Recently I made a day trip to paint a few locations along the coast.
In typical fashion, I was up early and off. These days can often feel kind of crazy as I'm getting started, especially when I'm waking and leaving the in dark. I often don't know exactly where I'm going, I don't know what I'm going to find to paint, and it often feels just a little bit insane. Sometimes I don't even know if I'm going to head north or south until I hit the intersection that requires making a choice.
Then I get to the coast as the sun is coming up and I start to forget all my misgivings.
Last week I had exactly one of those kinds of days. I found this spot just south of Davenport (near Santa Cruz, CA) that I'd never been to. I parked, hiked up and over a bluff, and voilà !
Here's a pict showing the scene. Notice how flat the top of the bluff was. I forced a lot of redesign into the painting to improve this part of the design.
I use the location primarily for inspiration and for color/value reference. It's lucky when you get can interesting shapes out of a landscape too (rather than having to make all those up).
"You Must Be Bluffing", 9x12, oil
Few painting locations are perfect. More often than not, items need to be rearranged to make a pleasing composition.
"Glaring Gap", 12x12, oil
This next one I did that day happened to have some crazy and interesting shapes. This one I didn't have to manipulate too much. The main change I had to make was to alter that middle rock because it looked in real life too much like a submarine :-)
After all the craziness and driving probably over 3 hours total that day, it all feels worth it when I capture a moment or two in a painting. It keeps me coming back for more, and gets me up in the dark again the next time. Insane - yes. But worth it.