Boys on beach

Following some very interesting threads on technique, I decided to try something new. Leslie offered some valuable background information on the way she paints, mixing colours on the paper in washes rather than in the palette. So I decided to give it a go. I cheated a little as I used inks… and I think I’m going to need a lot more practice.
This painting was produced from a photo my dear wife took of our boys on a local beach during the summer. I thought it would prove a good subject to try out Leslie’s technique. A slightly rude awakening lay in store. However, I don’t take my self too seriously not to be able to post a hard lesson in the steep curve of mastering a new technique!

This skilled approach really exposes your limitations as an artist, and if I didn’t see it before, I do now! Looking back on Amber’s recent post ‘Tears in the Rain’ which was beautifully rendered and Barry Coombs watercolour workshops, I’m stuck between where I want to be. The colours in Barry’s pumpkins are a joy as are the washes in Leslies work.  Carol King’s – ‘Venus’ and Linda Halcomb’s ‘Abstract’ are all so clever… not forgetting Sonya’s magnificent ‘Mendaur and the first signs of Autumn.’

Boys on beach

I want so much to be able to use the richness of colour like you all, alas for now; I’ll continue to be a humble sketcher, with a little colour here and there. Lesson learnt. Practice-focus and remember the fingers are slaves to the imagination. I imagine it’s time for a glass of wine!

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22 Replies to “Boys on beach”

  1. Keith! You definitely have more color in this painting than many of your others. I like how the boys stand out and I like the green and blue together in the wave in the distance. Plus, I have always admired your ink strokes in your paintings. I think I would be hardpressed to mix colors on papers such as Strathmore or Bockingford papers I can only achieve what I do on Saunders Waterford and Arches papers that are either coldpress or rough. Also, I have never tried it with pan paints. I use tube colors. So, in light of that, this is exceptional! Thank-you for the mention of my work. Paint on….I love what you do and especially like the richness of color you have been achieving, lately!

    1. I took this project very seriously, but disappointment is only a brush stroke away. For a while it was working,
      but I fell into the trap of working it to much! I’m trying to simplify my work, but looking back at the boys on the beach
      I just see the ‘same old mistakes’. I should have stopped sooner, but it had no depth and that’s were I always stumble, searching
      for contrast in dark shades rather than colour. If that doesn’t make any sense it’s because I can’t just put my finger on the problem,
      if I could I’d be as accomplished as some of the rest of you. I keep trying and as always really appreciate your constructive feedback.

  2. How lovely to see your boys at the beach! I think the color and feel is just beautiful. Ink seems like it would be quite difficult to work with, and to mix on the paper is a technique that scares me a little…challenging, so less controlled, yet very cool. I think we all struggle with where we want to be artistically. I keep showing my husband your work and saying to him, “HIS sketches look so wonderful and full of life, but mine come out cartoony!”. I hope your wine was something red! 🙂

    1. I took a risk using ink, but figured it might be easier to control on wet paper. It all seemed to be working
      for a while, before becoming overworked. You’re spot on about finding where we want to be… and I’m lost 🙂 I’m also flattered
      you think my sketches are wonderful, I just wish I could bridge the gap from sketch to painting! The wine was
      an Australian Shiraz, although we do enjoy the California wines too! Have you ever tried painting under the influence?… never a good idea!
      Thanks again for your feedback Amber- always appreciated.

      1. Seems like other people appreciate our art differently than we ourselves. For me I find sketching now harder than painting. The color can hide a multidude of errors, and you can’t erase ink 😉 The simlicity of the sketch is it’s beauty. Glad to hear you are a wine fan!! There is just nothing like a glass of red, and some cheese…. mmmmmm. Some of my best photo manipulations came about under the influence, but painting? Oh no,lol. It’s disastrous! hehe

      2. I try really hard to plan each painting before I begin. I set my sights on where the painting should go, but so often, lack of technique
        lets me down. It doesn’t worry me so much these days, I sneak back into my comfort zone until I’m tempted to have another go.
        We’re BIG wine fans in this house (too much so). My wife and I both enjoy whites and reds, depending on what we’re cooking.
        Tonight we enjoyed a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with our fish. Would love to hear about the wines you enjoy.

  3. I think we all have our own media – what works well for one person might not fit in with another’s psyche, so don’t be so hard on yourself. You might not have achieved what you’d wanted, but it’s still a lovely painting in its own right – let it live as itself rather than something forced to be another’s style.

    Y’know, it takes time to be able to take on other styles, one usually has to grow into them. While experimenting with others’ styles and media is fine, developing our own from the inside out is probably more natural in the long run.

    1. Val, I think you’re right. Yet it’s difficult not to become inspired when you look at other peoples own style. I shifted from one medium
      to another for years trying to pin down who I am and what I’m about-never finding an answer and I’m not sure if there is one.
      However, of late I’ve tried to simplify things, trying to make each line and brush stroke have a purpose. This painting was another ‘toe in the water’
      so to speak. The fact that it didn’t come off is okay with me. I might try painting it again in a style I’m more at home with (if there is one)
      Really appreciate your feedback and take every bit of what you say onboard!

  4. Keith, I think you did a great job with color in this one. I love the greens and blues of the water. I love your boys with their bare legs and their jackets on, telling me it wasn’t that hot that day.

    And you did a fantastic job on getting the wetness of the sand and the reflections of the boys legs.

    This is a beautiful painting.

    1. Thank you Carol, I got into a right old muddle with this painting, but looking back on it now, I don’t dislike it as much as I did.
      I love painting the children, I know it’s a corny subject, but I am getting old! I thought the reflections were the best part too!
      Really appreciate your feedback and loved your ‘Sketchbook’.

  5. On reading through this I have to say I totally agree with what Val Erde has said here. It’s true you can get a lot of inspiration from looking at artwork & I’m sure over the years all these experiences must become somehow sort of assimilated. Of course sometimes you can also feel a bit overwhelmed but then I’d say just believe in yourself & don’t be put off.
    When I hadn’t done any serious artwork for a long time I found the only way was to start from where I’d left off & see where it took me.
    Personally I found exploring optical colour mixing with watercolor very interesting & I think you can learn a lot about colour from it if that’s what you want to explore more of. I think the layering aspect can be useful if you’re looking for the essential structure & don’t want just to rely on line. Everyone’s different though so in the end it still comes back to finding your way & what I’ve just said is probably just my own egocentric viewpoint!

    1. Thank you for your reply. I too think Val was spot on, and since her reply I’ve really enjoyed reading through her blog. I’d love to learn more about ‘optical colour mixing’
      so I’m off for a google. I worked for years as a visulaizer, before the days of Macs and DTP. We used fine liners and magic markers. The line was always crucial and a lot
      of that is still in me. Building up layers of colour with magic markers in theory should be similar to watercololurs but it isn’t! I like you egocentric view point! I also love your trees!

  6. Oh dear- I just left a comment here & I hadn’t noticed that my son (Kai)was still logged in for his blog-he’ll kill me if he knows because when you are a teenager you do NOT want to be connected to mum!! Sorry about that!

  7. I often have irrational, negative responses to my work. The subjective side of the process can be very powerful and can polarize our feelings. This is not helpful, as a rule. Paintings are rarely all good or all bad. I learned to throw them on the pile and appraise them at a later date. Sometimes, I discover a new element in the piece that I wasn’t prepared for at the time and it went down the ‘bad’ channel because I didn’t see the good in it. Like your wine, paintings and drawings often need a bit of aging.

    1. You’re right of course. I go through much of my old work wondering what I’ve lost!, much of it seems to be the work of someone else. I toss them in a folder behind the piano
      and forget about them. Years later they have merits that I didn’t see at the time (well a few do). I’m trying too hard at the moment. I decided to be more disciplined in my approach and to think more before I started to paint. I think I’m thinking too much! (Two thinks in one sentence) Time for bed!

  8. Now this one stole my heart the second I set my eyes on it. The Beach! I miss it very much this time of year. I spend my summers at the beach and the winter is so blah in comparison to it.
    The painting is excellent. I wouldn’t mind hanging this one up in my living room
    Well done, Keith. 🙂

  9. Our children are our truest gifts, and worthy of painting.
    I’d like to add that where all the artists you have mentioned, that I am familiar with are extremely excellent artists. I follow Leslie’s blog quite frequently and have learned much from her. Thank you, Leslie.
    This piece you have done is of fine quality, and truly is to someone who is looking for it. There is no right way, or wrong way in my opinion as is I believe all are is beautiful for being one of a kind. To me it’s more about discovers while we are practicing.
    Cheers!

    1. I only include those who offer new direction and inspiration. There’s a few artists in there who make me laugh with their narrative. Leslie’s works is beautiful, Val’s narrative is compelling, Amber’s paintings and photography are stunning, there are others too, Barry (genius), Linda (genius), Carol (genius), Sonya (genius), Richard North at the Arts Web Show (genius) all very talented people!

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