Tropical Retreat, St. Bart's Island - painting demonstration

A tropical island is a wonderful place for two people to spend special time together. To keep that memory alive, what could be better than to have a painting done of the memory? Today, I've started a commission painting for a collector who will give it as a gift. Because it is a surprise for someone, I'm not going to reveal the island or who it is for!

I begin with four photos sent to me - the painting will be a panoramic view on a 10" x 30" canvas, so I've taped the photos together for reference:

The next step is to decide what elements of this scene to use in the painting: what to add and what to leave out.

The collector would like the pink door included on the left, so I will work that into the piece. I don't think the long rooftops of the buildings in the center will add to the feeling I want to create, so I will leave them out and add a few smaller rooftops with the focus on the ocean.

Once I have my composition set, I draw it on the canvas first with pencil, then with a thin wash of dark purple oil paint so that it will show clearly. Then, as always with a seascape or landscape, I begin at the top:

It is a clear day with banks of puffy white clouds against a deep blue sky. A flat oil brush is perfect for painting the sky and clouds.

Along with the door on the left, I have added some pots of flowers on a balcony with deck chairs just waiting for my collectors to sit in. The painting is done on a deep edge canvas, so I will extend the painting around the sides, top and bottom as you can begin to see above.

Here is the full composition with just the sky painted. You can click on the images if you'd like to see them larger. Tomorrow I will work on the next part of the seascape oil painting demonstration - Painting the Water. Make sure you check it out.

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