June’s Painting Project: The Instructions (Seaweed Rock Shore)

This month’s project photo is of a section of rocky shore dominated by a big rock and seaweek, presenting an array of colours and textures. I took the photo at Staffin, on the eastern side of the Trotternish Peninsula on Skye, when I was doing some on-location drawing (see photos).

I think the photo offers interesting possibilities for composition, starting with the decision of whether to include the big rock or not, and whether to include any of the sea and breaking waves at the top or not. There’s a strong diagonal in the photo, and where this intersects with the edge is crucial — I’d avoid it being right in the corner because it’ll feel improbable. In terms of colour, I think it lends itself to exploring mixing an orange and blue, the range of browns to greys this produces.

You might use modelling paste or collage to help convey a sense of the different textures of the rocks, water, and seaweed. Perhaps salt or string in still-wet paint. In watercolour, consider granulating colours. Think about how you might convey a sense of the various textures in a painterly way, letting your materials and mark making do the work.

The photo could be the starting point for something completely abstract, a painting that’s about colours and/or textures without strongly stating “sea shore”. What about a mixed media collage using paper, fabric, and paint?

As always, medium, size and format are up to you. Happy painting! I look forward to seeing what this inspires.

If you’ve done a painting in response to May’s project, or any earlier one (see list of painting projects), do email me a photo to put in the photo gallery so we can all enjoy it.

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