Capitola painting in progress
Capitola painting in progress

Minds grow when they learn new things. If you are inspired to paint subjects you haven’t much experience with, make a couple of outings first with only your sketch book and pencils. Find a great spot that includes some of the new elements. Bring a beach chair and make yourself comfortable. Study the angles and relationships with your tools. Whether it is boats, buildings, cars, or people that you want to start to include in your art making, taking time to sketch and study will more rapidly develop your skill.

Sitting at the beach, you can catch moments when the dogs are dancing in and out of waves, or a child pauses to study the crab crawling out of the sand castle. You train your eye with measuring and comparing: the angle of the shoulders and hips, or how the cars stack against the curb. On my recent drawing trip to Capitola, I was surprised to learn how much easier it was to measure perspective and angles on location. Photos flatten the depth that are eyes see when looking in 3 dimensions. You can use your drawings to inform your paintings as you start to incorporate new subjects. Take your sketchbook along with you and have fun!

I have 2 paintings started on one street in Capitola Village. I planned to put in cars and figures, but didn’t have time to include them during  my initial paint outing. Once the sun was up high, the temp was hot and my shadows were gone. Although I had photos I could use,  I found it most helpful to be on site. I was excited to see that there were sail boats moored off shore. Their masts added a vertical element to my painting. I chose to make drawings of cars and figures to help me learn the shapes and perspective. Now I feel confident to return with my paints and easel to incorporate these elements into my small painting. I will continue the larger painting back in the studio.

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