The question is what mood to paint – serenity or turbulence. Small oil on paper studies are my way of investigating both a scene and my own mood. This quartet, based on the sea after a storm, definitely depicts high energy, while the vigorous brushwork reflects my own delight with getting an early morning start in the studio. Each little painting is an investigation of form, color, and composition. They might well grow up and become big paintings. Or they might remain an expression of one unique Monday morning, filled with the confidence of blue skies and fresh air.
Technical painting note: The key to the palette knife work was the viscosity of the paint. I wanted the paint to not just describe the wave but embody it. To that end, I mixed Windsor/Newton Liquin Impasto medium and Liquin Original medium into the mixed colors. The result was a very liquid paint that wouldn’t drip when applied to a vertical support. The viscosity of the paint allowed me to work in layers, dragging one color and form over a base without disturbing it. It also aided in making the palette knife strokes feel like the wave – heavy and dense.