20×48″ oil on Canvas– I loved the patterns of sparkling lights that the sun was making on the glassy ocean the day I painted this commission of the Ellwood Coast. The blue water was a nice foil for the reds and oranges in the winter iceplant hanging over the cliffs.
I have been playing with watercolors recently. I can make a study of a painting in a fraction of the time it takes to make an oil painting, so it gives me a great way to explore compositions and experiment with design ideas. It has been a great way to get out my creative energy when I don’t want to commit to a whole canvas.
Fellow artists might enjoy this way of making an inexpensive watercolor sketchbook. I cut a bunch of paper types that I like working on and took them to the copy shop to have them spiral bound. I mask the frame with painters tape so it leaves clean edges when I pull it away.
You can see on these first two that I often make a pencil sketch before I start painting to figure out the design and value patterns before I begin splashing color. I used to paint with watercolor a lot when I was in high school, but haven’t used it much since. It is fun to rediscover and I think that doing these is going to help me discover new ideas for my oils.