Trials And Errors In My Quest For Light and Life

sharkswavebuild 10x20

Waves crash into the reef at Sharks Cove on the North Shore of Oahu. Captured on video in 2011.

In all of my contemplations thus far as a painter, I have come to understand that the introduction of light is the most important element. Light is the top coat, the finisher, and ever so integrated in the story being told. Composition of the large shapes, the establishment of tonality and a focus on the essence of the subject matter are all important, but without light a painting will never be complete.

So how do I go about transforming my results to add light and life to my work? Fortunately, I am enrolled as a student at HKU (hard knock university). At 54, I don’t have time to waste with a more formal education so I scour the world of art through observation and I soak up inspiration like a sponge. I owe so much to the internet and as long as Kim Jong Un doesn’t “take it out” (and I don’t mean to dinner), I will continue to do so.   Currently, I’m learning about under paintings and glazings and I’m doing a lot of experimentation in hopes of achieving more vibrant results.

Have a gander at this unfinished work and give my your honest feedback if you will. The foam in the foreground in particular is what I’m struggling with. Do you like the hint of cotton candy? should I transform the hue one way or another?

Work In Progress - Winter Waves at Sharks Cove

Work In Progress – Winter Waves at Sharks Cove






19 thoughts on “Trials And Errors In My Quest For Light and Life

  1. I love seeing the process….Of course I think your fantastic but that doesn’t give you any constructive criticism…so the only think I would like to point out is that if you were to put black paper under the artwork when you photograph it…it would help in the over all effect for me. I was distracted in last photo by the paint on the canvases below.

  2. Michael, I also love seeing the process. First, it’s already a beautiful painting. Second, I am not an expert. However, you asked for thoughts about the foam in the foreground so here goes my attempt at positive criticism: I don’t know what hue is however, what I see in the foam is a lot of white with not a lot of color to contrast with it to make it stick out like foam. When I see the ocean coming up to the shore in real life, I see more “lines” of white separated by darker colors showing through from the sand or ground beneath. Make sense? I see the beginnings of that here but it doesn’t seem pronounced enough. Foam seems like it sits on top of the water. This one seems like too much white in the foreground. Over to the right of the picture it looks like you did foam well. But those are also a little higher waves where in the foreground it seems like you are trying to present the fading of the water to the shore but not quite making the foam still stand out. Sheesh. Describing my thoughts is not easy on this one.
    You could do nothing g to it at this point and I would still love it. 🙂

    • Thanks Bethany, What you are saying makes perfect sense. I actually set this one aside and started another in hopes of capturing the whole foam thing but I pulled back on the bright colors. Stay tuned for closure on this one. Hopefully I’ll post it in the next few days.

  3. Hi Michael, what a great idea to ask for suggestions. Here’s mine. Seeing as it is such a foamy day it needs a scud line where the foam meets the sand. A little line of foam with shadow. It would finish it off perfectly. Don’t touch the rest, looks great.

    • Meredith, I like this suggestion/critique thing as it helps me connect with other artists. Thanks so much for your comments. I definitely will add a nice scud line and shadow to finish it. 🙂

  4. It’s coming along beautifully! All you need are some shadows under the foam in the foreground and it will pop off the canvas! 🙂

  5. I can see your work getting stronger. I like your compositions very much. You are right about light, but don’t hold back on dark where needed. It is the contrast that will make your focal point pop. Also, don’t hold yourself back, stay loose. You are doing great!

  6. This is a great post, I enjoy seeing the comments also. I unfortunately have lived in the desert all my life so I’m not as familiar with how the ocean moves as your other readers. You have a good attitude though, to keep striving….

      • I’m going to go back to your blog and find the finished product and am sure it is far better than you are giving yourself credit for. I’m always my harshest critique. I can’t imagine painting sea foam!

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