When painting from life I get much better results. These shells and the sea coral where all found shells at my area beaches. I pulled them from my collection and had fun getting back to basics with my watercolors.
My favorite tools:
Finding the right art supplies to work with can often take time to discover. After a lot of trial and error here are my favorites:
If you paint from photos you might understand the struggle of getting a good photo to paint from. I take a lot of photos and often they just aren’t inspiring enough to use for painting. This can get discouraging. I have been painting for a year or so now on a part-time basis and I feel like I came to a breakthrough with this one for the simple fact of being able to fudge the background to my liking.
I enjoyed painting the loose strokes of the beach goers walking the beach. This excited me so that I had to post about it. It’s often the background of a painting that sets the stage for the most important part.
This week I had the opportunity to fix a small painting I did a few years ago. My goal was to pull the harsh blue highlights out of the banana bloom as well as the leaf fronds and lighten the background to bring more attention to the perching bird in the foreground. The beauty of acrylic painting is the artist can cover mistakes with fresh paint! I have seen other artists do this and I thought I would have a go at it.
I love the bright color of the bird against the tropical background and thought the canary was worth bringing forward. I hope the little canary is happier now that he is the center of attention by making him the focal point.
I happen to click a blurred photo of mother and daughter meandering around the beach. I actually enjoyed painting from the blurry shot. Less to consider while painting I guess.
While I was engrossed in this painting, I tried to imagine a story of the two people in it. Escaping a busy life comes to mind pretty quickly. The mother and daughter seemed lost in their surroundings. I imagine their beach-going vacation as a great release from a busy life elsewhere. Whatever my assumptions, I see a mother and daughter each in their separate worlds yet connected through a strong bond and love of nature.
When I was young I began work as a graphic artist on Sanibel Island. It seems like a lifetime ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. One of our yearly projects was putting together a small shelling guide. This always happen around an event called the Sanibel Shell Fair. People from all over still come to Sanibel to proudly display their shells in both scientific and artistic divisions for the fair.
Working on the shelling guides, I became familiar with all sorts of shells coming to our shores. I even did some shelling myself. The shell in my latest painting is titled: Tidal Tulip. If you looked in one of the old shelling guides you would find its common name is true tulip.
Along with my shell collection I gathered friendships with women I worked with in the office. It was hard work with deadlines looming, but often times lots of fun. People come in and out of our lives and those memories leave impressions for us to look back on. I’m glad I got to learn about all the shells in our area, but am also thankful for the women I got to know during that time in my life.