Work-in-Progress: Cliff Edge

This painting is inspired by the cliffs at Rubha Hunish, working from my sketches, reference photos and memories of the location. The top photo is where the painting was this morning; the second where it is now.

I had two aims when I picked up my brushes today: to increase the tonal contrast by adding strong darks and fix the shape of the lower cliff which was too perfectly curved. When I downed brushes I felt I’d fixed the latter somewhat, but it still needs further work. The tonal contrast I will ponder in better daylight, as well as consider whether I should add some blue back into the sky.

Work in Progress: Cliff Edge Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans
Work -in-Progress. Size: 122x60cm

Part of me is itching to change the weather in the painting to misty, to make everything more ethereal. Or perhaps have the weather coming in from one side. Doing this would involve titanium white and glazing medium, perhaps adding a little retarder to give me time to wipe it off should I change my mind. I think part of the desire to do this is the muted moodiness of my Trying to Snow painting, where I knocked back the colour with thin white.

If you’re wondering how I achieved the vertical dribbles in the sea (which I feel evokes a memory of rain as well as enhancing the sense of movement), it was by letting paint from the cliffs run all the way down to the bottom of the canvas over the still-wet sea area, removing the colour. Later, when it was dry, I’ve painted another layer over this area.

Detail Wet-on-Wet Acrylic Painting Technique

Another thing I want to add are lots of seabirds flying around the cliffs, as well as several more sheep grazing. If you look carefully, you’ll see these two above the lower cliff, at the right.

Detail: Tiny Sheep in a Painting

8 Replies to “Work-in-Progress: Cliff Edge”

  1. Love the cliffs. Been to Portree 3times from the Cape and would love to see your portrayal of the mists there!

  2. What is magical is that sometimes cliffs look like waterfalls or at another time, they look like a herd of majestic mammoths playing with the waves! Rubha Hunish you are so bewitching, so haunting…

  3. I feel the life in this painting, the strength and textures of the rocky cliff, and the cold sea and spray forever moving. This is a painting I could look at for long periods of time, letting it take me away. I like the use of all the colors i can see in the closer view.

  4. I want it to be a painting where up close you see all sorts of colours, like you do when you look really closely at a rock, and then merging into a scene as you step backwards. So it tells different stories from different viewing distances.

  5. I agree with Shirley; this is one you can look at for a long time. I love the appearance of waves crashing against the base of the cliffs. I feel cold.

  6. I live in Africa, I battle to create a really acceptable picture, I study as much as I can, and never seem to improve. Is it possible there may be a person that can just never learn? Love your art, love your articles
    Will keep practicing and learning. Thank you for sharing your immense talent with us all.

  7. @Jillian Payne: Please, cast a glance at Cezanne paintings and look at the tremendous difference between his early still life paintings (dark, impasto in excess, no transparencies, heavy-handed…) and the rest of his still life paintings (lighter, colorful, bold, harmonious, no impasto at all, elegant, sophisticated, groundbreaking…). Why that difference? because he discovered and used watercolor! It was like an illumination for him! And he nearly painted with oil as he did with watercolor! Experiment various mediums and you too, you will have your illumination! And if you have a Master as ideal, study him, try to copy a detail of one of his paintings. (Cezanne had Veronese as Master in the museums). But above all, don’t give up!

  8. I think that sea in the first one is more dramatic ,and the sky does not require any further work.
    The lower cliff is very much improved on the lower one.

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