The study (below) I used for Work and Play (see demonstration) presented the opportunity to develop this initial idea, but not to copy it. The study was made on a very hot day and I needed to work quickly: the distant buildings were a simple tone of wash, the figures suggested to imply movement. The heat meant that I could not linger when applying washes. I used a small travelling palette with tube colour squeezed out prior to arrival at the beach: cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, turquoise, cerulean blue and burnt sienna. A flick of a loaded brush implied the foreground texture.
Remember, the viewer does not normally see your starting point, they only view the finished image. As you develop your original idea you can take your idea in whichever way you feel will benefit your work. The sketchbook study is the skeleton on which you have to build. I wanted to imply heat, atmosphere and beach life. My first marks and decisions set the scene. A high eye-level line was established first to draw the viewer into the painting with implied marks to suggest sand.
I did not want a blue sky; the heat of the day was building, the heavy atmosphere set the scene with the distant city a collective general shape. I used my old butter knife to imply structure and lift out pigment to create variation and tried to avoid hard edges, which would attract attention.
I think it is important to know what you are trying to achieve with the bigger picture but allow yourself to adjust the minor decisions as you progress through the work. My main problem was how to link the big shapes. I was very aware of the need to have linked areas and was finding it difficult because I didn’t have any foreground buildings and cast shadows to work off. I set the light high and slightly to the right, which would create short shadows and make the tones dark because the people and objects would be in shadow. The light will hit top edges in places and flat surfaces that face upwards.