I worked on this painting plein air for five visits. I then cleaned it up a lot at home out of my head remembering the experience of being there on the beach.
This started a long time ago in my attic while painting with my kids. I wish I had photos of all the steps this one went through. Originally the land mass was much larger and the horizon was up near the top of the painting with little sky. The colors were very bold and straight from the tube. It was very dramatic (unlike me). I wasn’t happy with it so it sat untouched for months.
Eventually I moved the canvas to my basement and reworked it. I moved the horizon down and reduced the land mass. I knocked the colors way back to a more natural target. I’d painted at this location several times and composed the painting out of my head controlling how I wanted it to be orchestrated. I thought I’d try to do this in reverse and make the painting I wanted fitting the days I went out to paint it. Usually I get the painting that the weather and site dictates on the day and time I get to paint. When I was happy with the composition I started taking it down to the beach to work on it plein air trying to maintain my original construction. There was a lot of information missing that I could only get from observing the scene directly. I didn’t want this painting to be an abbreviation.
Most of my visits were on days when there were no waves. I got used to seeing this for weeks with no waves. When I finally got to visit on a day with good waves it changed the entire mood. I was used to it being much calmer and quieter so I may eventually do a smaller one with no waves.
Surfers End In January, acrylic on canvas, 24×36”