Today’s inspiration: Summer by one of the American Impressionists, Frank Benson. You can almost feel the sun’s warmth and the crisp sea breeze.
Here are some key observations and takeaways:
- It was painted in oils, but it has a distinct, pastel-like finish. Oils are versatile like that.
- There’s an interesting play between hard and soft edges. Hard edges give the painting that crisp appearance. Soft edges help our eyes transition throughout the painting.
- Notice the interesting shapes and patterns created by the figures against the background.
- Color in the shadows. The subjects’ faces. The faces are vague, but the colors are stunning. Look at those marvelous reds and oranges and the subtle temperature transitions. This color work reminds me of Joaquín Sorolla’s beach paintings.
- The lines of vision are implied lines that help direct our attention throughout the painting. We want to look where the subjects are looking. Three of them look inwards in conversation. One looks out over the ocean.
- The land creates a strong diagonal line. This is the foundation of the painting.
- Small flowers and subtle color changes inject life into the foreground. It reminds me of Sir Arthur Streeton’s work, who would use a few intricate details to bring the rest of his vague brushwork to life.
- The land and sky create a sense of atmospheric perspective. Notice how the colors get cooler and lighter.
- The ocean has a beautiful color gradation, from turquoise to cobalt blue.
- Trees partially frame the left and right sides.
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