Slant Sun at Nauset

TM8236 Slant Sun at Nauset 12x12 oil on panel











Slant Sun at Nauset is my homage to that quiet time at the end of the afternoon when the sun is lowering and the beach is once again deserted. The painting, though small, was many years in the making. Below are notes describing my process. Enjoy!

Technical painting notes:  Working up a painting from photos is seldom straightforward. There are the field trips, with dozens of photos taken from different angles and under various weather conditions, then the photoshopping of the images, playing with value changes and cropping, looking for the essential moment and a good abstract underpinning to the composition. The painting Slant Sun at Nauset is based on the photos below. First, the primary photo, taken because the bands of shadow and sun playing across the beach and dune reminded me of a Mark Rothko composition.

I cropped the photo, eliminating the fence above the dune, and accentuating the three bands – sky, dune, beach. 

A gray-scale photo emphasizes the values, and shows how important the sun glancing off the top of the dune is to the composition and meaning of the painting – which is now about the transitory nature of time and light, plus a reference to art history and abstraction in the service of a sense of realism. With this in mind, I began work on the painting. As you will note, I ultimately eliminated the figure and added a bit of water (not only have the people left the beach, but so has the tide, leaving behind a scant tidal pool). Even the sun is departing. I deepened the shadows and added more color to them (violet and blue), and enhanced the bright color of the sea grass stranded at the base of the dune (Final version of finished painting at top of post).


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