“Distant Isles”: oil 18×14 inches

Every so often I work a sea- or cloudscape entirely from imagination; like this one. Deep blues with touches of pink and mauve have always been a favourite colour combination of mine; unfortunately it is also rather tricky to photograph because digital cameras often fail to pick up the purple hues.

The origin of this painting was actually a much smaller one, worked with a few blue-greys and bits and bobs of alizarin, rose-pink and ochre (also “made up”). Feeling the need to push on and create some larger pieces for online gallery display, I used the small work as a starting point for a new, larger one. Almost immediately the rainy-day effect kicked in as the sky was being brushed on, so I darkened it further to create rain-veils.

With a sharply defined focal point of watery sunshine, my tendency to exaggerate contrasts came forward, presenting itself in the dark purple-blue of the seawater, made from thalo blue, ultramarine and a little zinc white here and there, with the more opaque cobalt blue. The distant islands actually created themselves, from overlapping sea and sky colour; I just defined them a little more to look like land. There is not much brushwork in this picture; some in the sky and beach, but mostly palette-knife for the sea-water.

The foreground was made simply with yellow ochre, a touch of gold paint and a little burnt sienna here and there; overlaid with mixed blues as before.

In some areas, cold wax was used in small amounts to spread the paint out, mixed with a little liquin. The backlit waves were made with white plus random mixes of pink with the blues, anything really that was left over on the palette. Some foreground waves were painted with a finger.

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