China Cove:
Session 1

In the first session I layout the overall composition. This design mode continues in other subsequent early sessions. Judging the proportion and scale of the major shapes like the emerald foreground cove compared to the cobalt sea above are the first considerations. They balance with the amount of sky and the shapes of the close up cliff faces and and background peninsula.

I draw these proportions in with a pointed round sable brush using a neutral color and adjust as necessary staying true to the experience. In addition, I set up the real "point of view" which depicts my position to these elements. This is accomplished by showing the scale of the foreground, close mid ground, mid ground, closer distant space and elements in the distant space and how they relate to the four edges of the format.

As this design plays out I place color keys into these different zones which is the other major element involved in the composition. The color keys set up how the zone colors relate to each other to place them into a greater context.

China Cove:
Session 8

These large shapes that were established in the early sessions are developed over time. As the painting continues the colors and drawing of shapes are modified to become more specific to what I really see. It is my goal to paint nature as I see it instead of to consciously abstract from the subject. Color is adjusted by layering over the previous colors which is a positive aspect of working in oils.

By mixing and applying colors in small blotches it is necessary to compare them to other parts of the subject to gain a greater context. When I get closer to my visual experience I believe the picture becomes more expressive.

China Cove:
Session 15

This painting was made over the course of 26 outdoor sessions over time. These sessions took place while standing on the pathway at Point Lobos State Reserve working in the morning light. Like a cinematographer a painter also figures out when the shadows are most interesting and descriptive as they fall on the focal. I chose the morning light because shadows were cast from the pines above onto the emerald cove.

Also, because most of the cliff face remained in shadow during the morning hours. In the morning the shadowed cliff face with all its complexity did not detract from the stunning emerald color of China Cove.

China Cove:
Session 24

During about the fourth session I added a medium to mix with each color as I create the small blotches on the pallet that will be applied to the canvas. The medium contains a one third mix of damar varnish, stand oil and gum turpentine. This contributes to the layering style which over time may produce a pleasing aesthetic and is visible in this time lapse description.

The drawing is modified even into the subsequent later sessions as a type of "reboot." These changes plus those continuously happening in nature like, with clouds in the sky, surging seas and seasonal foliage also add a challenge and flex to the process like a "reboot." These changes may seem unsettling to some but serve a purpose as they help keep the results more fresh, less formulaic and might elude to the magic of a continuum witnessed in nature. I never consider a painting finished--I just stop working on it!