Updated: Jul 29, 2021
I divide the world into roughly three groups of people - beach people, mountain/plains/desert people and city people. I am firmly rooted in the beach contingent, having gone to school at UC Santa Barbara and lived in San Diego for over a decade. There’s something about the atmosphere of where the clouds and fog meet the ocean and the hills. Light is diffused and horizons shift depending on the banks of clouds. It’s also a liminal space where all those edges of the world meet and the tides are never stop moving in and out.
Edward Hopper captured this environment so brilliantly. His watercolors of coastal scenes and houses are instantly recognizable. So when a my good friend decamped to Cape Cod from NYC earlier this year, I looked forward to her steady stream of coastal cottage images being posted on Instagram (please see IG @lauramholson).
This week I took four of my favorite cottage photos and developed a small watercolor landscape series with a nod to Mr. Hopper. I almost always start with photographs like these to work out composition, scale, color palette and even value studies before I paint. Painting a series also lets me zoom in and out and change the focal point while still maintaining a cohesive theme.
The muted tones of the cloudy skies, the weathered siding and brittle grasses, as well as the distant ocean all work together as a series even though each painting tells a slightly different story. My favorite painting is the little shack with the yellow door. Who can resist that pop of color on a cold and stormy vista? It's the last one I painted in the series and marks a happy ending to the project.
I hope they make the beach people and everyone else smile.