I’m very happy with the way this turned out, it has retained a sense of abstraction and yet still implies enough detail to make it believeable as a seascape. The piece is based on the sketches I did on location, as well as a reference photo that I took, but I really took a lot of liberties with composition and atmosphere, pushing the elements that I thought would add more interest than simply relying on the reference source and matching what was there. For example, I have the horizon much more subtle than it actually was in terms of a hard edged line. I’ve softened it to the point where it almost looks foggy, an effect that just evolved as I was working on the piece. I liked it, so I went with it. Having done a bunch of plein air studies while I was there, particularly focusing on the colors of the water, it enabled me to be a bit experimental in the studio instead of relying on the colors in the reference. Also, the gestural component of painting anything that moves is only something than can be captured if you paint the subject several times from life before attempting it from a reference.
Since I am not a realist in the purest sense of the word, I am more interested in what I can do to create something new on canvas than to replicate what I see in a reference or even from life. For me, it is a combination of those sources and experiences as well as a heavy dose of imagination that will make a painting unique and more than just a copy of what is there.