Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Sunday, March 12, 2017

More Maui

Across the Water, 16 x 12 inches, oil

OK so I had more sketches from Maui. After having them spread out in my studio for a week or so, I decided to work back into them. This is what happens to most of my plein air paintings if I hang on to them a while. I start playing the "what if?" game. What if the sky was lighter? darker? smaller? larger? What if the green was yellower? Bluer? Grayer? What if there were more detail? less?

In this way, I think about other ways I might have approached the painting in the first place, and once I have a new idea, I have to try it out. What if it didn't work? Well, that happens a lot and I end up throwing away the painting, but that's not a bad thing because I will have taken risks and tried something. I may have learned something I otherwise never would have. 

If I'm willing to kill it, I can take greater risks, and sometimes I get the best accidents this way. And yes, sometimes, it devolves into a mess. 

I didn't change too much on Across the Water, but I did add more paint on top and grayed down the water. Sorry I don't have the "before" picture to compare against - didn't think to take pictures. 

Honokeana, 9 x 12, oil   sold

I painted this one from my friend Jean's balcony overlooking the Honokeana Cove in Napili. A beautiful little cove with turtles gliding around in the water.

This was a quickie - I spent may be 45 minutes or an hour? The green stuff originally was really bright (as in high chroma) which I didn't like much, so back in the studio, I knocked down the chroma quite a bit. At the same time, I simplified the rocks. 

What I like about this little study is the colors in the sky. It's not literal, but a green-bias imposed upon it. The idea being achieving a tighter harmony with the ocean and the bushy stuff. 

The sky right above the horizon is basically just a lighter version of the color of the water. The lit parts of the cloud mass is still lighter, with a little yellow thrown in to warm it up a bit. Essentially a monochromatic structure with a slight bend so that it doesn't look too monochromatic.

On Island Time, 9 x 12 inches, oil on linen

On Island Time changed a lot. It had a road going up the middle of it, with road signs and fence posts and such. Fewer palms, and the mountain mass filled the background, no sky. It's an entirely different painting now. 

The original was just too disorganized. A little too snap-shotty and not designed thoughtfully. Sometimes it's OK to faithfully present the scene exactly, but in this case, I didn't think it worked. I liked the mood though, so I tried to hang on to that aspect. 

Passing Rain, 9 x 12 inches, oil on linen   sold

I was interested in showing the palm trees lit up agains the dark sky. The painting originally showed a more active, dramatic sky with lighter parts as well as darker areas. I thought it was too busy and took away from the palm tree, so I subdued the activity in the sky. I also moved a few of the secondary palms around, tried changing sizes and how they were lit, etc. before arriving at this composition.

Hotel Street, Lahaina, 12 x 12 inches, oil on linen

This one doesn't look much like the original, either. This was actually a 12 x 16 panel - four more inches to the left side, on which a brightly lit side of the Pioneer Inn was painted. 

This (the original) was the very first painting I did in Maui, during the kick-off paint out in Lahaina. I stayed fairly true to the actual scene, which, unfortunately was why the composition was problematic. Too many statements competing for attention.

Back at home, I tried subduing all the other attention seeking elements - the brightly lit Inn, big contrast between sky and the green mountainside (the sky was a lot bigger), light and shadow patterns creating busy notes at the far end of the street, and the parked car with a lot more detail and hard edges.

Just lessening the impact on some of these elements didn't do the trick, so I decided to crop out the left side.

I added the figure crossing the street later, because the street was a big passive area after I took away the sunlight hitting its surface (again, too much impact) and I needed something there to break up the space. 

I think I can keep working on this one further. At this point, it's a playground for experimentation, so I'm not overly protective of what I've already done to it. I do like the abstract quality of it. If this painting allows me do this sort of abstraction more readily on my next paintings, that's a valuable "catch", even if the painting itself ultimately bites the dust!

1 comment:

  1. I find this really appropriate and therefore of great interest for what I'm planning with 'coastal' painting. The main difference is the weather !!!!! http://gatepostpicture.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/boat-club.html