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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Commissioned Seascape

Going Home
16 x 20", Acrylic on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014
Some sunsets take your breath away. I like to think of them as beautiful gifts signaling the end of a day.

The reference photo for this sunset painting, taken during a family vacation in Mexico, suddenly became more than just a beautiful picture.  A deeper significance came with the loss of a beloved family member the following week. This image began to take on new layers of meaning...comfort, loss, grief, journey, a passing from this life to the next. Gentle, tender emotions seeking solace in the middle of the night.

I was honored to accept this commission. To put brush strokes to an image that will hold special meaning in the hearts of loved ones.

Stage 1: Preparing my canvas and loosely painting the image. I had two photographs to work from. One emphasized the dramatic water, the second focused on the sail boat and sunset. I created this composition from both of them. No sooner had I placed the boat where I thought I wanted it, I decided to move it just a bit lower. From there, I began with the sky.

 Stage 2: Painting the sky. Working with acrylics makes me paint fast and think quickly about what I want to do. Blending the clouds with softened edges was important.

Stage 3: Painting the boat. As much as it seems like the boat is one solid color/silhouette, it is not. I added slight variations of oranges and browns to keep it from appearing flat. It was tempting to paint in every single little line and detail with the masts but instead I will let the viewer's mind fill in the rest.

Stage 4: Painting the water.Working quickly so that I could blend my strokes, I painted less detail  near the horizon and then added more color, light and drama toward the bottom of the canvas with the water closer to the viewer. My goal was to add just enough detail and information.

Stage 5: Completing the painting. To complete this painting I went over it all adding touches of light, variations of color and more paint where I thought it was needed. 

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