The Shoreline

Watercolors have begun to grow on me. I like how easily the colors mix, how just adding water can create dramatic changes in opacity, and the way it seems to have its own sentient will. This last quality is my favorite and quite unique to watercolor. It is both challenging and fun to play with, a liquid conversation. How wet was my brush, how far will it spread?. Depending on how damp or dry the paper is designates how much the colors will mix or layer upon one another. When I originally tried watercolor, I was frustrated at my inability to fix minor mistakes, but I have found over time that it can be surprisingly forgiving with simply dabbing a damp paper towel. Not just to fix mistakes but to push and pull, the way you would with a charcoal drawing.

 Here is the first one I started with.

Please note that these are all pulled from my imagination, remembering what it looked like in my head to climb over the rocks at places like Monhegan Island, and Rockport, MA. An amalgama of rocky shorelines I have seen over the years.


11 x 15

I chose to explore shorelines, mostly for the rocks. Rocks are a simple way to explore shape, color, light, and composition. Specifically rocks allow you to explore these qualities without having to worry tremendously about perfectly articulated perspective or rigid shape structures. Rocks are organically defined by plane changes, and if you pay attention to your light source the plane and therefore values, follow suit.

In the first attempt I liked how the rocks contact with water defined the shape of the rock, showing a bit of scale and depth in the water. Wanting to investigate this matter, I zoomed in.


11 x 15

When I am this close to the rocks, I feel more comfortable making the colors vary and deviate from one another. Just like in real life you can see more of the differences that make each one unique. Again, I like how the water helps define the shapes, but I felt it could still be clearer. In my next attempt I thought about how the light flickers making the shining golden circles we are so used to seeing underwater.


15 x 22

However, I am still simply diving in and shaping these as my hands try to translate my imagination. In this composition I like the color; saturated and vibrant, I could see it in a children’s book perhaps with more refinement. I felt I could create more deliberate, foreground, middle ground and background to my shoreline, so I planned the next one out in my sketchbook.



The planning really helped and let me be able to focus on other details.

Shoreline_515 x 22

I’m really happy with how the final piece came out.  The piece as whole loses something with an iphone photograph. Having physical artwork photographed for online can sometimes be advantageous, blurring out some mistakes while amplifying others. This time around it feels more unified in person than it does digitally.

Hey, what can ya do?

Let me know what you think.


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