Whenever I am in that area I always make a trip over to visit the Irvine Museum, great place! Thanks to Jean Stern and the rest of the gang there.
As expected they had a few pieces I had not yet seen in person.
One in particular is a beautiful subtle view of Crystal Cove by William Wendt. I have been on a constant push to control my use of my darks for many years now. I know they are very important but I usually try and refrain from leaning on them too much, so when I saw this painting by Wendt I was naturally floored.
He pulled it off with so much control and no heavy darks what so ever. He didn't seem to go beyond a 70% dark in his darkest of darks. Everything was saturated so it was not a high key painting in any sense of the word, which would enable him to do that. But as I said he kept his values in such control and captured that early morning light which is usually void of any real darks anyway, due to the softness of the light.
My bad was carrying this painting around in my head for the remainder of the event.
I was fascinated by the early morning light as it began to hit the top side of Crystal Cove, so I began a 24x30 and tried slavishly to capture what I had seen.
At the time again still always trying to avoid any real darks I pushed on. I thought I had somewhat accomplished what I was after. Spent a few days chasing it and trying to preserve that quality of light in the overall scene. I decided it was finished and submitted it to the show. I was very happy to receive an award for it from the Randy Higbee Gallery, which somewhat validated my decision to submit it.
I have found that since returning to my studio that the painting did indeed need some of those added touches of darker notes, still not heavy darks but definitely pushed a bit.
I have since gone back into the painting and feel it is in a much better place now.
Still have a great deal of respect for Mr. Wendt and will continue trying to acquire the ability to do what he was able to do with that ever elusive morning light.
In all honesty I hate to even post this next to Wendt's piece.