Back Bay Bluffs - Large Original Oil Painting of Wetlands

"Back Bay Bluffs"
18" x 24"
Oil on stretched canvas.
Available on my web site

This was created for a group show coming at the beginning of April at the Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach's Back Bay. It's a very informal show of paintings available for sale featuring the Back Bay.

The bay is a protected wetland and home to lots of birds, fish and occasionally a seal or two. The waterways are open to the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful and very peaceful place.

In creating this painting I used a smaller study for color information and composition, which I painted while actually at the Back Bay. The study is 8 x 10 inches. When working on a larger piece like this I find that after the initial block-in of shapes and colors I really don't need to refer to the study or a photo much after that.

When I was still a student and I would read blogs from other artists, statements like that would baffle me. I mean how could you create a finished painting without looking at SOMETHING? Now that I've gotten a few more years of painting experience under my belt, I get it now. At some point during your journey as an artist you realize that the view/person/still life you are looking at is not as important as the painting you are creating. After the initial stages of the process you find yourself responding to the needs of the painting itself and looking at the view/object/person less often.

Yes, I used a view in real life that I stood in front of to help create this but that view didn't dictate every decision I made in the painting process. For example, in the actual view, the swampy dark green grasses on the lower right had a brown patch of earth right in the center of them. I chose not to paint that in because that color change wouldn't have made sense visually AND it would have actually hurt the overall effect of my painting because that detail wasn't anywhere near my focal point.

My 8" x 10" study done outdoors (en plein air).

When it comes to working larger from a study or photo reference I've found that the larger version can be more successful if at some point I put my reference away. Then I can look at each area of my larger work and decide what might need to change or what details need to be added or taken away. In the large version of this painting the bluff on the left side is much lighter in value than the one in my initial plein air study, which you see above. I made the change even though I liked my small 8 x 10 study because I felt that changing the value would more accurately reflect what time of day it was.

Now when all is said and done, I do like both versions but for different reasons.

If you enjoy the large "Back Bay Bluffs" painting, I've entered it in the monthly Bold Brush painting competition and I'd appreciate it if you would hit the "like" button. Click here if you are so inclined.


Dana Cooper said…
You bet I like it! I really like how you handled the middle ground with color. The study is fabulous too!
lovely painting Kim. I agree with you, you don`t have`to paint exactly what you see. you can put that tree over there to where ever you want to if it suits the composition eh? kim.
I do it a lot. All the best Kim.
Anonymous said…
I agree girlfriend...I like both for different reasons.

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