Complete Cape Disappointment Lighthouse I1717
22″w x 15.25″h watercolor on 300lb WC paper
The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse on the ridge along the Columbia River mouth, view taken from Waikiki Beach, OR.
The lighthouse and the other exterior buildings at the top of the cliff are rendered using grays and black for shadow and shape. The final adjustments throughout the rest of the painting are completed using red tones in the cliff side, and darker tones along each wave crest and the shoreline. All small touches that are so important to give that final zing of movement and shape.
From this point on I typically add details to the most blaring areas first. The first areas catching my attention are the two areas on the cliff where the mastic was applied. They are way too bright and the wrong shape. I apply a light wash of earth tones to both bringing the values more in line. OK, they are less blaring.
Now I add shapes and colors as I see them from my reference images beginning with the middle area.
It is time to remove the mastic so I can get down to the details in painting this view. I start on the left side of the image, see the crisp whites appear where the yellow once was.
Proceed to the right side till all of the mastic is removed. Not all areas that I am removing the watercolor resist from were totally white. It is especially noticeable in the cliff where some of the original light wash shows through.
The trees and shrubbery are next. I begin by drawing trees with a thin wash of light gray to show the furthest fading into the distance. Then I add greens and browns in various amounts to brighten the trees and shrubs as they come closer. Closer is brighter. If it is where the light is shining it becomes even brighter.
The cliffs are highlighted first with one of my favorite colors, Quinacridone Gold by Daniel Smith. I am replacing the colors I run out of with this brand whenever possible because the colors are so vibrant. To darken the Cliffside in the areas that are recessed along the shore I use an earth tone created by mixing greens and reds. This color combo creates the best blacks… a great array of darkness.
I began with a sketch made from my own photograph of the area because I liked the wave layout better. It seemed much more sunny and welcoming of a pattern of currents.
I quickly realized that I would not be able to preserve all the little areas of white without using some mastic (watercolor resist) to reserve the many areas of white and foam in the surf. So I let the surface fully dry and applied this resist before I was able to proceed.