Happy New Year! Painting the 'Near the Thunder Hole' in Maine
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Tonight we're welcoming the new year! I think I can safely say that 2014 will be a very exciting and also challenging year for me and I'm looking forward to it.
In March I will have my first official solo show at the Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center in Wellsboro, PA. This show will feature mostly local scenes in Liberty, Blossburg, Wellsboro and other local areas as well as a short tour to Maine. The end of all my preparations is not yet in sight and soon I will have to start focusing on another milestone: the arrival of our baby boy who's due on Febuary 28th!
I'm currently in the process of trying to come up with a name for our son AND a title for my show :-)! 

2013 was another great, productive painting year. I also traveled quite a bit and saw many beautiful landscapes. One scene in particular inspired me to paint on a bigger canvas than I've painted on in the last two years. 

When I visited Acadia National Park this summer, I spotted this beautiful rock formation near the Thunder Hole. Most people would go straight to the Thunder Hole itself in hopes of witnessing giant waves and being splashed but the attraction itself, to me, is visually not all that interesting. Not like this scene. This rock formation particularly intrigues me because of it's wide-stretched outline, texture and colors (the actual colors are more vibrant than shown in this photograph). I'm also drawn to it precisely because most people don't take the somewhat adventurous path to view this scene. 
The day before I set out to paint, I made a pencil sketch first to determine what size canvas I'd need.
The next morning, I painted a 9"x36" sketch on location.(I taped 3 9x12" panels together with duct tape). It was a sunny but cold and very windy day. I have great equipment and a heavy duty tripod but at times I feared it would tip over or blow away!
While I was painting on location, I realized that this scene really deserved a much larger canvas. It would be a good studio project for the winter. The shape of the rock formation and its texture were just begging for long brushstrokes and big brushes.

I wanted to make a painting wide enough to fit above our bed or bathtub and would still fit in the car when I take it to shows. 60" would work. The trouble was the height. A 60" wide canvas would only allow for a 15" height and I felt that, while correct, this was too narrow for this scene.
So I ordered a roll of canvas, cut out a piece that would be sufficient for a 60" wide painting with a height of at least 20". It's still not nearly as big as I want it, but I have no room -yet- to do a 20 ft wide painting.

I taped the canvas to a big piece of masonite and set off to pushing the height of the rock formation without changing the essence of the scene. I focused only on the rock formation itself because adding more sky or foreground would weaken the composition.
So here I started with a wash of a Lemon Yellow. It was a sunny morning but the light was very cool, that's why I chose a cool yellow wash (mixed with just a speck of Alizarin Crimson (a cool red) and even less than a speck Sap Green. For the outlines I used Yellow Ochre. As you can see, at this stage, I've stretched the rock formation a little too much in height.
After some adjustments and defining all the darkest areas, I blocked in the colors. When blocking in, I use a version of the local color (the overall color of the rock formation), usually a little transparent and darker in value than the final layer. With a bristle brush and turpenoid, I wash off all the paint for the lightest areas.
Here I'm working on all the midtones, the rock formation and it's texture and different colors.
Then I can move on to the the light areas in the painting, such as the sea, the sky and finally, reflections of the sun on the rock formation.
I'm not quite done yet but close.
When the painting is dry, it will be stretched on a wooden frame work and then I'll make some final adjustments where necessary. 
By the way, this is the first time I'm painting on an unstretched canvas. I hope it works out!

For now, I'm wishing you all a healthy, happy and wonderful 2014!
Best regards, Bibi
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Best regards, Bibi
Copyright © 2013 Bibi Snelderwaard Brion, All rights reserved.

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