During summer vacation at the beach in August, 2017, I whipped up several pastel paintings of Breezy Point and its beach community.
This was one of the paintings. On the walk toward the beach from our home at Marion Walk, I came across this dunes scene. It was midday and the sun shed brilliant light on the greens and tans of the landscape.
The painting has sat in my collection for almost 8 months now, so I thought perhaps it is time to refresh it. I maintain a collection of unframed paintings, stored in a flat file until they are sold. As this one has hung around for a while, I decided to make some improvements. Here is my critique of the painting above:
1. The lighting in the field above the dunes is basically one value (with a bit of shade at the base on the shrubs and the tall shrubs at the horizon. Adding more value blocks (remember, composition can be conveyed in value as well as drawing), can add more character to the beach scene.
2. The foreground is rather flat and does not do enough justice to the variety of blemishes and divots that emerge on the sandy surface.
3. I had a bit of color problem with that green hue in the sand at the bottom left.
4. The foreground right tall grasses looked too dense and were missing "sky holes." In this case, they would be "sand holes" showing behind the stalks.
5. More color in the distance could be added, to take away from all that green.
Here is the revised painting:
Changes include the following:
1. Adding a lighter value in the field beyond he dunes. In particular, I added highlights to the flowery areas on the right. I also darkened a few areas with blues.
2. I broke up the sand in the foreground with more light blemishes
3. By darkening the field just above the tall flowers at the top of the dune, I was able to "bring out" the brightness of those flowers. When enhancing bright highlights, you can both add highlight color to the subject, as well as darken the background to help it "pop."
4. I added those "sand holes" to the grasses.
5. Finally, I introduced soft blues to the distant greens.
It often helps to display your paintings in progress in a different room in the house. As it sits on display, you may find various adjustment opportunities!
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