in paint.

 

Painting of Seascape 1

 

 

I used acrylic paint, ink and charcoal here on a heavy acrylic paper. The colours are not strictly true to life but I love this combination of blue and brown and I think the two together look exactly how the sea smells, if that makes any sense at all..

 

Painting of Seascape 2

 

 

The paint is thicker here in places. These sketches are still wet as I photographed them. They were done in one sitting – I might have a look at them again when the paint is dry and make some additions. Here’s one below of the Heron. It is done on a light weight coloured paper.

 

Painting of Seascape with Heron

 

 

I will add some chalk or white pastel to this one when it is dry just where the rocks have bled in to the sea on the top half of the sketch.

The Sea

The sea is a constant source of inspiration here as we have stunning stretches of beautiful beaches and coastline to enjoy.
The Atlantic ocean is completely different to the Irish Sea on the East coast of Ireland where I grew up. It is wild, cold, often dangerous and always beautiful compared to the temperate waters of the East coast.
I have done a number of sea paintings on paper with paint, ink and chalk, to give the effect of the waves. Here are two examples below;

 

Sea painting 1

 

 

Sea painting 2

 

 

I was thinking about Japanese sea prints when I was doing these. The famous one below is called ‘The Waves at Kanagawa’ by Hokusai. It is part of a large collection of Japanese prints in the Blackburn Museum in Lancashire in England.

 

Print: The Waves at Kanagawa, by Hokusai

 

 

Hokusai (1760-1849) is possibly Japan’s best known artist but this image is not at all typical of what was being done at the time. Traditional Japanese art would not have painted the lower class fisherman, seen here riding the waves in their boats. Neither would they have been concerned with perspective, used here to show Mount Fuji in the distance. Hokusai was influenced by Dutch landscapes of the time and his unique use of colour and flattening of images went on to influence Western art. European artists such as Van Gogh, Manet and Degas would have studied this style and made elements of it their own.
In my paintings, I imitated the use of perspective by making the waves the focus in the foreground and and suggesting a typical Irish island shape in the background.

Painting the Rain

It has rained a lot since last Summer, sometimes for weeks on end without a break. It is very much part of life here in Connemara. It is often possible to really see the rain moving in sheets across the sky and this can look very dramatic against the backdrop of the mountains and coastline.
Here is a photograph I took which captures this and below an attempt of mine to paint/draw the subject.

 

Photo of rain

 

 

Painting of rain

 

I have used charcoal here over the finished acrylic painting to give the effect of rain. I love using charcoal like this, smudging it in places and leaving its grubby texture just as it falls over the canvas or page. I was very struck by the possibility of using paint and charcoal together when I first saw the work of Ghislaine Howard, a figurative artist who uses both of these materials. I will look up some images of her work to put in another post.

Welcome to my blog!

I have been thinking (and talking) about this blog and my soon to open on line shop with etsy.com since Christmas. It is now almost the end of February and I am very excited to be here at last!
My plan is to share my thoughts about living and working in Connemara in relation to my paintings and the things that I draw my inspiration from.
It’s a big learning curve for me so I hope that the blog will develop as I go along and that some of you will stay with me.

 

 

Cleggan coast painting

 

This is my most recent painting and the one that I have used in my banner. It is based on a part of the coastline near Cleggan which is about seven miles away. The photo underneath is one I used for reference while painting.

 

Cleggan coast photo

 

 

I use photographs to help me make decisions about composition, particularly with the landscapes. I also use them as a starting point for colour choices. The work then takes on a life of its own and my intention thereafter is to evoke the atmosphere of the place, the weather and what it felt like to be there that day. I try to conjure this up in my head when I have my paints ready in front of me. This was a beautiful dry day (unusual in February!) but there was unease in the air and the promise of a rain storm. The afternoon closed in to the evening during the short time that I spent there.