Heceta Head Lighthouse

This was a fun one! This is Heceta Head Lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. Breathtaking coastline and this area is particularly rugged and beautiful. One day I’ll replicate this painting en plein air, but for this iteration I had to use a reference photo. At least the photo was taken by myself, so I had a sense for the place; hoping some of that personal experience made it into the final work.

This piece is on 12″x18″ gesso panel and took about 8 hours to complete. While I still have a couple of minor highlights to add, this is close enough to the final product to call it done. I have never painted ocean, so the waves were a challenge, but I’ve started taking some lessons with a new instructor for a few hours every other week, and she was a tremendous guide when I ran into problems. If you like landscapes, check out her work at Mary Watkins Fine Art.

The palette is what I’m most excited about with this piece. While there’s a lot of (for me) technical skills that come into play with the water/waves/rocks, it’s the hues that I’m most excited about. Mary was very instrumental in teaching me about landscape warming and cooling using hues I hadn’t considered. Previously I had thought in terms of strict color wheel compliments to adjust saturation, but I learned how to think through the balance of what makes up colors that trend towards one end of the spectrum or another. For example, the use of Lemon Yellow, Cad Yellow Medium, or Yellow Ochre was actually a critical decision for this entire piece. Can you guess the winner and why?

Reference photo and progression timeline below. Enjoy!


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