Lonely Boat on the Beach – Evolution of a painting

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The painting depicts a sailboat resting on the beach, on a calm summer midday. The intention with this painting was to be able to give a feeling of open air and space with lots of light, like you get on an open beach at mid-morning or early afternoon. In order to achieve this I had to use very light colors. This is always tricky because if you just add white you risk lowering your color values too much and losing the vibrance of the overall painting. So I decided to patiently mix several combinations of colors from my primaries, forcing myself to not use white in the sky and ocean (later I used white to add some clouds in the sky and some highlights in the ocean waves).

The beach and boat were a different story. One main thing I wanted to deliver here was the idea of a white sandy beach. For this I decided to mix a few gray shades from my primaries. I ended up having two series of gray mixes, one was tilting slightly on the cool side (had more blue in it) and one was tilting slightly on the warm side (had more red in it). After testing both series in the beach area of the painting, I quickly decided that the warmer gray series was what I needed. The warmer gray helped adding a little bit of excitement for the eye. I had to force myself to use only the light values in the series in order to not adding too much drama and maintaining the original idea of freshness and brightness of the overall painting. At the very end I added a very light yellow light to the boat to make it contrast a little more against the beach.

Note that for my primaries I use most of the time Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, and Cadmium Red Medium. Most people use some kind of light red as their primary, but with a medium red you force yourself to be more careful in the amount of red you’ll add to your mixes and in the end this works out much better.

Steps 1 – Locking in the sky and ocean:

Lonely Boat on The Beach - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10 inches - STEP 1

 

Steps 2 – Locking in the closer waves, the beach and main shadows on the boat:

Lonely Boat on The Beach - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10 inches - STEP 2

 

Steps 3 – Starting detailing the wrapped sail:

Lonely Boat on The Beach - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10 inches - STEP 3

 

Steps 4 – Maybe adding a few umbrellas would not be a bad idea:

Lonely Boat on The Beach - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10 inches - STEP 4

 

Steps 5 – Finishing up with the boat and beach details:

Lonely Boat on The Beach - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10 inches

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