It’s a big, blue breath of fresh air and I’m ready for the day. That’s the idea behind my newest seascape, a diptych composed of two 36×36 panels. Complications have their place and time, but this is what I want to feel each morning, a big ahhhhh…..enjoy!
North Shore High Tide is all about movement through an encroaching high tide, and provides a chance to have fun with shifting, watery planes and the glittery sheen of a wet granite ledge. The sweeping gestures and brushstrokes of the water provide a perfect contrast to the stability of the granite. In fact, the painting pursues a number of contrasts: hard/soft, wet/dry, coarse/slippery, near/far, deep/shallow, and fog/sunlight. Despite the drama of implied danger in the foreground, there is also a feeling of vigorous energy and optimism in the brightening day. Detail below. Enjoy.
When I began this painting, I wanted to concentrate on the “unblue” sea. Many of my previous coastal paintings were based on morning-after-a-storm views, with blue skies returning and very active tides. But I love the multi-layered hues of the ocean on a gray day, especially the hints of green found in the water, and the way those gray greens contrast with the warm, slightly reddish tones that can distinguish the sand. Add thousands of stones in every shade of gray bordering a band of partially submerged sand and I’m content.
As I worked on the painting, I realized that my goal wasn’t just “unblue.” I was composing an arrangement of waves for meditation. The gently crisscrossing patterns of the receding water lead one lazily back and forth, beginning in the foreground and taking one to the distant horizon and sky. The texture and weight of the anonymous stones and pebbles invites the eye down to the foreground again, ready to begin another journey of recession with the water. I chose the title Angles of Repose because the stones have found a place to rest, because the water is also temporarily at rest as it fills depressions along the beach, and because the diagonal angles of retreating waves induced a sense of hypnotic quiet in me as I worked to describe their motion. Detail below. Enjoy.
Couldn’t Ask for Better is a description of my perfect day on the coast – cool, breezy, and a sandy beach begging to be walked. The tide is coming in, nipping at the shore and my toes. After a good long walk, I’ll want a mug of something hot, and a good book – couldn’t ask for more. Details below. Enjoy.
August is a good time for painting seascapes – air conditioning for the mind – I can feel the cool water from the first stroke of my brush. With On Vacation, I also wanted to depict the transition between morning fog burning off and the arrival of stronger light pouring through a slightly overcast sky. It’s a gentle quality of light, with no harsh shadows. The warm sienna colors of the sand balance the cool blues, and reinforce the feeling of a glorious summer day. Details below. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes: I rolled a thin layer of burnt sienna oil paint at the bottom of the freshly primed panel, then used a mixture of mineral spirits and linseed oil to “disturb” it, creating streaks. A spritz of mineral spirits, blotted, created the droplet effect. Once dry, I painted the water over the sand and added highlights to reinforce the sand pattern (a mixture of white, raw sienna, and gold ochre).
Compositionally, I added a stiff breeze so that the salt water spray would connect visually with the fog burning off, and repeat the undulating shape of the cloud bank.
Slipping Away, a common enough phrase with many meanings, all of which might describe my painting. There is the meaning of vacating – getting away, leaving behind one’s worries and responsibilities. There is also the sense of disappearing, dissolving, evaporating, leaving no trace, as in the way the remnants of fog will soon evaporate. Or the way the waves build then retire, leaving, briefly, a frothy lace. It can also refer to memory – the memories we lose and the ones that need to part from us for a while. The action in the painting refers to nature, but the metaphors are ours. Details below. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes: To keep a sense of crispness in the initial layer of brushwork describing the wave, I use Liquin Impasto medium mixed into my color and a chip brush. Glazes of raw sienna and gold ochre suggest the sand carried by wave.
I want to thank American Art Collector Magazine for publishing a preview article for my August show at Arden Gallery – Upstream, Downstream. They graciously sent me a pdf to share, so share I will! You can use the zoom feature on your computer screen to increase the size, if necessary. I’ve included a link to their facebook page below. Enjoy.
Courtesy, American Art Collector