Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ocean Painting-- "Clouds Moving In"

"Clouds Moving In"

     Jacksonville, Florida's Atlantic Ocean beaches are long, wide, and ever-changing. The fascinating coastal skies also change often and look different every time we visit--we love living near this natural magnificence! 

     "Clouds Moving In", a 14" x 11" gallery-wrapped acrylic painting, portrays a late morning moment seen on a walk headed away from other beach goers. Happy to have a stretch of beach to myself, I took some reference photos and made notes about colors in the sky and water and the shifting shapes of the restless clouds.

     In previous ocean-front paintings (except for a sunrise scene painted for our son and his wife), I usually included dunes, sea oats, walkways, or other additional features of interest. This time, I wanted a view simply of beach, ocean, and sky with the focus on clouds building in the sky--a scene with its own kind of challenge in the simplicity. Preliminary sketches tested various composition possibilities. 

     Other projects (and life events) interrupted the painting process a few times. Periodic uncertainty about what to include and what to leave out also slowed the process, but I have finally decided (even with lingering uncertainty about a few aspects) to declare the piece "good enough" and "done". The seabirds rising were the final touch, adding a bit of life and movement to the scene.

     The palette for the work let the cool colors dominate with warmer tones in the sand and tinting some of the clouds. I used ultramarine and cerulean blue, Paynes grey, burnt sienna, and titanium white with touches of cadmium red light and cadmium yellow medium in some of the mixes.

Question of the day: Is it sometimes difficult for you to decide when a creative project is good enough to call "done"? 

P.S. Sorry the first link above ("previous ocean-front paintings") scoops up so many blog posts, some not as relevant as intended. I couldn't find a way to winnow them down, but feel free to take a look. A quick scroll through the batch will find any that might be of interest to you.



  1. I’m always inspired by visiting here. This is a beautiful peaceful scene.

    It is hard to decide on calling it done. Sometimes just walking away for a few minutes and returning, I’ll see the end!

  2. great painting :) makes me want to go to the beach :)

    unless its art having to do with printmaking, I don't think I ever really call things done

  3. Wow, so great to hear from two blogging friends in the same day; thank you!

    Jo, thanks for your encouragement, as always. It helps to know that others have a hard time deciding when a project is truly done. You are right that walking away can help (for me, there have been times I needed to put a piece away for a period of time and work on other things to gain the necessary perspective).

    Jennifer, I truly appreciate your upbeat compliments. Your response to the question of completion is interesting and instructive, and I'm grateful you took the time to reflect and comment.

  4. Dear Mary - this is a beautiful painting. Odd that you are painting skies because I have been considering doing a series of these also. Happy painting friend. Have a great day.

  5. Mary ~ lovely ocean painting ~ you have captured it well ~

    Happy Weekend to you
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  6. Amazing! Another "twofer"--two blogging posting lovely messages on the same day!

    How interesting, Debbie, that you are thinking of painting skies, too. I guess it's not really surprising; skies are endlessly changing and fascinating. My fellow painter and mentor, Linda Blondheim, says that our North Florida skies compensate us for a lack of mountains and can serve a similar function in compositions. I never would have thought of that, but she's right, I think. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    It's wonderful to hear from you, Carol; I appreciate your kindness and good wishes.