Here are a few progress shots on the Hatteras Island Dunes painting I last blogged about:
Though I am trying hard to address the picture as a whole, it is some kind of work just getting the canvas covered. I have been painting pretty small lately so I am kind of shocked at the amount of paint I'm mixing and using. I think this is especially true because I'm not used to using such an absorbent surface.
In the process of working solely from my painted studies, I've noticed that one of the main reasons I love the smaller alla prima pieces is the amount of broken color in the painting. Color is laid next to color, sometimes within the same stroke, and brush strokes aren't overly licked or blended. The result is that you can achieve a really fresh look with the little ones. It's not impossible to do this with the larger paintings, but you do have to really work wet-into-wet the whole time, and start loading on the paint to get that kind of effect. To have that kind of expectation with a painting of this size may very well be an exercise in futility, especially since I am not able to paint on it every day. On the other hand it is really impossible to replicate stroke-for-stroke what I have done in the smaller studies, as the brush size-to-canvas ratio would mean I'd likely have to turn to using house paint brushes!
So with these "reality checks" in mind, I am still striving to capture that fresh, breezy, beachy essence, even if the nature of this beast is very different from the original. I find myself working more background to foreground on the bigger paintings (rather than strictly dark to light) in order to keep the paint surface workable. Nevertheless, I am saving most of the lightest highlights toward the end because they are the most opaque and have the thickest application.