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Seven of my artworks are available to view and purchase at Peet`s Coffee & Tea store in Laguna Niguel, CA. Starting today, October 28 and running until the end of November. You can visit the coffee house at Ocean Ranch Plaza, located at 32371 Golden Lantern, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677. My subject matter are seascapes and local architecture. If you are interested in purchasing any of the works of art, contact me through the info on the price cards at the store.
Here are a few images of the artworks presently hanging at Peet`s! This has been my favorite coffee house for years. Seems fitting that one can have a cup of java and view art while sipping.
Update: I will be present at Peet`s this Saturday, November 17th from 1-4pm-ish, so come by for a visit. I will demonstrate the plein air style of painting at my easel outside in the patio area. I will give 20% off this day since Peet`s is also having a 20% off sale.
Above painting is titled "Beach Gathering - Crystal Cove". 16x12, oil on linen, framed, $500
The two paintings above are of the St Regis Hotel`s Pool Bar & Grill. Each one is $300, framed. oil on linen
Shown above left are "Nordic Vintage" A Balboa Bay sailboat, 14x11, oil on linen, $400, framed,
Also on the right is "Summer at a Laguna Cove" 6x8, oil on stretched canvas, framed, $200
There are going to be 2 more paintings of Crystal Cove there, I will add images later.
Here is my large seascape of Crystal Cove, 'Reflecting on Crystal Cove' 48x30, oil on canvas $2,500
So come down to Peet`s, it is a very friendly place! Do contact me if you are in the area and would like to meet there!
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I painted this on location at Crystal Cove Cottages and Beach yesterday, September 27th. I stayed overnight in one of the lodge cottages just above on the bluff. The next morning after check-out, I draggd my art wagon down the hill and set up my official plein air art camp or production set-up. It feels like I get the whole package when I stay the night before and move onto the next day to paint this historical place.
My set-up on location. That picnic bench called me today in front of Cottage 12, the tall whitewashed one.
After I draw in with a red-orange oil wash, I am ready to paint. You many notice I wiped out areas in the wash with a towel, that is to show my highlighted areas or point of interest. I also will wipe out a whole drawing if I do not have the composition positioned enough to please my eye and for the painting`s sake. Although I want to paint in the whole panorama, I can only take a portion of the scenery for this size canvas. Besides I wanted to make this one about the cottage on the right and the gnarly half dead tree in front of it.
Here is a picture when I was almost done blocking in the masses and values, trying to stay away from details yet. That is the hardest part, holding back while I build the composition, I have to think from large to small, the painting on the whole first, details later.
I had not blocked in that smaller Beachcomber tent yet, I was deciding what to do to make it subdued and not to compete with the white cottage. I took a ladiesroom break and came back to address it. Sometimes a break is all it takes to get a lightbulb pop up in my head. So, I mixed up some neutral taupes and blonds to lay it in as a subordinate accessory shape without high contrasting stripes. For the windows of the Beachcomber Express, (that is what it is called) I made them a medium blue-gray to make it look like a screened window and add unity to the whole painting. Being this palette was a earthy looking one with lots of blue in the sky and shutters, shadows, etc...
So, here I think I am just about done and I want this piece to sing a little more and be done on location. With my hectic lifestyle ayway, I do not find time to do more studio work on a plein air piece if it is not done on location.
I signed it, I placed the Beachcomber name on the plack of the tent, amazingly the teeny tiny letters were readable. I used a balancing stick to steady my hand. But still the brush was loaded with more paint that would surely add blobs, so I thinned it out with a little gamsol, that did the trick. There just was something more I needed, then I remembered a painting I just saw the other day at the Laguna Art Museum of the Clarence Hinkle exhibition. Do go see that exhibition, it is marvelous! It must`ve greatly rubbed off on me as I used a neutral palette like Clarence did in his early Laguna seascapes. But in one painting he added a dash of red in one spot, on a chimney near his focal point. So, I took a little dab of red and stroked the tree trunk with it and threw dots of that red into the ground cover. It gave the area and the whole painting a little vibration, being red on it`s compliment green. I was not done still, I looked at the late afternoon light shining through the fence and added some dashes of a toned down white which added a whole new feeling to that backdrop below the umbrella next to the cottage. Finally I added some pure cadmium light red (which looks orange to me) in the ice plants on the right of the sandy driveway.
Final little adjusments were made here and there in the sky and telephone lines and I was ready to walk away, not afraid it wasn`t done anymore The painting said, STOP! I smiled, and sat down to eat my sandwich while watching the rest of the afternoon sun slowly sink into the horizon.
Here is a larger view of the piece:
Life as an artist can be good at times like this, it was a fine day! I do work hard, it is not all so easy as it looks. I pack all my art supplies and lug them to my locations, often suffering for it later as I have arthritis. I stand up for hours on end, I do not take a food break sometimes for 4 hours or more, I slave away at a painting with all I have in my being. Years of study, trial and error and struggle goes into a painting. Many paintings are thrown away or destroyed in the early years. For this painting, it is not just 4-5 hours, it is all those other times when I spent countless hours striving to learn and practice what I absorbed from college, books and museums. All those parts form a unique wholeness in each artist. I am very content for all that journey now!
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If you live in southern California, you may have heard or been to the Montage Resort Hotel, it used to be known as Treasure Island. Unfortunately they kicked everyone out who used to live in mobile homes there and built a multi-million dollar resort hotel there. The sad results of modern developers. Alas, this is a favorite place to visit for many. It surely looks like a treasure place when you see the sculpted rocky bluffs, perfect beach coves and aqua waters. If I was a pirate gal in the 1500`s, I would stop here to build my tiki hut and stay awhile. No wonder guests pay plenty of money to vacation here, it is a little heaven on earth. I have painted plein air style here for the past decade. Sometimes I wonder what view I will paint next, there is always a new scene that catches my artistic eye and challenges me. Last week our group of the Southern California Plein Air Painter`s Association came here to paint. It was a very hot day inland, around 100 degrees at my house just a few miles inland. So I was eager to pack my art supplies and a little Thermos cooler to spend my afternoon painting on the bluffs and feeling the ocean breezes cool me. It turned out that very gusty winds were going to try to toss my easel up like a flying kite. But I was prepared, I brought strong bungee cords to tie and secure my easel and umbrella down to the iron rails the hotel put up as a safety measure. I am loving those rails for how I can batton down the hatches on windy days there. Only I wasn`t so secure with my wide brimed straw hat, it kept flying off my head and one time headed straight for the edge of the bluff where it would dive down to be lost at sea. Luckily it hit the rail and I caught it. So, I had to pull the darn hat way down over my head, I knew I looked a little dorky. I didn`t care, I was a determined artist who was going to paint that scene.
When I first arrived on the location, it is easy to become wall-eyed at everything. Since I painted almost every angle in previous years, I was looking for a new one. Then I came upon the view you see below and decided this was a challenge indeed, all because the keyhole bluff was partially obstructed by a large seal shaped rock. But I loved the feel of the spot, the multi green-blue variations in the water complimented by the yellow orange and ochres of the bluff. I wanted to include the structure which is a restaurant to show the grand size of this cliff and rocks. Then the take away of the distant hill dotted with ocean view homes and off to the south coastline. There is smoke in the air in the distance from a brush fire that day somewhere in the hills below San Clemente. The farthest point of the coast looking south is the Dana Point headlands where I live inland 2 miles from there overlooking the coast. So, here I have a blank canvas toned with a mixture of my favorite blend of alizaron crimson and cadmium yellow darkened with chromatic black, all Gamblin brand oil paints. I brush the diluted red-orange blend on the linen panel and wipe it off with a paper towel so it is translucent and dries quickly. I divided my canvas borders up into thirds with dots of this same mixture in full strength.
It is here I use a red acetate view finder to pick my focal point. Many times nature does not have the focal point in one of the 4 golden sections, so I have to push subject matter around a bit in the sketching stage. The sketch can take a hour if I need to scrape down the drawing if it looks like the composition is off. I did that this day, I took a lunch break after to rest my mind and eyes. If I sit for a while staring at the drawing anyways, I find things I can change to the better. I most cases I use a mirror and once I see the sketch in reverse, strange angles will pop out that I know need correcting. My reason to sketch first is to get the major shapes or masses, values, proportions, lines and perspective into a pleasing, believable drawing. Not a realistic detailed drawing, just a layout.
Here is the thin oil sketch I was satisfied with.
Once I was ready with a drawing, I still was not really ready, I needed to make some color blends on my palette that were also believable colors of the bluff, the water and how they fit on a color wheel in harmony and balance. I picked a blue-violet, yellow-orange, blue-green and red-orange color scheme. It is a tetrad on the color wheel. By peering at the colors in the scenery I can tell what needs to stand out color-wise, nature lets you know. Blue-green and yellow orange were dominant, so it`s opposite of red-orange and blue-violet would be subordinate in the painting. I make a least these four mixtures and will tint them with white and black to get a range of values. I will further blend these colors together while painting to get new color-hues for variety. Then I make mixtures of 4-5 levels of grays with Titanium white and chromatic blackto dip into when I need to show changes in values and downplay the chromatic strength of a color. It really helps to study color in art text books. But some things I discover by accident. One of my favorite colors is cobalt-violet to blend with raw sienna to make rich and neutralized browns. I make mixtures of it with yellow ochre. Cobalt-violet will not turn yellow ochre or raw sienna greenish which ruins the look of a warm sandy bluff or beach. It was time to paint with vigor and strong brushwork! I did a lot of squinting to see where my hard edges where and keep aware of building it all to the focal point which was in the lower right rocks as the gentle tide lapped into a niche between two rocks and splashed mildly. I did not add that much of a white water splash, it was a calm tide. But I felt I needed to enhance it later at my home studio, so I held back from playing with the whitest whites or I would ruin the rich, deep colors that made this rock feel like a rock entering deepwaters and a feeling of being anchored in the sea, not floating atop the water. Very important element to convey. So, I began by painting in the darkest darks and built up my masses with semi-darks towards midtones using the color blends, adjusting them along the way in a tier of values that added emotional play within the piece.
By the time I was done, the sun was setting and the bluff was becoming an incredible yellow-orange-red. But I kept the colors closer to mid-afternoon with accents of warm oranges. I knew full well, I was not done working on this piece and took it back home to work on it in the studio adding the last elements. I was a happy artist for spending a wonderful afternoon in a most stunning section of the coast doing what I was born to do, paint!
Here is the completed work after refining it in the studio.
I added homes on the hill beyond the Montage, that is Coast Royale and then cooled down the southern hills to add depth. Of course I reworked the forefront water so I could add white water lapping against the focal point. Here is a detail of the lower right with the water and wave.
I worked from a high resolution dSLR image from my Canon on a 24" wide monitor. I can really see big that way. I do not paint what I see exactly, I add artistic impression, that is the whole reason for being an artist, finding your uniqueness and expressing it.
thanks for taking the time reading my ramblings,
E J Williams
The above painting comes framed at this price. S&H plus insurance is extra. If you go to payPal and Buy It Now, I will invoice you a seperate shipping invoice depending on your address and the accurate calculation. Let me know if you desire insurance.
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Painted from 2 sittings at Crystal Cove State Beach & Cottages. One was to capture the composition of the scenery and dash down color notes, the 2nd sitting was to fill in the canvas with actual colors I saw. It was so enjoy able to paint and be able to watch the sun sink slowly into the sea on a hot, hot, summer day.
Finished artwork - "Sunset Treasure" 8"x 6", oil on panel
The first image below is how the painting got it`s start. I painted this on day one, I waited too close to sunset to block in the cottage in color and dot down the colors of the sunset. There was a strong marine layer over the sunset, it is not visible in this image. It turned out that I painted that marine band out, since on the second day it was missing. My whole purpose of painting a plein air sunset was to be there while it was happening and place in my brushstrokes of color that matched it. I call that authenticity.
Next image is after I began the painting at a more reasonable time before sunset, so I could paint in the cottage and shrubbery ahead. I was using my memory from the night before, fully aware of how the fading light was going to make the cottage darker in value. When it came time for the sun to set or closer to setting, I was armed with colors to fill in the sky with the unique colors it chose to show us. I premix several colors of the warm family beforehand to be ready and armed to paint quickly. I also have several cool color blends on my palette just to custom mix colors in the correct value and hue while capturing it. I am always filled with anticipation during sunsets, waiting to see what unfolds.
In this next image, the sun was glaring so bright, the camera overexposed the whole image, so you are not seeing the actual colors of the scene. The lens was focused on the painting and whited out everything else. But it was pretty done and I added a couple of hours more of refining the painting at my home studio.
Below is an image of the sunset as my camera saw it, which makes the dark values to dark. That is why I love to paint on location and see what the values are in reality coupled with the atmosphere that I get to be in, the beach!
Enjoy many more sunsets!
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White washed cottage on the north end of Crystal Cove Cottages, bright aloe plants flourishing in the front yard. The wavy red fence blocks people from entering the closed cottages while they await remodeling. Lots of sand leads one to azure blue waters along the coastline. One small group of friends gathered for a sunny afternoon game of bocce balls and to enjoy each other`s company.
I liked this perspective of the cottage that appeared so tall near to me and the decreasing height of the bluff as it nearly disappears towards the southern seas. I liked the red in this as a offset to the light sands. I liked the decadence of this cottage. I most of all liked the appearance of a dreamy, beachy atmosphere that I applied using loose, nearly out of control brushstrokes. It was for the most part painted on location and that is why it shows strong and gestural strokes with clear shapes layed down, not tampered with at the studio.
It comes in a basic gold frame at this price. The inner frame edges may appear warped but that is only my camera lens at fault. I assure you it is straight. If you do not wish to have the frame I will deduct $50 from the price. Shipping is extra if purchased through PayPal.
Below is an image of where I painted this at the Crystal Cove State Beach:
Below is another image of myself on locatio painting this piece. I really enjoy the painting process while being able to capture the essence of light, life and spirit of the scene.
Any excuse I can get for painting at Crystal Cove is a good reason to escape the house to paint those cottages and crystal clear waters.
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One of my artworks has been accepted into this exhibition. See below for my piece and if you click on my art image, it will take you to a new tab showing the description/info page on my website. After that image is the large graphic with info about the show.
"Oak Grove Hill" plein air oil, 12x9 linen panel, in a Randy Higbee dark wood plein air frame called Arroyo with Gold inner trim, 3" width sides. $400 at the exhibition. If there is another frame you would like feel free to purchase one from the huge selection on that site.
You can visit the website of the Randy Higbee Gallery here. Laguna Plein Air Painter`s Association here.
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This is a plein air piece that I completed at Limestone Canyon in the Irvine Ranch Wilderness along the trail. I spotted this brightly lit yellow mustard hill beyond a thick grove of oak trees. The dark trunk of the tree with the dappled light underneath and the fence posts echoed a time back when cattle roamed these hills and meadows. Now the grasses grow tall with wild oats and rye while the yellow mustard is taking over the hills in the spring. The yellow mustard is considered an invasive plant in the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, so I am not giving it too much star treatment. Except as an artist I could not help liking the fresh yellow mixed with the green oats and oaks.
Below is a glimpse of where I painted with the scenery beyond my plein air painting. I get so wrapped up in the sights, scents and sounds of this place. The country air went right into this painting. In this piece I made a commitment to painting a 'less is more' work. One where you make each brus stroke count towards building a work of art that has all the elements to make a harmonic, fresh, balanced picture that looks spontaneous, believable and is full of feeling or passion even. That comes from the hands of the artist in a few hours and it is a feat to do.
As I paint, I get many people hiking by and they stop to chat and see the painting, it makes for a wonderful day. I enjoy meeting people along the trail. Many of them get my postcard with my website and info on it. This is how I meet new art fans too.
Here is a larger image of the finished piece:
A hiker walked by and he asked to take a picture of me, so I asked him to take one of me with my camera in return. Here is the image he took.
I look forward to painting out here in Limestone Canyon again!
The price reflects a framed work, thank-you.
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I painted this larger piece from a plein air workstudy I started at Bommer Canyon. Here are my notes from that day:
"Today was a good day in the Bommer Canyon ranchlands. I hiked up to a point where I have stopped before to gaze at a lone oak tree growing upwards and out over a rock ledge of sandstone. I became enthralled by the strong cast of dark greens with the violet shadow hues cast. There was a second scrub oak that stood in the background. Beyond the large tree up the canyon was gulch beneath the top rim that was a variety of blue-grays and mauve greys with smaller green trees or shrubs dotting the ravine as it turned towards the sunlight. The sun lit up the trees with lighter, warm greens. The field in front was a gleaming oat-topped pasture with scattered sagebrush. The outcroppings of the sandstone ledge added a balance beam of sunny warmth to counter the deep cool greens of the large stately oak tree. The cool shadows repeated in the sandstone for harmony. Being near the coast, these oaks are of the coastal live oak species. The mist in the air in the morning from the coast tends to add the cool blues to the ravines in the canyon. They burn off by noon and the blue-violets disappear. I love the morning colors for this reason. At the end of my stay a female coyote wandered into the field. Her attention moved towards me and then she sat just watching me with a contented look on her muzzle. I took many pictures and did not finish my workstudy due to my fascination with her and hers with me. Her warm rust and orange colors of thick winter fur stood out clearly againtst the fresh spring greens in the pasture." I later chose not to include her in the landscape as she would be a tiny figure in this large pasture. I will later paint a more intimate study featuring her in the wild oats and grasses with the sandstone.
This setting is of Bommer Canyon, part of the old Irvine Ranch. From Wikipedia on Bommer Canyon, "Between the late 1800s to the 1970s, the "Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp" served as the center of the Irvine Company’s cattle operations. The canyon is part of the Irvine Ranch, which itself is a National Natural Landmark, the first California Natural Landmark, and part of the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve.
Below is the spot I chose to paint in. I have been along this trail many times and feel connected to this location. It has so much history, I can imagine the cattle that once roamed here.
Below is an image of how far along I got after I saw the coyote. I didn`t mind not finishing, I thoroughly enjoyed my encounter with wildlife. I think that small dot is her in front of the sunlit sandstone bank near the oak tree shadow. She was sitting at that time, just being my audience. Curious about what I was doing with a brush maybe?
Here is the coyote in one of her many poses. I used a 270mm lens to capture this close-up image with my Canon dSLR.
Below here is an image of the beginning stages of the larger piece in my home studio. Notice the workstudy taped to my easel above and the large monitor showing a digital, high resolution image to work with as references. Also, how messy I am, but that is an artist. There is method to my madness. In this initial painting start, I block in the major color shapes and organize the composition with the shadow masses first. From the Edgar Payne book, "Composition of Outdoor Painting" I used the Steelyard form where one large mass is balanced on a fulcrum. But I added the two shapes in the front, one being the sagebrush and the other was old mustard stalks with fresh bloomed mustard flowers on the right. I wanted to make the observer feel as if they were standing in the thick of the pasture and feel like walking into it. That is where I was standing and I felt the wild nature of all things.
Here is the large painting complete:
"To be in the presence of protected species make my heart sing and I want to paint artistic tributes to the wild beauty before me."
E J Williams
A close-up of the star of the painting:
To keep the oak tree appearing in the distance, I gently swished a brush loaded with a mixture of the blue-violet blend that I use as a mother or soup to bring the painting into a color balance. It gave the tree a veil and kept it in the right perspective.
The price reflects a framed painting with a wide dark wood frame from the King of Frames or Randy Higbee Gallery.
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This particular painting is a small work that I will be painting a large 36x24 from. It is a commissioned painting. I will allow prints to be purchased from it. I will upload the large resolution image of this to ImageKind.com this link will open a new window.
I went to Catalina Island in early March this year to paint this scene on location. I felt the need to see this beautiful place and record to memory all the special feelings, colors and light it had on canvas first before painting the large work in the studio. A workstudy can record all that and more.
Here is when I began the painting:
Below is the first shape I placed in, the island bluff by the casino. The casino with the reflected light was the center of interest in this painting. Since the afternoon light was quickly disappearing from the edge of the bluff, I had to paint it quickly. I liked that affect of sunlight kissing the rocky slope.
Below, I have blocked in the essential major shapes and points of interest. I had only 2-1/2 hours to grab down what color notes and major shapes, design/composition and values here before the sun left the casino in complete shadow.
Once the sunlight disappeared behind the mountains, I had to quit. My digital images would be valuable to complete this at the home studio.
Below, I show how far along I got:
This felt good to me since I established the angles of light and masses with a feel for atmospheric perpsective already taking shape.
Below is my set-up, I had to breathe in a lot of smoke from golf carts buzzing by me, they were coming and going to the Wrigley Mansion up the hill. Funny thing, I left my easel tripod at the hotel I was staying at. So I used bungie cords to secure my easel to the guard rail. They also were useful in attaching the umbrella pole to the rail as the winds were a bit blustery at first. I brought some print-outs from home of the scene that my customers wanted with requests for certain landmarks to be included in the painting, like the Holly Hill house, the Chimes Tower and the landing pad. Since the Holly Hill house was under construction, I found an image online that helped me to draw it out.
Here is the final piece:
The link to ImageKind to buy prints of this and other artworks of mine. It will open up a new window in your browser and keep my website open.
Waterlily Cluster workstudy
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Commissions by EJ Williams
I do take commissions, meaning if you have a place, subject, portrait you would like painted, I may entertain that depending on what it is. I prefer to work from life as the artist`s eyes see more than any camera can. A camera will take a literal picture with all the details, an impressionist artist must be there to see the tonal gradations, light in the atmosphere and the subject matter along with absorbing the feeling of the place. It is from all this and more that we abstract our artistic rendition. The visual combined with the feeling of the location and the artist`s spirit create the most heartfelt works of art. The best way to do that is by painting a workstudy en plein air (on location). I can paint a refined plein air piece of your choice of locations for a finished, commissioned artwork if you prefer plein air over studio but they can not be too large, 16x20 is the largest I do for plein air. Or I create a more painterly workstudy as a reference for a large studio piece, 16x20 up to 60x48 or larger even. If it is a figural work, then I want to paint the person in the studio or at a location outdoors, weather pending. I began with drawing sketches and make notes to get a good feeling for the design qualities and composition, then paint a loose workstudy. From there I move onto creating a larger piece.
There are monetary requirements to begin the process of fulfilling your commission. 25% down to start, 25% after approval of workstudy to begin the large studio work and the rest, 50% when the large work is complete and approved. You purchase the frame and I can guide you on those choices.
At this present time I charge $3.00 per square inch of painting space, for example, 16x20=320 x $3.00 per sq inch = $960. For works larger than that I will reduce my per square inch to approx $2.50 per square inch. For Example, a 24X36=864 x $2.50 = $2,160. My prices go up approx 10-15% each year, so keep that in mind. This is my 2012 rate for the whole year and it is half what a gallery price might be.
I could add so much more, but let`s make it simple so I can have the time to finish my other works I am presently painting.
Meanwhile for commission inquiries, go to my contact page on this website and send an email with your request.
Here is a commission piece and my explanation of the process:
"Cirque du Pond" 18x14, oil on stretched linen. Private collection
To create this studio work of art, I went to the Mission San Juan Capistrano several times and painted small 8x10 to 9x12 workstudies. I have painted and sketched on location there many times.
On location at the Mission San Juan Capistrano May 2011. The workstudy is created loosely but not a mushy mess of dashed in color notes, it is a compilation of the mood, the light, the natural colors and the focal area. In different paintngs with unique compositions I many times re-arrange the waterlilies to enhance the focal point. From this particular painting I took my 8x10 home for all the jewels of colors it gave me to go on. I even worked on the 8x10 at the studio to refine it into a better finished piece since it was going to the collector along with the larger studio created work. There is a special light affect at this pond where one side is dark behind the large fountain and the area around the fountain is high key, light streams through the reeds casting a unique gradated light across the lilies, pads and water. It is a difficult scene to paint as the reeds cast swirly reflections on the water around the lily pads. The Koi as they swim through the water cause light reflected ripples which indicate they are underwater. Without those, they will look to be on top of the water. My high quality SLR digital camera is fitted with a circular polarizer filter to cut down on glare, so I was able to use my digital images of swiming Koi as a great reference in the studio piece.
"Waterlily Cluster" 8x10, oil on linen panel
I found in my sketchbook notes I wrote on the day after I painted the workstudy, it is originally from Edgar Payne`s book, "Outdoor Landscape Composition" 'Sharp contrasts of extreme dark and light cause an agitated feeling, while the more closely related graduations produce a restful feeling. The analogous values and colors produce the feeling of restfulness.'
There he talks about the 'feeling' an observer of the art receives from a painting. It is up to the artist to create that mood to relay a feeling using blended color combinations in correct values and the arrangement or unity of the composition.
The collectors are extremely content with this commissioned work as they own a koi pond and know what they wanted. I have a small koi pond that was inspired by studying Monet for years. It brings me many hours of peacefulness. I only hope the painting does that too.
E J Williams