Thursday 4 January 2018

#280 'Rock Study, Seaford' 8x10"

We had four days in East Sussex, a wonderful coastline with chalk cliffs and rocky outcrops. Having not painted white cliffs before they are a challenge! It's all about the tonal values, everything was tonally close together the sea sky and cliffs, not easy! Very paintable though I could keep painting this subject for a while.

I felt I needed to do a study honing in on the rocks to really observe them and not try and make a 'pretty painting' but just paint what's there!

Squinting my eyes I could see the sticky out rock was darker than the sky, so I put it in first then the sky around it, doing that I could judge the rock was too dark, so I adjusted it's tonal value. 

Because there was a lot of grey neutral colours I compared them to each other asking the question is this warmer or cooler e.g. The sky was cool and the rocks warmer.

When I was painting this Monet came to my mind as I could imagine him liking this scene.

Meanwhile the tide was coming in and the seas were getting bigger! I kept thinking I was going to get dumped on, each break of wave crashing - see pic:

A lady warned me and said if I stay in this spot I would get cut off by the tide. So that put a bit of injection into my painting to finish! I left my spot and about 10 waves later the whole area was engulfed in water, a close escape!


  1. I can see how difficult the subject is; it is good to get a photograph to see that. I assume the base of the cliff and rock is seaweed. I think the sea and sky, even though only the ‘container’ of the rocks, are beautifully depicted and painted.

    1. Hi ebbybow, thank you, the base it seaweed and algae, it was tonally very dark compared to the chalk rocks. Clare

  2. Nice juicy brushstrokes! Do you use any medium or just the solvent? Francois

    1. Hi Francois, thanks, I used to make my own with Stand oil, Linseed oil and Turps but now use Sansodour low odour. I have brought Robersons glaze medium matt which is supposed to be good too, I haven't tried it yet! In the later stages of a painting I use very little or no medium which makes the paint thicker and fatter.Clare