Eastport Shades of the Past

Shades of the Past Gouache on card stock
I've been experimenting with small painted sketches, working out different ideas for subjects including utilizing differently cropped perspectives which keeps the subject focused yet implies a lot of distance outside of the view.
This scene was taken from an on location watercolor I completed a few summers ago in Eastport, ME.  I was struck by the play of shadows on the sunlight face of an abandoned factory just off main street.
As a student of history, I could just imagine the harbor filled with three and four masted schooners in its heyday and I decided to alter the pattern of the shadows on the factory to represent that history.

#robertkahlerlandscapepainting #workingmethods #sketchingwithpaint #eastport #maine

Overcast Day at the coast

Overcast Day at the Coast Acrylic 3" by 5"
This is another small seascape I painted after doing some detail work on a larger painting.  It's an imaginary scene but based on many years of exploring the Maine coast.  I find these quick sketches to be very freeing.  
I go through different phases of sketching.  A few years ago it was a deep exploration of pen and ink. Lately it's been small color sketches in watercolor and acrylic from imagination.  I keep being reminded of how each work informs future works.  While I was painting this small sketch I had a an unplanned trip.  I didn't do it consciously, but when I mixed the paints I flashed back to living over a garage in Westbrook, working on landscape painting with our new arrival (Ari) asleep in the living room.  
It was just one brushstroke but as the paint mixed on the canvas I was transported back nearly a quarter of a century.   This is also what I love about painting on location.  The intense focus and observati…

Islands Edge

Island's Edge  Acrylic 12"x 16" 
I had originally envisioned this painting with a bright clear sky with almost silver reflections off the sea.  But as I began to work on it, I wanted to focus on more color in the surf - which would lend itself more to an active storm.  I wanted to vary the colors in the sky more than a storm would allow so I decided to focus on after a storm with patches of blue sky and storm clouds breaking up.  It would take awhile for the surf to return to normal.  I also decided to have the time of year be late fall which would allow us to see through the wind  blown scrub brush clinging to the cliffs.
I enjoy the creative process whether it goes exactly as I had planned or, as in this case, it goes in another direction.

Small Seascape

While doing some detail work on a larger seascape, I began working on some small paintings for a couple of reasons.
For one, I don't like focusing for a long time on small detail work, so I need to break things up.  Also, the yankee in me hates to waste any paint.  If I have paint left over I try to do a small painting - like the one above.  If the paints do not lend themselves to a monochrome or a painting like above, I will use it to put a first coat on a canvas if I have any about.
Below are a few other examples of smalls.  Some of which will be simple studies and abandoned.  Others will lead to other painting journeys.  All, good or bad, complete or incomplete, do help inform my future paintings.  Any day painting is a good day!

Currently on Display

Breaker - Cape Elizabeth Oil on Canvas Board 12" x 16"
This painting is currently on display in the members show at River Arts Gallery in Damriscotta through August 15th.

Lessons Learned - Is your painting complete or it it finished?

Ammonnoosuc River - Watercolor on Paper
I did some detail work on my large watercolor of the Ammonnoosuc River in Northwestern New Hampshire.  On the lower left, was the early pass at the subject.  I will, from time to time, revisit a subject.  As I had left the picture, it struck me as close to what I was trying to achieve, but overall too dark.  It was accurate feel for the day and time, but the river didn't match the sky.  I decided to just leave things as they were for the time being to get some distance.  Often in Nature - there are times and locations that are quite interesting and moving, but they don't necessarily translate into a strong composition or painting without some artistic license.
There were parts of the picture that seemed flat to me, not enough of a difference in value.  I wanted to increase the interest throughout the picture while not confusing the eye with too much detail.  I remember vividly my first art show many years ago.  I was not really ready to sh…

Rocks and Wildflowers Round 2

Rocks and Wildflowers - 2nd Pass Acrylic 12" x 16"

                                              Rocks and Wildflowers Two Lights
The picture above left was the first pass at the painting, the picture on the right is the finished painting.
In addition to adding the wildflowers, I also did a little color work in the rocks, and some slight compositional changes to the water , rocks, and shrubs which I think made the composition a bit more dramatic.
I may even scale this painting up to an 18" by 24" or a 24" x 36"  There are so many compositional possibilities let along different seasons.
I've included a link to the previous post which describes a bit more about the genesis of this particular painting below.