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'Steephill Sheen 1 & 2', Which do you prefer?

Same reference photo, same board, same paint, same brushes, different outcome...

My inspiration this month has come once again from one of my favourite spots on the Island Steephill Cove, Ventnor. These paintings were both created from the same reference photo which I took back on a very cold February afternoon this year, just after taking this photo it began to snow (sadly it didn't come to anything much to my daughter's disappointment!)

I was attracted to the dramatic sky (I just adore dramatic skies) and it's reflection on the water and loved how the cliffs and the rest of the cove were silhouetted against the sky and the water reflection. I usually take loads of photos (so much so that my husband calls me 'Little Miss Snap Happy!') in the hope that I capture all that I need to make my painting and can play around with them when I get back home and crop/combine them to get the best composition.

One of the first things I usually do is add a grid over my pictures to help with composing the picture, for instance in this one I have the horizon on roughly the bottom third of the grid and also continuing on that line across to the right is the buildings, the far distant cliff falls right on a vertical line as does the brightness in the sky which is echoed in the water reflection again hitting that same vertical. There are also strong diagonal lines which carries the eye down to the sunlit horizon. (see photo 4)

I experimented with a different surface for these two, I tried a smooth board which took a bit of getting used to I have to admit but I think I liked them! With the thicker paint it just sat on the surface and retained the lovely, yummy thick brushstrokes or could be smoothed and blended easily, with the second one I achieved watercolour qualities.

I used the same reference photo, same board, same paint (water mixable oil) and same brushes but got very different outcomes. The only difference was with one I used thick paint and the other thin paint. Which one do you prefer/dislike?

Scroll down for progression photos of both paintings.

Here are some link you may be interested in:

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