Help me choose the best painting!

I have one more day of painting tomorrow for the San Luis Obispo Plein Air show opening Friday, but I need your help. I must select my top three paintings for the show. I’ve posted the first 6 I’ve painted this week.  What do you think, which should I choose for my top 3?  Do you have a favorite? You can vote here, and read more about these images (and see larger versions) below the poll box.

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I did this one this morning. After spending 3 days at this site, I was able to more quickly capture accurate color. This was painted in the early morning, and the shadow of the white-water in the arched cave was my center of interest. I made it the most intense color in the painting, and plated my lightest light and darkest dark there (and old trick!). I wonder if this is too simple?  I do think it’s important to simplify, but perhaps I should have more eye candy here.

Avila Cove Bluffs & Caves, Oil on Linen, 11x14
Avila Cove Bluffs & Caves, Oil on Linen, 11x14

I love painting in the late afternoon, but I have to paint incredibly fast, given the quickly shifting sun.  In this painting, I focused on the planes of the rock, and tried to carefully differentiate the colors of planes against all the other colors in the painting. I think it captures a good sense of light, but wonder if it’s too colorful?

Avila Rocks & Surf, Late Afternoon, Oil on Linen, 11x14
Avila Rocks & Surf, Late Afternoon, Oil on Linen, 11x14

This was a fun one!  Again, I focused on the planes of rock (I guess the Peggi Kroll-Roberts workshop at l’Atelier aux Couleurs has really influenced me!) and color separation. Yes, I could have softened some edges here, but I like the frank, directness of it. It’s also nearly abstract, whici I like as well.

Avila Cove Cave, Oil on Linen, 9x12
Avila Cove Cave, Oil on Linen, 9x12

This was a quick morning study of the bluffs. I think I lost control of some of the color effects, and frankly started making things up!  While it’s true in the end we have to make a painting and not a direct representation, I feel this could have had a stronger foundation.

White Bluffs of Avila Cove, Oil on Linen 12x9
White Bluffs of Avila Cove, Oil on Linen 12x9

This was my first painting of the trip.  Monday morning the fog and overcast sky continued until well after 2pm.  The good news is, that means a nice steady stream of consistent light!  Of course the bad news is you lack the kind of dramatic shadows that can make a painting have force.  I was happy with the delicate tones of the rocks here, and think it captures that calm morning.

Overcast Day Rocks, Oil on Linen, 16x12
Overcast Day Rocks, Oil on Linen, 16x12

More late afternoon light painting. I really had to paint this quickly, and had to contend with some onlookers asking questions (which actually wasn’t bad, it’s nice to have people appreciate what you do).  I’m just not sure either way on this one, and think it may be among the weaker paintings.  What do you think?

Late Afternoon Light, Oil on Linen, 12x16
Late Afternoon Light, Oil on Linen, 12x16

7 thoughts on “Help me choose the best painting!”

  1. Since you asked…
    No, none of these have too much color for me. My observation of Avila Cove Bluffs is a compositional one. Keep in mind, my primary skills are as a colorist and a designer, I am a late comer to fine art painting. So, my problem is that there are 2 nearly identical rock juts into the water. The angle you were painting from I understand, but it makes me feel a bit edgy, being afraid of heights as I am. Avila Rocks and Surf I loved. It makes me feel like I am wading out to this rock and admiring it. That is a nice feeling! Overcast Day gives me this feeling I so often have of a Wyoming morning…that the sun will break out at almost any moment, as though it has over slept. I liked that one very much.

    Late afternoon light…you think that is weaker? I don’t agree with you. The vantage point feels well above the water, securely anchored. It has a feeling of late afternoon light, when it is at its brightest and then disappears. It has a feeling of dabbled sunlight, which is interesting because it also feels hot for me, a hot day with interesting sunlight and shadow.

    I have given you my emotional reaction. I am an intellectual painter, but an emotionally charged onlooker who is looking for more emotional energy in a painting. I like you work and envy your loose style. The color is soft and no area of color is achieved without a sort of jumbled mix of brushstroke of many colors. I once painted that way and somehow got going in another direction, so your work is very inspiring.

    Thank you for sharing and asking.

  2. Ed, I felt that the painting with the arch had the strongest composition. Moving between the arch and the back bluff. The overcast rocks “read” great and I really liked them as I scrolled down. The weakness might be that the highest contrast is down in the lower left with the big bush. Nice work, good luck!

  3. Hi Ed,

    I keep finding your site when I “Google” my favorite artists. I see you’re taking from the same people I have on my wish list….Peggi Kroll Roberts, Ovane Berbarian, etc. Perhaps you could email the ones who are your favorite. I am attracted to fresh color, as it appears you are also…and I am enjoying your results. Thanks, Karen

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