Saturday, January 26, 2013

Seascape - can you spot the finishing touches?

In my last post I described the start and development of this seascape painting:

"Coastal Calligraphy", 15x30, oil In process version from earlier post

I've done a pass of touch ups on the painting over the last two days (intermittently working on a few different paintings), and figured I'd post the updated version.

Can you spot the changes?  Spoiler alert -  there is a cheat sheet at the end of this post.

I suspect the most obvious change is where I lightened and brightened (saturated) the tops of the large rock masses to try to get them to illuminate.  All the other changes are more subtle:

#1 There is only one very slight compositional change.  After I had a chance to look at the painting with a fresh eye, I didn't like how there was a diagonal line that threw the eye right out of the painting in the lower right.  I introduced another tiny little rock to break this line and slow down your eye as you scan upwards from the bottom of the painting.

The rest of the changes are all minor value and/or color adjustments.

#2 All the white water along the rocks is not even close to pure white.  I left a lot of lighter value in reserve, and that made punching up the whitewater edge very easy to do.  I used this to develop a visual pathway that pulls the eye back towards the breaker.

#3 - One grouping of rocks looked like it was floating above the water.  I reworked values and edges to get is to sit down move convincingly.

#4 - I lightened all the distant water starting at the horizon to let the rocks stand up more readily.

Whenever I open a painting up like this I inevitably touch things all over the canvas.  Every mark can throw off the balance elsewhere, so each mark often requires a counter mark (or 10) to bring things back into balance.  I often think of the whole process of achieving luminosity as a balancing act getting everything to work in harmony. 

Here's a cheat sheet for spotting the changes (these markups are on the 'in process' version):

in process version with things to be changed annotated

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