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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Painting the atmosphere of the Oregon coast

There is an interesting concept in art called "lost and found edges."  This to me is the secret of how to paint atmosphere.  This concept refers to the fact that our eye will fill in, or complete, ill-defined areas in an image, and in turn our mind will label this area with a motif it recognizes.  When I was painting a southern Oregon seascape, I used this concept to paint the atmosphere of a sunset evening sky with heavy weather approaching.

In order to create the heaviness of the cloud cover, I painted the sky upside down!

This is because my mind "reads" these forms as land in this position, and this in turn influenced how I applied the paint, even when I was trying to be atmospheric.

Lost and found edges can also create the illusion of iridescence.When edges are left indistinct and each shape is shaded very gradually from the lightest color in the center area to the darkest intensity of that color at the outer edge, the affect is a sense of glowing light.

Lost and found edges also create a sensation of movement.  Each form dissolves into the next, and nothing stays fixed and certain.  Just like life.  It feels significant to me that this painting, made with lost and found edges, is titled The Longing of Memory.

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