I started to paint the green house and the pier on a foggy day. The interweaving of light and dark under the pier, reflection, different lines and shapes, and muted colors motivated me to paint this view. However, the view did not translate well into the painting.
Repeated small shapes and muted colors made the painting dull. The light cerulean blue top was an attempt to introduce cooler tone to otherwise gray and warm surroundings. It somewhat helped the painting but that was not enough. After painting into the evening, most of the issues were still not resolved.
I revisited the painting a day later with a fresher look. Inspired by the sun, I decided to warm the gray to match the surrounding. The busy pier was simplified. The right-hand side house was changed to a darker color. The deck was removed to get rid of the problematic diagonal. Fish totes were redrawn as larger shapes. The foreground was updated with more details and a few lines to make it interesting.
The painting is getting better than a few days ago but I thought it still needed a strong line somewhere. I found a solution from a Stuart Davis’s work “The Blue Cafe“. It has a few lines and a musical note on the sky. It was a floating shape but without it, the sky would have been void. I took the inspiration from this musical note and created 2 short dark horizontal wires with different heights below the top wire. I was happy with this ending.
The third day, I was painting the green house and the pier but I was struggling to keep it interesting. I decided to paint a few hours in the evening to fix it but I failed. The next day I decided to leave the architecture painting alone and paint something unrelated.
I went back to where I painted the boat but the boat was gone so I decided to paint the rock wall. I looked at two paintings to get inspiration for my work. Nicolas De Stael’s “Composition” from the Metropolitan museum and Egon Schiele’s “Schiele’s Room in Neulengbach”
These two paintings gave me ideas on simplifying my composition of the rock wall and the color scheme. I enlarged one of the rock and built everything around it as supporting shapes. Two vertical pillars were kept to offset many rectangles shapes in the painting. Most of the colors were gray, therefore I borrowed a red line from the nearby building and put it on the top of the rocks. A thin yellow line was added on the top to connect the top and the bottom. Finally, a creamy white surrounding frame was added to open the confined space around this clustered structure.
A green boat under repair anchored between the rocks caught my attention. I spent a few hours drawing it. When I was in the spot to paint the boat the next day, the boat has already moved from the tide and now it was facing the opposite direction. I decided to stay with the drawing and make minor changes based on the current observation.
The misty fog and the pale ground inspired me to introduce blue color. However, boat’s green color and the rock’s blue color were clashing. I have recently visited Marsden Hartley’s Maine Exhibition at the Colby Museum of Art. His colors are bold and dark and he often uses blue, white and black.
Hartley’s colors inspired me to introduce these colors into my painting. I used the dark green and black to replace the problematic green color in the boat. The background was changed to pure white with the black border at the bottom. A few lines in the foreground was introduced to connect it to the boat. One of the lines was changed to orange color to complement the blue and I called this painting done. I was very happy to have worked with white and black inspired by Marsden Hartley’s work.
It was a foggy morning; the fog keeps on lifting for a short period only to return again. I sat on the rocks close to the Ferry building looking across the water towards a red building and a few oil tanks. I have painted this view in 2009. However, it looks different with the newly finished red building.
With the fog rolling in and out and silver gray oil tanks against the gray sky, this was not visually interesting. I decided to change the oil tanks to a dark green color. This changed the tank shape to be a large dense block, therefore a horizontal line opening was needed to keep the space breathing. A cooler toned staircase was also added to divide the large tank shape.