This week we had the most fabulous weather on Pender Island. The sun shone. The temperatures were summery and hot. The beaches tempted us daily. The weather was so beautiful that it was easy to say “no” to painting the fence and deck, and instead choose to paint a canvas.
I must have been feeling brave this week as I decided to do something I have never done before; I packed up a canvas, paints, palette and brushes and decided to actually paint at the beach. I have done many sketches and watercolors over the years while out and about, but have never attempted a canvas out on location. Perhaps I felt like a challenge this week, maybe I was just tired of seeing canvases loiter on my easel for months at a time while I contemplated “Is it done?” (a very, very, very bad habit of mine), or perhaps the sheer beauty of the island made me step outside my comfort zone. Whatever the motivation was for working out on location, in the end it was a great experience.
One thing that was for sure upon starting the canvas was that I knew I would have to paint quickly. Five children are content on a beach for only so long before they need a snack, have a meltdown, squabble with siblings, fall over and hurt themselves, have a war over the yellow sand shovel, etc. (you get the general idea!). The other trick with working outside is that the light changes. Keeping this in mind I set out to work quickly, no fussing over details and work with the paint in the same manner I sketch. In the last year or so I have taken to doing fast sketches on location that take only 10-15 minutes; this has been an experience in learning to draw only what is really important to the scene. With this painting I also decided to work with a limited palette of blue, brown and white. My theory was that less color meant less time and fewer mistakes. I worked quickly, minimized what I wanted from the scene, and finished the painting almost exactly an hour after paint first hit the canvas (only taking one small break to see a baby starfish my daughter had found…it was very cute!).
I am quite pleased with the final painting. The lines are fast. The shapes minimal and strong. The image is what I think of when I think of the beach at Bridges Road…..the bendy trees and huge rocks meeting the sea.
Interested in viewing more art and photography? Visit my other blog at http://debrahunter.wordpress.com/ for a selection of painting, fibre art, portrait photography and commercial photography.