Monday, March 22, 2010

Learning--North Florida Beach Painting, Final Version

Here is a better photo of the 16" X 12" dune and beach scene from a reference photo taken on a calm day at Jacksonville Beach in coastal North Florida. A few posts ago, I described the painting process and the revisions in this piece from a combination of my own ideas and the expert advice I received from my mentor Linda Blondheim's e-critique service. An added hint of low waves breaking just over the sight line of the dip in the dunes is one small change not in this photo. Since I forgot to take another picture before I added the final coat of satin finish medium to the painting, I am posting this photo. It is much more difficult to get an accurate photo after the medium is on, given slight reflective areas under any normal lighting conditions. Dune Shadows is now signed, sealed and ready for sale.
I loved getting your comments on the previous post. My favorite comments reflected a preference for a previous version with more of an opening in the dune grasses. Even though that is a gentle criticism of the final version, I didn't mind at all. The fact that some of you were disappointed that there was no longer an obvious way down to the beach struck me as a very positive reflection on the painting. What I hear in those comments is that viewers are actually putting themselves "into the picture", and I am delighted by that. Besides, no one is supposed to cross over the dunes as they are protected, both for the sake of the natural vegetation and critters living there and to help prevent erosion (not that a mental crossing when viewing a painting hurts anything).
I have a nice set of photos of a wooden walkway nearby, one of many crossings up and down the miles of gorgeous beach on our city's off-shore island. When I figure out what angle I'd like and how best to compose the scene, I'll start on a painting just for all y'all who want to run into a painting and onto that beach. Thank you for giving me the idea for a new work.
Question of the day: Isn't feedback wonderful? I love hearing reactions to my work, even thoughtful negative ones (in moderation :>) as I continue my lifelong learning journey.


  1. Oh boy. I hate critiquing anyone's work and do not ask for it myself. Even when well-meant, it has a tendency to hurt one's feelings. I am so sorry if my words had that effect, Mary. When I look at any art, I react emotionally to what I see. I often can put myself in the scene and I usually like things others might not. If it is different, I like it (ok, unless it is downright weird or truly ugly! LOLOL)! One of the first paintings I did in my watercolor class was a similar to this scene beach painting with a broken down (weathered by the elements) fence. I am often torn by the dilemma in my secret dreams of whether I'd prefer to live by the ocean or up in the mountains amongst the trees. I am truly mesmerized by the movement of the seas, their colors, the magnificence. The only reason I usually end up choosing the mountain/trees scenarios is because it doesn't stink like fish. LOLOL So anyway...I ramble...This is beautiful and you were right to follow your vision. Much better than my own, for sure!

  2. Autumn, my feelings were not hurt at all--I loved hearing your thoughts about the work in progress. You can always trust that whenever I ask readers what they think about something, I really do want to know what they think. No way am I just fishing for compliments. Of course, I enjoy hearing that someone genuinely likes a painting, but I am always intrigued to know the specific pros and cons viewers see in a work. I learn a great deal from hearing feedback. Sometimes, it helps me see a needed change, and at other times, I keep the work the same, while still appreciating the insights of others.

    It's fun to hear about your secret dreams of places to live. We have been fortunate to live in several different areas of this beautiful, blessed country and have delighted in the unique beauty of each place.

  3. Mary, the finished piece is lovely! Congratulations! You can always trust Sherry (Autumn Leaves) and me to give you our well thought out critique when you ask for it! Glad you followed your heart - it couldn't be more beautiful! Bet it will be "sold" before you know it! Now we're waiting for the wooden walkway painting!

  4. Thank you, Rosemary. I'm glad I can trust you both for honest feedback because it is so valuable to me. Regarding the walkway painting (thanks for the encouraging "nudge" :>), I am working on its composition and value map now. The reference photo I have of the walkway is super, with great shadows from the handrail part of it, so I want to keep that part and not alter the light source angle. But other elements in the photo need a bit of juggling to create an truly interesting scene. The painting goes so much better if I take time on the planning and sketching first.

  5. Dune Shadows is lovely, Mary! Oh what a valuable thing to have trusted ones for gentle critiques. I find that contributes to learning and growth in a huge way. I'm sure that Linda's services have been outstanding in this area also. I've taken advantage of her coaching services, and have been so very pleased. Keep painting!

  6. You are such a honey, Jean! Thank you for your kind (and greatly valued) words of encouragement. Yes, I completely agree on the value of gentle critiques--even unkindly expressed feedback has sometimes been helpful in content, but is, of course, much less agreeable to hear. I'm glad to know you have also been pleased with Linda's coaching services, although your work is so impressive, it's hard to believe that a coach would have much to say. Linda is a treasure indeed.