Sunday, October 11, 2015


         When the Sea Sparkles | Pastel | 9x12

Generally, fairly early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sky is mostly clear and the sun shining brightly, there is a sparkle that happens on the sea surface that is almost blinding.  We all love this seeing this bright sparkling light, I think, because it enlivens us. Sure does for me!  
I had a really small flat area against the rocks and cliff to stand while I painted this. The high tide was coming in and the only thing that saved me from being inundated by the waves was the steep rise to my rocky platform. Nearby, local youths were at play and the ever-present smell of weed that is ubiquitous in this area of Humbolt County kept wafting towards me - and it was mid morning! Yikes!

Painting notes:  Trying to capture the sparkle's pure light is tough in painting - you can't draw it in with charcoal or pencils very well, it's tough with watercolor as the 'pure white' is only possible by not covering the sparkles while letting the white paper come through. Leaving open areas in a dark background are one of few ways to achieve with these mediums.Oils are a challenge as they don't do the 'splatter pattern' that well, even with a palette knife. Acrylics are the good for capturing this as the whitest white can be splattered over the surface. Pastels, however, in my experience, are not only great at it but fun to do! Just skipping lightly across the paper, adding a few dots and even dissolving the white or white/yellow pastel with alcohol and splattering it with a stiff brush!

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