Evolution of an Image- Cambrils series

While we were in Spain this last summer, we spent a number of days in Cambrils soaking in the sun, visiting with friends, and playing on the beach.  Good times!  I started trying to paint a sunset we experienced there, and it was just... very very frustrating.  I'd just taken the Bjorn Bernstrom workshop a week earlier, and I just, honestly, had no control.  In an effort to be an honest artist, I thought I'd share some of the (really) terrible paintings I did at first, as well as where the image went, as I began to get a handle on Bjorn's methods.

This is the first batch of very rough sketches.  All done on a quarter sheet (15" x 11").  I played with different formats and approaches, and learned to figure out the order and timeliness I was going to need to use, if I was going to get have any sort of control.  One of Bjorn's pieces of advice, that "Patience is one of the most important things for a watercolor artist to control" was very true.

I left it like that for about a month, and only came back to it in the States.  I decided to shrink the format to an 1/8th sheet (7.5" 11").  A good choice, as I burned through a lot of iterations, learning the techniques, and thinking about composition and color schemes.

I began to recognize that I really wanted to show that long stretch of horizon more, so I changed the format to little skinny 1/8 sheets (5.5" x 15"), and began to explore different approaches- more chromatic, less chromatic, darker values, more land being show, less land being show, white boat masts, etc.

It was only when I got to this one though, where I removed the clouds and had the darker masts, that I felt like I was approaching what I was looking for.  I also began to model the mountains, which provided a greater sense of light and directionality.

I'd like to do more iterations with the clouds again later,  but I think I need a taller format, to better balance the composition.  For this dimension, I want to focus on the horizon and the waves.  So, I took that last one and blew it up to a full half sheet (11" x 30") and got the final image-