In many ways, this summer has been a break-through for me. Colors, reflections, shadows, light....all have become more important than depicting a particular place or scene. Yes, the scene or object might be important, but now I start by asking myself, "What is the loveliest element in this scene? What attracted me to it in the first place? What's the story here?"
In the case of this painting, I was driving around my cove a few days ago, when I spotted this group of rocks. Instantly, I knew that it was the late afternoon shadows falling on the rocks going into the light where one particular striated rock caught my eye. But mostly it was the drama of the shadows.
Only after identifying that could I begin the planning stage of my composition: lines that pointed, colors that contrasted, values that told the story of those long lovely shadows.
I read somewhere that if you are not thinking when you are painting, you are painting a thoughtless painting. How true that is! Know what you want to say, say it with words, then devise a strategy to get you there. You'll have a richer experience by telling your viewers, "Look what I saw today!"