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StudioSense: Stepping through the Jetty Painting

Hopefully soon I will do a time lapse video of a painting from start to finish. Since I haven't yet tackled that technology, I thought I would show various photos of my latest Breezy Point Jetty painting in several stages of completion. So here it goes:

Here is the reference photo:

Here is the initial sketch and value notes. The darkest values are the lower numbers (4-5 denotes the values of the jetty rocks).

Rough application of pastel, prior to diluting with alcohol and a paintbrush:

I began spreading the initial pastel blotches with a paintbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol. The trick here is to do the darks first, then clean the brush whenever you move on to a different value. Cleaning the brush will keep the values and colors reasonably intact, rather than all looking too dark.

I usually tell my students that their painting at this stage will look like a mess. Yup! Here I finished the diluted underpainting of the rocks in the scene.

Time to add the sky. Notice that I streaked pastel horizontally from blues at the top to pinks and orange at the horizon. I do not dilute the sky with rubbing alcohol. Being a strong light source, I like to retain the pure pastel pigment of the sky.

I then blend with my fingers. I noticed that using rubber gloves at this point doesn't blend as well as my hands. It's rather rough on the hands, and any lost layers of skin caused by the sanded paper go unnoticed.

Here's the blended sky. I will add more blue and purple haze later.

I continued to fill in the rocks and the water, working around the canvas to make various updates. The lightest values are in the crashing waves to the left of the jetty. I have left that area blank and will overlay it with high value blues, pinks, and white. There is also a color called "whitecap" in the Great American Artworks pastel collection from Jim Markle. I will use that for some splash highlights.

Here's a version with most of the pastel legwork completed. Alas, I noticed that the jetty was crooked. No fun, and I can't blame my ruler! So I fixed that problem and added further highlights and accents, seen in the next and final image.

I added some final highlights and accents to the water, rocks, and clouds. And what would a beach scene be without seagulls?

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