The Mobile Museum of Art is hosting a show for regional artists to celebrate our Gulf Coastal Heritage. The show is hanging at the museum from December 9, 2011 - January 8, 2012. I entered 2 pieces into this show: my watercolor "Bayou Resilience, Bayou LaBatre, Summer 2010" (commemorating the shrimpers who helped with the oil spill cleanup); and a newly completed oil painting, "Live Bait, Mobile Causeway", which started a couple of years ago as a plein air sketch. My small painting "Live Bait" (8 in. x 10 in.) won the 3rd Place award in this show. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased that my work was juried into this show, and very surprised to win an award. There are a number of other beautiful pieces in this exhibit, so hopefully you will be able to make it by the museum over the holidays to catch the show. We should all be grateful that the museum provided this opportunity to showcase some of our local talented artists. Here is a link to the Coastal Holiday exhibition news article in the Mobile Press-Register.
I thought I would show the evolution between my original plein air oil sketch of "Live Bait" and the final completed oil painting that I submitted for this exhibit. I think this demonstrates the value of doing onsite or life sketches to enhance the immediacy of the subject.
My oil sketch was quickly painted using thin washes with the oil paint diluted with turpentine and linseed oil. The main forms and blocks of color are laid in the area of vegetation and the body of the boat. The amber underpainting shows through, which tones down most of the colors. But the areas of reflected light and shadow observed onsite are apparent.
I picked out this oil sketch from a stack in my studio when considering what I could enter into the maritime heritage exhibition. Using a couple of reference photos I took when doing the oil sketch, I was able to refine a few details and clarify the colors on the boat, in the marsh and background wooded vegetation, in the water reflections, and on the pier. I built up the color and detail with thicker paint, mixed with a little linseed oil. My challenge was to continue to paint as quickly and lightly as I could in an attempt to keep this painting looking fresh. I think I was successful in capturing the spirit of that day at Scott's Landing.