Hatteras Island W.I.P.

I’m starting something new (and big) today of the Hatteras Island dunes. It’s a motif I have been exploring for a while now, though mostly in my field studies.

Outer Banks coastal landscape painting Jennifer Young

I’m painting this on a 30×40″ gallery wrapped canvas, which is a little more absorbent and has a bit more tooth than my usual stretched linen. Hopefully this won’t fight against me too much. I need bigger brushes! I want to keep this loose and fresh, like the plein airs, with not too much detail (but just enough.)

Right now I am referencing an image of my inspiration plein air (now sold) on my monitor,  and a second study painted to scale up to 30×40″ that I worked up in the studio. The colors are really off in this snapshot, but you get the idea:

©Jennifer E Young, All rights reserved

In the second study I tried to recreate the feeling of the original plein air, but  with a few compositional adjustments to the horizon, sky, and beach path.

It feels good to be working on something large. I have avoided it lately because of my sporadic schedule, but things don’t seem to be changing much in that area of my life any time soon, so what the heck.

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3 Responses to Hatteras Island W.I.P.

  1. I wish I could ask you many questions about working on large pieces. You know I work very small and now I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by a 16X20! My plan on a commission of a Venice scene was to work impressionistic and thus felt the need to work wet into wet. I find my approach getting lost and I keep falling back into a more realistic direction. I also find it frustrating to have areas getting dry and having to mix colors again to paint wet into wet. I know, I’ll work back and forth until areas begin to feel right but I so appreciate your ability to create your large canvases with such comfort. Wish I could watch!

  2. Marilyn,
    What can I say but “I feel your pain” when it comes to large canvases. I have shied away from them recently myself because at best I am on an every other day basis with my studio. What I have learned about working big is to go from dark to light, thin to thick, and mass to form (which is undoubtedly nothing new to you and also applies to small paintings, albeit a bit more easily). I actually try and stay thin with my paint for a while with the bigger ones because I don’t want to get that “lip” that forms from a painting setting up too much. If the painting does set up too fast, you can “oil it out” with a thinned down version of your medium of choice to help with adhesion, or even with Gamsol if you have been painting pretty thin.

    But it’s a tricky thing isn’t it? We know that larger paint mixtures enable us to use more paint, which in turn helps to mold and manipulate edges. On the other hand, the fear of “wasting paint” when it’s time to close shop often holds us back from mixing enough.

    When I first started painting I used to freeze my paints or submerge them in water to keep them soft, but I wondered about the stability of the paint in doing this, so I stopped the practice. I have also looked for mediums that will extend open times so that I can continue working wet- into- wet, but with them I worry about toxicity or paint instability (or both) so I haven’t pursued it further.

    Instead I continue to scrape the palette and start fresh with a new mixture that approximates the last. Probably not what you wanted to hear but that’s what I’m doing!

  3. Thanks, all things to consider. I am currently in the habit of keeping my palette in the freezer but not completely comfortable about the practice either.

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