When I arrived at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline the sky was gray and cloudy but even in the fog the park had so many great views: a salt water lagoon, Mt. Tamalpais across the bay, a fishing pier, an abandoned ferry landing, beautiful trees, and across the road, a railroad museum and a squat yellow building that houses a motorcycle club.
I finally picked a spot and got started with the above thumbnail sketch. I set my ViewCatcher to 8×10 and looked through its “window” to choose the composition. Then I put the ViewCatcher on my sketchbook and traced around the inside of the window to outline a box in my journal of the same proportion. By the time I was ready to add watercolor to the thumbnail sketch most of the fog had lifted except over the hills, and the sun was shining.
Above is how the painting looked when I brought it home. The composition needed work: the picture is evenly divided in half with 2 trees on left, 2 trees on right and an empty center. The lagoon and bay should have been different colors. Too bad I’d ignored my thumbnail once I started painting because it had a much better composition.
I tried to continue the painting from a photo but the photo didn’t match my memory of the colors and light, even after Photoshopping it (below). But it did at least offer some clues for fixing the composition, like adding the sailboats (duh!).
Maybe I should add in the little “No Swimming” sign (only putting it on the left side as I did in my thumbnail). What do you think?