The Sea of Tranquility

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JJWilliamson
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The Sea of Tranquility

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:09 am

Oil on canvas, 50 X 40 cms. This is not South Shields or North East England but IS one of the most challenging paintings I've undertaken so far. The palette was particularly tricky, for me, with all those yellows and blues determined to add some unintended greens to proceedings. :) I wanted a peaceful scene and might still add a couple of small, silhouetted gulls, to bring a hint of life to the canvas. See what you think.
Sea and Sky 18 07 2019 001 (700 pix).jpg
Sea and Sky 18 07 2019 001 (700 pix).jpg (231.75 KiB) Viewed 1094 times
Here's the monochrome version, Jules. It really does change the mood, doesn't it?
Sea and Sky 18 07 2019 001 (700 pix).jpg
Sea and Sky 18 07 2019 001 (700 pix).jpg (203.08 KiB) Viewed 1048 times
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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by bjondon » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:46 pm

This is superb JJ. I saw it first on my little b&w kindle and just went wow! Had to fire up the iPad and was surprised at the difference in effect. Love the colour balance and detail on the sea; almost like sliding layers of artists' palettes. And the expressive forms on that line of contrast central to the cloud bank play very well.
Psychologically and structurally this is a real winner, but have a look at it in black and white - the way the sky stretches right over the viewer is awesome, yet somehow diminished when half of it is in colour.
I'd be tempted to do half a dozen versions of this, maybe play around with it in photoshop.
I think the sky needs an overall extension of luminosity and emotional activation - so either more colour or less, and I would try to vary the palette from the sea more. The detail and structure are fine - in a way the restraint makes the viewer invest more meaning in the marvelous dark shapes and textures within the cloud bank coalescing in that twisted dark line of silhouette. It would make an extraordinary etching or huge charcoal. A collision of Dali and Turner!
Jules

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Perry
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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by Perry » Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:28 am

I think that this is a more impressive painting than the last one you did of the sky and the ocean. In this case, all parts of the painting have tremendous depth. The colors are wild and very dramatic. The painting doesn't look particularly realistic, though, in the sense that it has a sci-fi quality, as if this were a sunset on some other more brightly colored world than ours. And that's fine -- that's not meant as a criticism. What good is art if you aren't free to improve upon reality? The ocean is particularly sharp and dazzling. There is a lot of nuance in the waves.

The sun seems to be setting behind some distant mountains which are themselves obscured on either side by mist or clouds. Of course, this could be a sunrise. (If the two don't have the same characteristics, perhaps you could inform us. Do sunsets or sunrises tend to be more colorful?)

Very nicely done.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:48 am

Thank you very much indeed, Jules and Perry, for the truly excellent critiques. Marvellous stuff!
bjondon wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:46 pm
This is superb JJ. I saw it first on my little b&w kindle and just went wow! Had to fire up the iPad and was surprised at the difference in effect. Love the colour balance and detail on the sea; almost like sliding layers of artists' palettes. And the expressive forms on that line of contrast central to the cloud bank play very well. ...That's a hell of an opener, Jules, and amazingly insightful. Your critical analysis is a pleasure to read and, of course, the support is very well received.

Psychologically and structurally this is a real winner, but have a look at it in black and white - the way the sky stretches right over the viewer is awesome, yet somehow diminished when half of it is in colour. ...A very interesting suggestion, a revelation, in fact. I've done just that and find the result to be startling, so much so that I'll be surprised if I don't go ahead and paint a monochrome version. The effect is enchanting, almost beguiling in an otherworldly sort of way.
I'd be tempted to do half a dozen versions of this, maybe play around with it in photoshop. ...I followed your splendid suggestion and will post the photoshopped version after this reply.
I think the sky needs an overall extension of luminosity and emotional activation - so either more colour or less, and I would try to vary the palette from the sea more. The detail and structure are fine - in a way the restraint makes the viewer invest more meaning in the marvelous dark shapes and textures within the cloud bank coalescing in that twisted dark line of silhouette. It would make an extraordinary etching or huge charcoal. A collision of Dali and Turner! ...A charcoal version is another exciting possibility, and I'm currently fully stocked with charcoal and pastels. I'll see what occurs. The contrasting and overplayed tones/values have been a source of some doubt, yet they were a deliberate choice. The sun, at this time of day, would cast more light, but I was looking for an ethereal quality, one with an almost futuristic slant to heighten the spiritual aspects of this glimpse into Earth's future. As a result I changed the reality, never knowing if it would find its mark. I hope this makes sense.

As for "Dali meets Turner". WOW! I nearly fell off me chair. :) Made me smile, although I've a long way to go before I dare accept such a compliment. They are two of my favourites. I still smile at Dali's lack of restraint, especially when he told his professors that they weren't qualified enough to assess him. That arrogance shows in his work and without it he wouldn't have been the same artist. Not an endearing quality, though.

Jules
Perry wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:28 am
I think that this is a more impressive painting than the last one you did of the sky and the ocean. In this case, all parts of the painting have tremendous depth. The colors are wild and very dramatic. The painting doesn't look particularly realistic, though, in the sense that it has a sci-fi quality, as if this were a sunset on some other more brightly colored world than ours. And that's fine -- that's not meant as a criticism. What good is art if you aren't free to improve upon reality? The ocean is particularly sharp and dazzling. There is a lot of nuance in the waves. ...A particularly penetrating and sensitive analysis, Perry, and one that brought a big smile to my face. I was trying for beyond reality, an exaggeration of realism that smacks of the future. I thought of The Time Machine, by H G Wells, as I painted this scene, particularly the sections where he describes how the sun and oceans had changed on the aging Earth.

The sun seems to be setting behind some distant mountains which are themselves obscured on either side by mist or clouds. Of course, this could be a sunrise. (If the two don't have the same characteristics, perhaps you could inform us. Do sunsets or sunrises tend to be more colorful?) ...It depends on the conditions of the day. They share similar qualities, hence the old saying "Red sky at night, shepherds delight. Red sky in morning, sailors warning". It largely depends on the atmospheric conditions, where dust particles share the same light dispersing qualities as water particles. The spectrum is split by water or dust particles, leaving the longer red light waves to fill the sky. The effects on the eye are similar even though the cause is very different. Our weather usually tends to move in from the west, where seawater abounds. Lots of water vapour could mean an impending storm. It's only part of the story, however, because there are varying degrees of redness in any sky, often accompanied by pinks, yellows and oranges. In short, it would be difficult to tell the difference without some sort of scientific analysis. Also, if this was the North Sea you'd be looking at a sunrise, if it was the Irish Sea you'd be watching a sunset. Nothing, however, is written. :)


Actually, you've hit on one of my niggles. I also thought the clouds resembled distant mountains. It's true that this phenomenon occurs in real life but it wasn't one of my aims, if I'm honest. I'll give them a nudge to emphasise their gaseous nature.

Very nicely done. ...Thank you. I'm delighted this change in style caught your eye. Thanks for letting me know.
Best to both

JJ
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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by bjondon » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:11 pm

Have you ever tried etching JJ? Water vapour and light seem somehow made for black ink and the medium of hand printing.
Actually I configured those castle-like forms as clouds quite clearly - the illusion of solidity seemed part of the imaginative point.
I like the placement of the stones in the foreground . . almost as if they have just crawled out of the sea.
J

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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by Perry » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:51 pm

It does seem to me that if it is only mist (or fog) that is obscuring the sun, some of the sunlight would shine through the mist. Of course, that isn't necessarily true, since we all know that clouds can obscure the sun completely. It's just that in the middle of the painting, right under the sun, that mist seems to have a very distinct outline, distinct in shape in the way that mountains would be distinct. if it is mist or fog that you intended, then it seems that it should appear a little more amorphous.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:57 am

.
Hi JJ,
much as I like the oil-slick iridescence of the sunlight reflected in the water,
the B&W (great spot Jules!) version is brilliant. To me there seems to be more
movement in both the clouds and the water. The only issue I'd take is the
terrible title (Sea and Sky is fine though).

Regards, Not.


PS - No Gulls! This one is done. Walk away.

.

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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:59 am

Thank you, Jules, Perry and Not, for the thoughts and analysis. Always appreciated.
bjondon wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:11 pm
Have you ever tried etching JJ? Water vapour and light seem somehow made for black ink and the medium of hand printing. ...No, I can't say that I have, Jules, but it's an interesting thought.
Actually I configured those castle-like forms as clouds quite clearly - the illusion of solidity seemed part of the imaginative point. ...Ah, that's good to know because it's a regular feature in photography, where cloud formations give the appearance of distant land. It's a fascinating illusion. I could make a tiny adjustment to eliminate the ambiguity without affecting the image.
I like the placement of the stones in the foreground . . almost as if they have just crawled out of the sea. ...I love that interp'. Yes, it could be primordial rather than futuristic. I immediately thought of horseshoe crabs, once you'd mentioned your impression. Nice one.
J
Perry wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:51 pm
It does seem to me that if it is only mist (or fog) that is obscuring the sun, some of the sunlight would shine through the mist. Of course, that isn't necessarily true, since we all know that clouds can obscure the sun completely. ...It's a fair point, Perry, but as you quite rightly say, it doesn't always pan out as we'd expect. Cloud formations are a constant source of confusion for me. I've seen brilliantly lit clouds sitting next to dark and ominous clouds and have puzzled over the reasons why. Cloud density plays its part but every cloud does not always have a silver lining. :) In this painting the sun fails to penetrate the cloud bank or leave a bright rim, and that's just the way it was.

It's just that in the middle of the painting, right under the sun, that mist seems to have a very distinct outline, distinct in shape in the way that mountains would be distinct. if it is mist or fog that you intended, then it seems that it should appear a little more amorphous. ...Well, yes and no. It does give the impression of distant mountains, but that's a common illusion in nature. However, a swift adjustment should clear the confusion. This is a dense and dark cloud bank rather than a mist, and this feature contributes, in no small way, to the overall light conditions. It's true that most clouds are soft around the edges, and many art teachers would emphasise that point, but hard edges do exist, especially where dense clouds are concerned. It's a worthy point of discussion, though, and my opinion is by no means absolute.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:57 am
.
Hi JJ,
much as I like the oil-slick iridescence of the sunlight reflected in the water,
the B&W (great spot Jules!) version is brilliant. ...Couldn't agree more. Took me by surprise it did.

To me there seems to be more
movement in both the clouds and the water. The only issue I'd take is the
terrible title (Sea and Sky is fine though). ...Ah, the title is trite and a bit tongue in cheek. It's probably been done a thousand times and is by no means the final title. I was toying with the moon's influence on the Earth and its most famous of lunar seas. :)

Regards, Not.


PS - No Gulls! This one is done. Walk away. ...Excellent! It shall remain gull-less. :)

.
Many thanks to all

JJ
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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by Perry » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:22 pm

Regarding our discussion about clouds, mist, and hard and soft edges, I think the average viewer wouldn't even think about those things. I brought them up only because I had my critical hat on. The painting is just fine as it is.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: The Sea of Tranquility

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:05 pm

Your critical hat is just fine by me, Perry. The exchanges help enormously. I sometimes consider things for an age then do little or nothing. Some you win and some you lose, but the endeavour is everything. :)

JJ
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