Sunday, March 25, 2012

Roadside Shadows - landscape in oils

Here's my most recent painting...

farm gate & tree oil painting by andy dolphin
(Roadside shadows. 60x40cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)

The silhouette created by the shadow area in this scene really caught my eye as I drove along a road near Mt Shadforth recently. I have no idea what kind of tree that is, but it appears to have had a tough life.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"New" wheels...

My trusty old 1985 Mitsubishi L300 four-wheel drive is due for retirement. You might say "the sun is setting on her"...

Yesterday I got my "new" car, a 2004 Nissan X-Trail...

It's taken me a good while to make a decision so I'm hoping it will give me years of reliable service and let me visit some places I've been avoiding for quite a while now - and I can do it in comfort too.

With my new camera and my "new" car, I really do have to get some painting done now.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Big Breaker - seascape in oil

A week ago, after visiting William Bay National Park in Denmark, I was looking at photos of the region on the internet. This is a great way to discover new and interesting places that you might have driven by over the years.

One such place is Lights Beach. While it is in the same national park as the very popular Greens Pool, it is accessed via a different road. The photos I saw made it look inviting from an artist's point of view so on Friday, with clear skies looking set to hang around, I headed off to Denmark.

Lights Beach didn't disappoint. It is an amazing place with hazy long-distance vistas, secluded bays, a seasonal creek flowing across the beach, large rocky outcrops and, most importantly, massive waves breaking close to shore.

I took over 450 photos in a couple of hours!

I wanted to do a large painting (60cm x 40cm is large by my standards) that captured the mood of Light Beach but knew it was going to be a challenge. There was so much white foam on the water that, at times, it looked more like a snow-scape. I decided to do a small study to see what problems lay ahead...

step 1, seascape oil painting by andy dolphin

Other than the messy foreground, I quite like stage one, above, as a painting in its own right.

step 2, seascape oil painting by andy dolphin

If this was to be a finished painting at this size, I probably wouldn't have gone much further than stage two. Just a little tightening in a couple of key areas, like putting some "clear" water back into the peak of the wave, and it would work quite nicely. But the purpose of this exercise was to experiment with ideas and techniques for a larger piece.

Lights Beach, seascape oil painting by andy dolphin
 (Breaker at Lights Beach - sketch. 30x20cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)

This is where I ended up. There's a lot I like about this. The key shadow area cast by the breaking wave is pretty much how I wanted it and the overall composition and tonal values work for me. I did have a bit of an ongoing battle with the large mass of blanket foam through the middle ground, too light, too dark, too light... but some of that battle is more related to the small size of the painting as even small brush strokes were often not small enough.

Here's a photo of one part of Lights Beach, after an especially large breaker turned the sea to cottage cheese (or whipped cream or shaving foam or something)!

Lights Beach,Denmark. Photo by andy dolphin

Friday, March 9, 2012

Two Waves Meet - seascape sketch in oils

I'm not sure what the title for the full-size painting will be, but "Two Waves Meet" will do for this sketch.

seascape oil painting sketch albany by andy dolphin
(Two Waves Meet - sketch. 30x25cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)

This is a spot at Betty's Beach, near Albany in Western Australia. It's a great little cove with lots of boulders, nooks, crannies and some thumping-big waves.

There's about two hours work in this sketch which is based on a photo taken last week. The plan is to do a 60cm x 40cm painting from it.

Here's a close-up of the brushwork on the small wave in the foreground.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Betty's Beach - landscape in oil

Betty's Beach is a small fishing "village" near Albany in southern West Australia. It hosts half a dozen fishing shacks used by fishermen and their families during the salmon season and on holiday weekends. I discovered the place whilst aimlessly driving around about three years ago and finally got back there last week on a near-perfect, warm and sunny afternoon.

I hope to do quite a few paintings from this location. Here's the first one. At 90cm wide, it's the widest painting I've done for over eight years.

Betty's Beach oil painting by andy dolphin
(Evening at Betty's Beach. 90x30cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin SOLD)

You can see this painting in animated stages in my last post.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Betty's Beach - animated landscape

Here's the stages of my latest oil painting, Evening at Betty's Beach, as an animation. Click to see it a bit bigger.

Betty's Beach oil painting stages by andy dolphin

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Google privacy and you

A short deviation from art for a moment...

Today sees the implementation of Google's new privacy policy - a policy seemingly aimed at intruding on your privacy, as opposed to protecting it.

In short, if you have a Google account such as a Blogspot blog like mine, or a Youtube account, then virtually everything you do whilst signed in to your account (and most of us are likely signed in automatically) will be tracked and logged by Google so that they can influence your search results and deliver targeted advertising to you.

It doesn't seem like much of a problem on the face of it, but it is a significant change in policy. I'm among those who don't see this sort of thing as a benefit. It already frustrates me that Google search results are tailored based on search history.

If such things concern you, then you can go to and see some of the information Google has on you. You can remove all history while you're there and this will, in theory, also "pause" history tracking for all but your Google searches.

If you are deeply concerned about your privacy, you could close down your Google account but this will, of course, delete your Blogspot blog and Youtube account completely.