Almost Blue: Outer Banks Modern Day Two


One of the more exciting parts of painting is learning about a subject or a composition through the work. I obviously liked the yellow house image enough to paint it, but as I laid down the preliminary sky, house, and street to set the colors I keyed in on a few points and got a better understand of what interested me.

1. The color of the blue sky. This is going to be a very important part of the painting–so important that I had to buy new paints– W&N cerulean blue and Daniel Smith cobalt blue–to go with my standard Maimeri Blu primary blue cyan (pb 15:3), Prussian blue, and ultramarine. I did a lot of testing in preparation for this part before settling on cerulean and cobalt blue as core colors in a wet in wet application to lay down the first layer last night. It’s grainy an incomplete as shown. Now I need to saturate the sky more, and I think apply some ultramarine at the very top. I want the sky to be compelling and deep with a dramatic fade because it should grab the view and direct it to the house. It’s almost there. Incidentally, as my title suggests, all this focus on blue has gotten me crooning in a mumbly way that great Elvis Costello song “Almost Blue.”

2. The arrows and arcs, color and value contrasts that should lead the viewer to the top left of the house. The yellow set against the purple/blue cloud should be compelling once fully painted. It’s going to be an interesting slanted spectrum from the top right to the middle-bottom left once fully painted.

Also, I love seeing the last holdouts of blue skies set against a coming storm, so I decided to step up the drama by having stormier clouds, painted with cobalt, cerulean, ultramarine, quinacridone magenta, and burnt sienna. I need to refine these more, probably scrubbing and lifting as well as shaping, but will do so after I paint the foliage and ground so I keep the values appropriate.

For tonight, I plan to tackle the foliage and get the yellow of the house set. That should set up the composition pretty well for more decisions on the clouds, sky, and shadows. Then it will be on to the final details. I am feeling good about where this is going. Thanks for reading. I hope to post some more progress late tonight.