On the Easel: Caloundra, Shimmering Light

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(My "On the Easel" posts give you a behind-the-scenes look at what I am working on, what went well, what went wrong, and things I learn.)

Below is Caloundra, Shimmering Light. It depicts a high-contrast scene, with the shadowed foreground framing the shimmering Caloundra estuary.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, 2022
Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, 2022

Reference Photo

Here's the reference photo I painted from:

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, Reference Photo

Feel free to try and paint it yourself. If you do, let me know how it turns out.

(You can get access to the rest of my reference photos here.)

Details

  • Oil on Ambersand gessoboard. 18 x 24 inches.
  • Main colors: Ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium yellow light, viridian green, transparent brown oxide, spectrum violet, and titanium white.

Refer to my supplies list for more details on what I use.

Notes

  • I painted this almost entirely with a single palette knife. This is probably poor technique, but I sometimes get so caught up in a painting that I don’t even change the brush or knife. Instead, I vary my strokes in terms of pressure, direction, texture, length, etc.
  • I relied on multicolored strokes to convey the illusion of detail.
  • The individual colors are much stronger than I would typically use for landscape painting. But they don’t appear as strong because they are broken up.
  • A key idea of the painting is the contrast between the shadowed foreground and the glimmering background. Because these areas are so distinct, I painted them in separate sessions.
  • I started with the darks and finished with the brightest highlights on the water.

Progress Shots

Step 1: Work on the blues, greens, and browns at the edges of the painting. I worked in a direct manner, rather than staining the canvas and blocking in the colors.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, WIP 2

Step 2: Map out the light areas, ignoring any finer details and highlights.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, WIP 3

Step 3: Refine the darks and ensure there are no gaps between the strokes.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, WIP 5
Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, WIP 6

Step 4: Refine the lights, focusing on the subtle color transitions and textures.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, WIP 7

Step 5: Add the shimmering highlights on the water. This is one of the few times I used a brush.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, WIP 9

Step 6. Finishing touches, sign, and photograph the painting.

Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, 2022
Dan Scott, Caloundra, Shimmering Light, 2022

Additional Resources

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my Painting Academy course.

Happy painting!

Signature Draw Paint Academy

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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