A break in the clouds lets afternoon sun illuminate the top of the dune. This painting is based on a visit to Crane Beach about six years ago. I spent a good part of that day hiking the trails and photographing the various types of vegetation while waiting for the clouds to finally give way. By the time the sun poked through, my camera’s batteries were spent! I could only sit and memorize. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about those dunes and wondering how I might capture the incredible light and atmospherics. This past week I finally took the plunge. I originally thought I’d paint the dune in full sun, but as I worked, I realized that leaving the foreground in shadow would be more true to my experience and memory. So there it is, a pale blue shadow encroaching up the dune, juxtaposed with a ribbon of sunlight. Enjoy. Details below.
Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller to lay in a range of gray browns initially, then wiped and manipulated the paint to create subtle textures for the areas of vegetation. A little spatter with mineral spirits created variously sized “dots” emulating sand. When the base layer was dry, I blocked in the sky and distant dune, then used a roller charged with semi-transparent grayish paint to block in the patches of sand on the primary dune. The grasses were partly suggested using the roller on its edge in a rocking motion. When this layer was dry, I glazed color into some areas, adjusted the luminosity of the sky, and used a soft brush to vary the intensity of color and value in the sand.