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Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Denman Tidepool" 8"x10"

This plein air piece was a great challenge, kinda like doing a still life outdoors. I loved the mussels and anemones nestled together, and the kelp drifting back and forth in the shallow water casting shadows on the wall of the pool. Too much fun!

As promised, here are the two great tips I got from Robert Genn last month on Vancouver Island. The first one was offered up mid-day, as I was finally getting around to putting my first stroke on my canvas. He looked up at me from his pile of 2 and 1/2 paintings in progress and said, "It's about time you stopped fooling around  and got to work." When I remarked that I needed all of that 2+ hours to get inspired, he said, "No, you don't. You need to arrive at your spot, find a comfortable place to set up, and start painting. Inspiration will come".  I tried this in the following days and found he was often right.

Valuable tip # 2: He suggested that wandering around looking through the viewfinder of a camera for the perfect composition while painting on location could actually be detrimental to one's process. It could in fact even be mistaken for procrastination. His approach is to look around at the elements in the place that inspire him, these trees, that aerial perspective, the logs to the right on the beach, a certain pattern of clouds in the sky, how the light was when he arrived - and pull what moves him into his painting, instead of expecting all those elements to be laid out perfectly in front of him waiting to be painted. This is much trickier as it involves great design skills (which he has in spades). It also has a ring of truth to it, and is definitely something to shoot for.


  1. This is lovely and what an unusual subject to paint, how original. I like it very much.

  2. Thanks for coming by for a visit, Liz. I like the light/shadow and warm/cool in this one. And, I'm with Robert, as I say and do before plein airing, "Put your hands in the air like you don't care!" (It's a combination of surrender to the experience with dive right in fearlessness!)

  3. I about fell off my chair - YOU procrastinate?!!!

    It's a beautiful painting, Liz. I love the arrangement and the orange - purple/blue compliments.