Friday, July 26, 2019

Recreating the Feeling

"Fog Ascendant" 12x24 Oil - Available

Sometimes, when I'm out walking, I'll see a scene that suddenly lifts my spirits.  I can best describe the feeling as a moment of effervescence, a stream of bubbles shooting to the surface.  The cause might be a spectacular sunset or, as recently in my case, an unusually beautiful cloud formation.  Such a scene is not something one can just pick up a brush and paint.  Paradoxically, careful planning is needed to recreate what was a spontaneous response.

Why?  Because it's not the subject alone that created the feeling.  In the moment depicted in my painting, the cloud wasn't the only player.  Yes, its magnificence took my breath away, but what really stirred me was a combination of things:  the tall vertical of the towering cloud opposing the wide horizontals of land and water; the dominant cool colors of land, sky and water contrasting with small notes of warm white; plus the struggle between the grey fog and the richer colors of sky and land.  I needed to understand all of this before I could paint it.

When I decided to paint this scene, I worked from two photo references and memory, as well as from many years' experience in painting Maritime scenery.  The photos were just snapshots, but I spent several minutes letting my eye rove over the scene, memorizing color and form.  I  paid special attention to trying to figure out why the scene provoked the feeling it did.  When I returned to the studio to paint it, the act of painting recreated the wonderful feeling I felt that morning on the beach.

1 comment:

Donna S said...

Funny how towering clouds can lift one's spirits. I still remember vividly a day after sitting the day w/my husband in hospital, such an astounding scene. It filled my heart with hope and joy. I believe that God's purpose in the beauty of nature is that lifting of our spirits.