A Day at the Beach: Barnacles.

If you’re tired of beach paintings, you don’t have to worry…this is the last one (for a while, at least). Given my short attention span, I’m kind of impressed that I managed to finish four.  Painting in sets is definitely the way to go, though: it forces you to really work on an idea and a technique instead of just skipping along to the next thing. If you have trouble sticking with something, try telling a bunch of your friends that you’re painting a set of four and that you’ll put them online when you’re done — it really helps with the motivation!


I think this one is stylistically a bit different than the others — it’s more layered, in a way. It sounds silly, but I wanted to get a little bit of the inblended paint-by-numbers look. So when I painted the barnacles at the bottom, I kept the different layers and colors distinct. What do you think?


After thinking about my realism post some more, I’ve come to the conclusion that I sometimes set up a false dichotomy between realism and abstract-ism. I mean, it’s not like those are the only two options! A lot of what I envy in other artists’ work is the ability to distort or exaggerate an object in a particular way. A great example of this is Camilla Engman, whose work I love — she’s certainly not entirely realistic, but neither is she abstract. I doubt that I will ever paint an entirely abstract piece, as those generally don’t attract me all the much…what I really want is to have my own particular way of exaggerating what I see into something new and unique. I guess that’s what I usually mean by “style.”

(Almost) abstract.

I felt pretty happy with the somewhat stylized effect in this painting until the thought popped into my head that it looked a bit like I had run it through a live trace in Illustrator. Ugh. Upon looking at it again I think you can pretty clearly see the layers of paint, etc., but it’s not nice to feel like you’ve just spent hours doing something a computer can do in 20 seconds. As Uncle T mentioned in the comments to the realism post, there’s not much point in acting as a mere image translator anymore since a computer program (or a camera) can do that so easily and effectively. The challenge to the artist, then, is to make something that requires more interpretation than just a rearrangement of pixels or vectors. Something that has to have human eyes + brains + hands in there somewhere. Something that is truly creative instead of just imitative.

Lauren asked if I have any “mentors,” and I’m going to have to think about that for a while since it’s really hard for me to generate a list off the top of my head. I might have a Mentor Week in the near future…wouldn’t that be fun? A week of sharing the artists/illustrators/crafters who inspire us?

On the (*cough*) sales front, now that all the paintings are done I thought I’d mention that I have just ordered 5×7 prints of each of them for le shoppe. All of the originals except (possibly) Barnacles have sold, but I will be selling high quality giclee prints of StarfishThe Pretty Rock, Seaweed, and Barnacles, plus three my three favorites from the Peaceable Kingdom set (Lion + Lamb, Wolf + Deer, Seal + Penguin). It will probably be at least a week before they go in the shop since I need to take some photos, etc., but I’ll let you know when they’re here. :)


2 thoughts on “A Day at the Beach: Barnacles.

  1. i like these. i think i will have to get the whole set when i decorate the boys’ room. i like the colors. don’t you think they will look nice, framed and in a row over two matching twin beds? even though there are no back hoes or diesel engines involved? the boys might be devastated, but too bad.

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