Make it or break it

Seascapes 52: week 14

When do you take risks and when do you play it safe? This week's Seascapes 52 shares another creation from my Best of Britain seascapes and encourages a little creative risk-taking.

Painting cropped to edges: beach scene looking across sand towards white outcrop. There is a ship in the distance. A few flowers in the foreground suggest that the viewer is standing on a hill above the beach.

I do love a sandy beach. And beautiful Kingsgate Bay in Kent delivers on that front. If you scramble down the cliffs and across the beach, you can also enjoy some exploring through that archway in the white cliffs. But do check the tide before you venture forth and wear sensible footwear as it's rocky underfoot.

Composition-wise, this seascape painting is typical of my style. The sweeping expanses of sand, sea and sky celebrate my love of open spaces. You can see my preference for asymmetric balance with the beach curving the eye towards the cliffs on the left-hand-side of the beach. 

What's a little more unusual are the flowers in the foreground. They're in red so adding them was a bold move against the creamy beach. Would they accentuate the depth? Would they make the view seem more or less believable? Would I manage to capture the delicacy of the red blooms? What if it made the painting too fiddly? I don't have the steadiest of hands so it could go horribly awry.

Adding another layer, particularly one that contrasts markedly with the rest of the painting, is always risky. You can make it or break it. I've learnt to be bold though. If you feel something is missing, then you're probably right. But I usually let a painting rest before I add these sort of details. It's all too easy to overwork a surface if you don't pause and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Sometimes these kinds of finishing touches enhance the narrative potential of a painting. In this case, they help connect the viewer to the scene. You know where you're standing on the clifftop. 

I'm going to add one more tip for fellow artists here. If you find yourself near Kingsgate Bay, definitely head to Margate and check out the wonderful Lovely's Art Gallery. A family-owned art shop with an upstairs exhibition space that is still owned and run by the Lovely family descended from its original proprietor. 

And if you like the beach painting, you can find it in my Land & Sea collection.

Thanks for reading. Join in next Wednesday to catch the new wave in Seascapes 52. 

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