Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The foreground water and rocks have been added bringing most of the painting to completion. I have darkened the main area of rocks slightly and lightened the longer rock just under the breaking wave as I felt that it attracted too much interest being as it was right next to the lightest lights in the painting. I'll probably frame it next then see how it looks in that before adding the final details. That will have to wait for a bit until I take care of a larger commission first - more on that painting later. Suffice to say that I have done a few smaller studies and those have worked out well so let's hope that the larger painting will too!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Making further progress on the rocks, I used a combination of yellow ochre, raw umber and burnt sienna lightened with titanium white. Generally I brush in a mid-tone then add darker areas such as the deeper cracks etc then use a stippling motion of the brush to create texture and variation amongst the rocks. Sometimes when a section has dried, I'll glaze a slightly darker color over some areas to adjust tones and create depth. So far I feel that the rocks are a little light in overall tone so I'm sure that I'll have a bit of glazing to do later on. Next session should see this one finished although I'll probably live with it for a few days to see if there is anything else needed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Here I have completed most of the upper rocks. At this point in the painting process, I'm not too worried about the exact tones of the rocks as I'll have to see how it all looks when I get closer to finishing the work. If necessary, I'll lighten or darken them when I have completed the water in the foreground as this will be the last of the white areas left on the canvas. I suppose I could tone the whole canvas right from the start but I have never really liked doing this and feel that it's better to stick with what comes most natural to me. While the most recent work is drying, I turn my attention to the water adding some more white to the top of the breaking wave and also to some of the larger waves in the background but being careful not to overdo it. Tomorrow I'll finish the lower rocks then work on the foreground.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I started with the sky laying in some light blue-grey oils across the top then darkening and shaping the distant clouds near the horizon line. These were blended in until I had the softened atmosphere that I wanted then a lighter mix of the same color was brushed into the sea. Waves were added with a darker mix and I carefully worked in the breaking wave and foam near the left-hand rocks. Then when I was happy with everything, I added the rocks themselves using raw umber, a touch of burnt umber and titanium white. With what I felt were the correct tones in place, I left everything until the next day when I would have a go at the rocks along the shore.


I realised that I hadn't shown an in-progress painting for some time although I did plan on doing so with the Tool Shed watercolor painting a few blogs ago - somehow I forgot so here is the latest. At first I had planned on doing a small study but couldn't find the right sized canvas in my studio. So instead of going through all the rigmarole of cutting one to size, I grabbed a larger 16" X 20" canvas and just used the top section (I'll make a stretcher for it later and mount it when the painting is finished and has dried off properly). Using a wash of thinned raw umber, I drew in the rocks and horizon line aiming for accuracy but not worrying too much about it all. That is the beauty of working in oils, one can so easily rearrange and true up things as one goes along! Satisfied that all was where I wanted it, I left the canvas to dry off for awhile. Next, getting some serious painting going!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Since moving to the US quite a few years ago I have fortunately had the opportunity to travel back to Hong Kong quite often. I still think of the place as my old stomping ground and miss almost everything about it! And sometimes being in the right place at the right time is just the ticket. I happened to be in Hong Kong when with great excitement in the birding community there, an immature White-billed Diver (Loon) was mentioned as being seen just off the coast of Sai Kung in Eastern Hong Kong. The next morning 30 or so birders and photographers assembled at a pier to board a rented boat especially for the purpose of sailing out and seeing if the bird was still in the area - luckily for us it was! An amazing bird and was watched for almost an hour mostly between dives. Many photos were taken, descriptions of the bird were noted and I managed a few sketches - not easy in a pitching boat looking through binoculars! I still have to paint the bird seen that day and plan on getting to it soon. I believe this was just the third record for White-billed Diver in China at the time so it was a major tick! While returning back to the pier, I saw a White-breasted Sea Eagle nearby and did a small painting of it later on. Approximately 10 pairs breed in and around Hong Kong and they are always a welcome sight when I return. In the painting, I kept the bird small as I wanted to record the area and the atmosphere of that particular day more than anything. The watercolor is 5.5" X 7.5".