The work seems about finished to me, but you will notice that it is not yet signed. That means it will rest for awhile so that I can live with it and decide if any further tweaking is desirable. As I have mentioned before, knowing when to stop revising is both crucial and difficult in any art form. The piece is based on reference photos from a June visit to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean over the dunes. All along Jacksonville's offshore islands, the dunes are protected so that natural vegetation and critters can thrive; beach visitors may cross to the beach only on boardwalks.
For those of you who are interested, here are the main details of the revision. Probably the most noticeable change is the stronger, darker fence. Since it is the focal point, it needed more drama in size and tonal value. Even those of you who paint may not guess what gave me the most trouble in this piece--it's the top half of the dune on the right. In the earlier version, the tall grasses drew attention to themselves and distracted both from the fence and from the bright wildflowers that I considered a secondary focal area. As Linda and I considered various possible fixes, I first painted the grass out completely but did not like the look of the dune completely bare either. My final solution was to cover more of that dune with grasses, carefully keeping them soft, nearly uniform, and neutral in tone so that they would blend with the dune and not pull attention away from more important areas. Other changes in tonal balance (degrees of dark and light) on the horizon line, on the sunlit left dune top, and in the foreground increased the interest and drama of the scene. The ocean is deliberately kept as a quiet area, somewhere for the viewer's eye to rest, as one looks out toward an interesting, but not overly dramatic, sky. The painting now captures my impression of that lovely June day.
Question of the day: In your creative projects, do you enjoy the ups and downs of the process, or do you feel impatient for completion?