Sea, Waves and Beach - Saltwick Bay, North Yorkshire

"Streams on the Beach", Saltwick Bay, North Yorkshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2008.

An 'almost finished' oil painting of the superb Saltwick Bay on the North Yorkshire coast just below Whitby. Remaining to be done, when the under paint is tough dry, is some glazing for a soft haze (sea spray) over the lower background cliffs, plus some small work (detailing) of areas like the main wave and sand (small stones etc).

It was just one of those days when the light, tide etc all combined to produce a wonderful subject... a falling tide provided some wonderful refection's on the beach and thanks to the flat shelve of rock in the bay the waves were much smaller than those just north at Whitby.

As I've mentioned in a previous post about this location, this is by no means an easy one to get to due to the steep cliff, and best avoided after any period of rain as the path down becomes very slippery but the location is also a favourite amongst photographers as it's one of the east coast beaches that you can see both the sunrise and sunset (for two weeks either side mid summer) plus fossil hunters but the flat rocks beyond the beach are again very slippery and the cliffs very unstable as I witnessed.

At the beginning of the post I stated that the painting was 'almost' finished... having not looked at it for a number of days more haze was added to lower areas of cliffs , reworked some of the wave form (highlights and mid tones) and adding some gulls. It doesn't really show up well on the image but next the whole beach area was lightened slightly, some further work on the small streams/water (highlights, mid tones) with finally some additional work, though not a lot, on the two main rocks (more modeling of form) completed the painting.

Dancer performing on Embankment, London

"Watching the Dancer", London.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2008.

I liked the ring of people as they stood watching this young ladies performance on the Embankment in London and the contrast between the busy detailed areas and the open space around the dancer. The bright light from both the afternoon sun and that reflecting off the River Thames (in the background) added to the appeal by adding all the wonderful shadows and contrast.

The painting was produced in a similar manor to that shown in other post on this blog. Though this painting was somewhat less complicated to produce as most of the tones and colours where similar in the more detailed areas requiring less mixing time.

Starting with the background the dark and mid tones (of various colours) of all the figures, railings, barge etc was painted. Moving down, the shadows from the above figures was painted next, before going back and painting in all the highlights - reflected light on the river and on the pavement between the figures and the highlights on those figures requiring it (mainly around the heads). A lot of the above figure painting was done by painting the negative shape (painting the outside of something to create the inner shape).

Painting the dancer and the remaining figures followed the same technique as above, before completing the painting with the foreground shadows and the main highlight.