Reflections on Refractions and Other Pesky Details

"Blue Over Green" (16x20) acrylic on canvas

“Blue Over Green” (16×20) acrylic on canvas

“What we need is more sense of the wonder of life and less of this business of making a picture” – Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I admire the painter who can capture the essence of a given subject with one pass of the brush, or maybe two. When I paint something new, I often find that I capture the way that it feels with relative ease and speed. Then, as I add elements to make it more accurate or more finished, it begins to lose its emotional impact. I get caught up trying to make it look like think it should rather than how I want it to, which results in a great deal of time spent in frustration and everything I liked about the early painting gets lost in the shuffle. Ultimately, my efforts usually go full circle and I end up with what I intend, but not without going through this left brain – right brain tug of war.

In this painting I tried to represent tide pools along the north shore of Oahu as I remember them from video and photos that I’ve taken. The important thing here was to capture the warmth of the sunny afternoon and the adventurous feeling that being there gave me. The challenge of course was to find a way to represent the motion, texture, reflection and refraction of the scene without becoming overwhelmed with how those details should look. I’m pretty happy with it as a first attempt and be re-visiting this spot again to try to make it better.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Refractions and Other Pesky Details

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