Suntan oil and salt spray drift beneath the falsetto pleas of gulls as I finish a small plein air seascape painting of the morning. An exercise that began with a sense of vagueness, and ended with a feeling of accomplishment.

I have not wasted the morning, nor let the light pass unnoticed.

Capturing the quickly changing colors of a seascape sunrise is a challenging occupation.  After laying in the major lines; horizon, darker waves, cloud suggestions, I lightly touched the canvas with patches of color. Reminder notes.

With this painting, in the beginning, I leave it open for expectant beauty. The light is orange at first, too intense, and so I wait. You can see bits of it remaining below the cloud at the horizon. It is not the quality of light I seek.

I want a quiet beauty, and so I keep the tonalities close, I am looking for colors for my egg tempera paintings. Waiting for the orange to subside, on the verge of scraping the canvas down any moment, I press on. Then, the color came in the shadows and light, quickly touching my brush here and there, I made more color notes, fixing the image in my mind.

The subtle colors were already changing, so I diverted my eyes from the sea and become involved with painting my impression of it from memory.

In a way, every painting from life is a memory painting. Each time you look away from your subject to your painting, for a few seconds you hold your subject in your memory. You are essentially painting the visual information you retain in your memory.

How many innumerable biological functions are processed in those few seconds? A lifetime of associations and experiences filtered in those firing neurons.

This is why its important for an artist to remain true to him or herself. The work you do can be done by no other. It is unique to you, one of a kind, no other exists like it in the world. Your imagination, intellect and soul create art.

Your art. It is you.

About the seascape painting:

Marine Study
Plein air, oil on linen panel
6 x 8 inches.

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