Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On the Coquille River at Bandon Marsh

“The Turn of the Tide”
(Coquille River at Bandon Marsh, Oregon Coast)
Oil Sketch on Centurion Oil Primed Linen Panel
4” x 6”

This is the Coquille River about a mile and a half or so from where it enters the Sea at Bandon, Oregon, and we are looking across at Bandon Marsh, a protected  Nature Reserve, and at the turn of the tide.  As I painted from the driver’s seat of my SUV, it being too drizzly off and on to do otherwise, I watched those big tree trunks out in the river slowly drift upstream to the left, as the tide rose.  Eventually they slowed, became stationary for a time, and gradually began to move back to the right towards the sea, as the river’s current began to take over again; perhaps they might make it to the open sea this time before the next rising tide. 

And yes, there was birdlife to be seen and enjoyed.  Besides the odd seagull, there were various ducks and waterfowl, but I was too busy painting to try and identify them unless I already was familiar with them, such as the heron keeping vigil in front of where I painted.  Although I am not a wildlife artist per se, I am interested in and do enjoy observing them, and so they do get included from time to time, as staffage in my work, much as others include people in their cityscapes.  I am sure there were more to be seen across the river in the marsh. 

I had tried to find a spot further up the river, where the marsh is more extensive, but there were no lay-bys from which to paint from the truck, but here was good enough, as the drifting logs, the birdlife, the bit of mist drifting in and out over the marsh, and the light effects, made for an entertaining painting session.  The real subject of the sketch is the light breaking through and reflecting on the water, with the promise of a better afternoon; it was just a promise.  In Oregon, that patch of blue sky that comes to nothing is called “a sucker hole.”

The imprimatura was a mixture of Burnt Sienna & Venetian Red, and the pigments used were Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow (hue), Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red, Cobalt Blue, a bit of Ultramarine Blue and Ivory Black, and a touch of Gold Ochre; all by W&N, save for the black which was by Bloccx.  I know, I know; you’re wondering why so many colours, for a grey painting?  I had some of the colours still on my palette from the last painting session, and I was also testing various mixtures for the greys; the Gold Ochre was to see if it would brighten up the strip of marsh in the brightening light breaking through the clouds; perhaps it did a bit.

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