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NEXUS - 40" X 40" - OOC

edited November 17 in Post Your Paintings

This is the latest in my big abstract/realist seashore series.

I was reluctant to post it because it is a large painting and the impact is lost in a small photo.  And zooming in doesn’t really help because it is about the large colour fields a la Rothko. I chose a square format because it emphasizes the abstract formal elements of the composition such as the in-your-face diagonals. They, too, look a bit ordinary in a small photo.

I was initially attracted to this scene because of the colours. I love the juxtaposition of complementaries – blue against orange, yellow against violet.

All that aside, I hope the picture is recognizable to anyone who has stood on a high rock ledge and looked down at the swirling foam as the sea interacts with rocks and air.

This one took two weeks to paint. I used a ton of yellow ochre and red oxide for the rocks. The darkest darks are a black made with ultramarine blue and quinacridone crimson. The blues in the shaded area of foam were made with ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, phthalo blue and Titanium white with the tiniest touches of phthalo green and quinacridone crimson with white to make the pinks and greens.

I tried not to blend because I wanted the texture of the individual brushstrokes to show - also not really visible in a small photo.

There are a million little things I still need to do to it but got the canvas covered today and thought it a good time to ask for feedback.

Anyway, I’d be interested to read what folks here think of it (after trying to imagine it full-size on a well-lit wall). If you don’t think it works then please, please do tell me as I really need to know before I show it. And, if you can, please say what it is that doesn’t work. If you think it does work, I’d be very pleased to hear that, too.

My next big one in this series will be even more “out there” in terms of composition and colour.

Thanks for looking and commenting on this one.





  • edited November 17
    Looks amazing and I love your palette! Nothing stands out as being off here in any way.
     This one really speaks to me, something beautiful "about living life on the edge" and the feelings related to that in this life, just me. I definitely get the sense of being on the edge and looking down, my fear of heights teases me while looking, this a good thing in this case.
  • Thanks so much, @Forgiverness. I'm happy you think that it works and I really appreciate you taking the time to look and comment.

    Rob  :)
  • Rob

    Outstanding. Is the dark rock slashing diagonally, a black basalt dyke or is it just the sandstone in the shade?
    Amazing level of ugly abstraction in close up viewing and so real at a distance.

  • edited November 17
    Thanks very much, @dencal. It's Permian sandstone. 
    I'm glad the messy brushwork and abstraction is visible. I wanted this to be very obviously a painting.  :)
  • HilaryHilary -
    edited November 17

    Rob , 

    This is certainly very different from your other paintings yet it is still very recognisable as one of yours. Those beautiful chunky rocks couldn’t have been painted by anyone else ! 

    If you’ve gone for high impact , then you have certainly achieved it. In spades. 

    This is the sort of painting that when on the wall , and properly lit , will stop people in their tracks and cause a sharp intake of breath. It will remind people of that feeling of looking down from a great height  at swirling , foamy water.That delicious,  scared feeling that warns you not to take another step closer. The sea is powerful and fierce and would consume you within seconds, so you’re content to stand back and admire its energy and force from a safe distance. The sturdy rocks will protect you.  

    What you’re looking at is  stunning. It’s compelling. It’s exhilarating. But it’s dangerous. Stand back. This is nature in its rawest form  

    Those are the feelings I get when I look at your painting, Rob. And this is just from looking at a tiny photo! How much more impactful will it be to stand in front of it in a well lit gallery ! 

    I think this not only works , I think it’s probably the painting you’ll be the most proud of in the future  

    The unusual composition , your choice of complementary colours , the abstraction , they all go to make this painting an extraordinary one. 

    Because it IS extraordinary. There’s no other word I can think of which describes it better. 

    An extraordinary painting painted at an extraordinary time. 

    I also think’Nexus’ is a brilliant title for the piece. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Thanks heaps, @Hilary. I'm so glad you think it works. I know it's an unusual picture in many ways so I was worried it wouldn't come across well. But if you think it works then I'm very pleased, indeed. 

    Thanks for taking the time to look and comment, Hilary.  :)
  • Wow! Unbelievable @tassieguy! All I can say is there is no doubt it works! It’s got a great geometric quality to it, with the 45 deg angle of the ledge and jagged shadow along with the more abstract upper section, all inside a square. I can’t imagine being in a gallery and looking across the room and having anything else draw your attention more than this. I’ve got to say, IMHO this is the best one of yours yet! And that’s saying a lot because every one of them is fantastic! 
  • HilaryHilary -
    edited November 17
    What amazes me most is that you managed to complete a painting of this size and this detail in just two weeks!!! Two weeks !! 
    Did you eat ? Did you sleep ?? 
    Seriously , this is a genuine question. 
    The more I zoom in and study the detail in this the more blown away I am. 
    Each section is an abstract painting on its own! 
    I have no words left ! 
  • @tassieguy absolutely class effort as is the norm from you from what I have seen so far. When you are as good as yourself it must be pretty tough topping your previous efforts each time but you have certainly done yourself proud again. I like the seams between the different rock substrate and if I were standing there I would put money on a fish first cast from that gulley! :)
  • edited November 17
    Thanks so much, @HondRW. I'm so glad you think it works. Along with the colour I hoped the geometry  would  have an impact, too. I worried it might be too severe but you have reassured me. Thanks.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to look and comment.  :)

  • edited November 17
    Thanks again, @Hilary.

    Yeah, I sleep. And I eat. Too much. But I work hard. This took two weeks, including weekends, working 10 - 12 hours a day with short  breaks for lunch and dinner and a couple of coffees (about 150 hours all up). If that sounds like OCD all I can say is that I could be doing worse things with my time, lol.  :)
  • edited November 17
    Thanks, @Si1. Much appreciated. And, yes, there are nice bream and snapper to be caught off these rocks. And those little black clumps down at the waterline are mussels. Delicious done in a butter, garlic and white wine sauce.  :)
  • The square format is perfect. You’ve anchored the composition to the corners and the shadow running through the middle is well balanced.
    The foamy water is so convincing and the view makes me a bit dizzy 😵 
    I’m not sure what you could do to improve it.  Maybe some reflections of light on the top rock ledge.
  • Thanks, @GTO. Glad you think it works. :)
  • Everything everyone else has already said and then some. Hilary said what I wanted to say, but said it better than I could. Stupendous painting.  Works extremely well, as I feel faint when I look at it.  Heights affect me that way.  People are going to be speechless when they view it.
  • Everything has been said that I would add. I also don't like heights so can't look at this one too much! :D
  •   People are going to be speechless when they view it.
    Agree, this looks unbelievable realistic. I don't see anything that doesn't work, looks perfect to me.
    I'm getting dizzy as well  looking at it @tassieguy :) 
  • edited November 17
    I get this sense of dizziness as well which is also part of my fear of heights as I mentioned earlier. The sensation is more intense when I look into the swirling waters. 
  • CBGCBG -
    edited November 17

    @tassieguy Do not change a thing.  I do not think any improvement is necessary nor possible.

    You know, although it is an abstract/realist rendition of some otherwise random piece of shore, (except for the fact that you saw something, liked it, and wanted to capture it) I keep seeing a figure, strongly suggested in it.

    A shadowy silhouette of a person (center bottom right diagonal) with arms raised (left and right) to the sun (upper left) in joy.  That's what I see on one level!  I'm sure this was a complete coincidence. 

    I also see the shore and the water...with exquisite realism... and then I also see brush strokes which make that realism possible.

    The diagonals lead the eye around all sorts of interesting directions but the wonderful cool shadow in the bottom right entices the eye just enough to start again a journey upward and to the left toward the intense sun on the foam... rinse and repeat.


  • Yes, @tassieguy a feeling of looking down for sure, reminds me of some places here in Hawaii - i think this is your best yet, I wish i could paint that fast, it now takes months for me to complete even a simple project, when once I was a speed freak with a brush,...well done 
  • @oilpainter1950, @Richard_P, @ArtGal, @Forgiveness, @CBG and @alsart, thanks you all for taking the time to look and comment. Much appreciated. I feel reassured by your comments that it works and will be ok to show. You guys are great.  :)<3:)  
  • Just getting back to the forum after a while and your painting is the first thing I see. It is stunning and marvelous. I walk along the shore here in Maine and marvel at similar vistas and wish I could paint them as you do so well. Thanks for inspiring me.
  • Thanks so much, @ChuckA. Much appreciated. Good to see you back.  :)
  • @tassieguy, This is perfection!!! It doesn’t get any better than this with the abstraction and realism, colors and textures...... simply outstanding in every way. Makes me dizzy as well!! 
  • Thanks so much, @manitou. Much appreciated.  :)
  • This is just superb @tassieguy and one of my favourites of yours.

    Your work is so unique.

  • Thanks very much, @MichaelD. I am greatly encouraged by people's response to this one.  :)
  • Terrific. A real labour of love.  Strong counterchange and angles make it effective, but its the colours that I love most.
  • Don't know what to say but your abstracts are becoming more real! I feel Rothko there except for the recognizable shapes!
  • Thanks, @Gary_Heath.
    Yes, it was the colours that first drew me to the subject. The angular rocks gave me a frame in which to place the blues and violets of the shaded foam at the center. I wanted to guide the viewer's eyes into those colours at the center.

    Thanks for taking the time to look and comment.  :)
  • edited November 24
    Thanks, @KaustavM. I'm trying to keep the realism but also to bring the abstract formal elements to the fore -  those crazy diagonals for example.  And the relationship between colours such as violet and yellow, blue and orange. It's fun playing around with these sorts of ideas. 

    Thanks for looking and commenting.  :)
  • I wish I could ‘get’ Rothko. But I honestly can’t see the appeal. 
    I know it’s probably me because so many people adore his work. 
    Is it true that it must be viewed in person and not just from a photo ? 
    Perhaps that’s why I feel absolutely no emotion when I look at his work and I always think ‘ A child of ten could have done that ! ‘ 
    With Rob’s paintings I can see the huge effort that went into creating them. 
  • edited November 26
    Cheers, @Hilary. I felt the same about Rothko until I saw his paintings full size on a gallery wall. Same with Pollock. I wouldn't want to paint just like them but they provide valuable insights into colour fields and abstraction that can carry over into realism. I don't know how long they took to complete a painting. Not very long I suspect. I imagine they spent more time thinking and planning than in the actual physical process of painting. In Pollock's case there was also a lot of just dribbling paint to see where it would lead. I'm no good at that sort of thing. I know already exactly where it would lead, LOL.   :)
  • what an unusual and gorgeous composition @tassieguy! first the big square frame of the canvas, then all portioned into triangles, and then within them smaller squares all over! such a beautiful shot of nature and youve done justice with painting it so perfectly! 
    I think i am a little late with this comment though. there just one place which draws my attention (may be it is so in the reference though). The place where the water (in shade) meets the rocks (also in shade) (the V shape in the centre). It seems the stone and water have very individual edges and less "coalesing". I am not sure whether reducing the sharpness of the edges would help or take it more away from the real. Like if the rocks at the left edge (of the "V") had a reflection of the blue water making the edge a mid tone between the water and the stone, may be the edge would look softened. But @tassieguy this painting of yours is so perfect, i think sticking to the reference would be best. 
  • Thanks very much, @anwsha. I'll take another look at my reference material and see if that area can be softened a bit.  :)
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