Painting the Fjord at Tahuya

Tahuya • 24" x 36"

Tahuya • 24″ x 36″

This is a painting of Tahuya, a spot in Washington that has a genuine inland fjord. Fjords: not all in Norway!

My sister Tiffany has a neat little place right on the water and this is a painting from a photo she took just outside. Since it’s a fjord that connects to the ocean, it’s saltwater and there are bunches of oysters, clams, and mussels. The water’s edge is littered with the shells which get bleached by the sun over time and can be seen in the shallows.

There were a couple of surprising color behaviors while I painted this. I can’t recall this happening with other paintings, but the gel that I use as an isolation coat between layers added a slightly purple sheen in some light, at some angles. That made it tricky to see my progress. Check out this video below to see how it looked mid-painting from one angle to another.

The other color trickery emerged when I got a scan of the finished painting. All of the dark areas are primarily a combination of ultramarine blue and burnt umber. The ultramarine blue in particular made the ripples look pretty dark – correct to my eye when I see it in person. The scan lost a lot of the nuance, though, and it took a half dozen adjustment layers & masks to get the image resembling the real thing. The scans usually don’t need much (if any) adjustment, and I’m not quite sure what it is about this one that made it different (technique? dynamic range?).

Almost forgot to take a pic of the sketch


Yellow ochre, painted outside in downtown Campbell

Yellow ochre

Midtones, painted back at home

Burnt sienna

Getting more range with burnt umber

Burnt umber

At some point after the first round of blues

Some blues

Mostly shot this to figure out how it was looking

In progress

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.