North Head Cliff Lookout

I’ve been consciously working on a new style of painting for a while and after a lot of experimenting it’s finally starting to come together. Why change my style? A couple of reasons; firstly, as someone who is red/green colourblind, I can find it very difficult to get colours to look “right” (they may look right to me but wrong to everyone else), and also, I’ve become increasingly bored with detail and much more interested in exploring how much abstraction I can get away with but still make a representational painting. As much as I admire realism, I don’t think it’s the style that makes my heart sing.

I’ve been experimenting a lot with using ink to do the drawing, as I did in the Yellow Water Taxi painting – but in that painting, I painted all the shadow areas in solid black ink. While that did work, I did feel that the whole painting looked rather dark. So for this painting, I painted the outlines in black ink but didn’t shade anything, leaving that instead to paint. I’m much, much happier with the result. Although I’ve used a lot less detail, it gave me the option to choose which detail to add and which to omit, both in terms of linework and texture. There’s a lot of pure colour in this – the cliffs are pure dioxazine purple, but I’ve brushed some white into them to suggest the cliff texture, mixing it right on the page, not the palette, giving me some lovely implied (and entirely accidental) detail. The ocean is cobalt blue and the top of the bench is yellow ochre. The foam wash around the base of the cliffs isn’t painted at all – it’s the white of the paper! The bush is painted with two greens straight off the palette as well. The end result of this is the painting was much faster to do, and relies much more on correct values than correct colour – but it still looks “right”. Suffice to say, I’m feeling pretty positive about this new style!

North Head Cliff Lookout

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