Watching the Waves Come In is a long-term series that is always in development. Every time I learn something new I see what effect it will have on my little wave paintings. Or sometimes these small paintings inform my larger work. Either way, they are a delight to paint. I used to use a brush when working on them, but now it is mostly the palette knife, with more attention paid to the viscosity of the paint and the choice of paper – smooth or textured watercolor paper (primed). I look for ways to let the viscosity emulate the action of the water – more like sneaking up on the subject rather than trying to copy a moment or view. This approach, at least for me, yields more of the feel of my watery subject. It also allows for random accidents to influence the painting’s development, and life is certainly about the accidents. Enjoy.
The raw power and quaking tremors that one feels when standing on the rocks can be breath taking. It travels from the feet up through the legs, sort of a deep bass vibration, especially after big storms. These three small paintings, two with the tide coming in, one with the tide going out, provide a 7×7″ version of the experience. Enjoy!
It’s the moisture in the air that creates so much luminosity at the coast, but knowing the fact doesn’t take away any of the magic or mystery in that translucent environment. No, seeing through the layers of salt water, feeling the droplets all around you as you look out into the distance – these experiences always feel both new and familiar. The repeating waves carry a sense of renewal and induce a trance. Thoughts drop away and the mind fills with opalescent skies and shades of blue, and green. Like a magnet, the sea hold our attention, and for some of us it keeps a place in our hearts. Enjoy. Details below.
Practice, practice, practice they say…..and so I do. Working on studies of a particular subject for years does deepen one’s knowledge and response. It also offers the challenge of finding new ways to interpret the familiar. These four winter studies explore a few of the different moods of winter, with associated palettes. I look forward to the more luminous light of spring….but first there is March….enjoy!
I’m going back to the big picture with My Melancholy Sea, a moody interpretation of the Atlantic ocean seen during transitional weather. There is a power and serenity in wavescapes. This one, in subdued shades of blue and gray greens, is full of subtle paint manipulations. Enjoy.
When is a painting finished? I was cleaning up in the studio recently, and found a stash of studies, some that (were) finished and some just started months or even years ago. Seeing them now, with more experience, I knew I could develop them further. I present the results. Moody Atlantic waves and skies, reinterpreted with a palette knife and more viscous paint. No longer studies, but small finished paintings.
I guess a painting is permanently finished when I no longer have access to it, when I can’t change or add anything. Until then, if it’s in the studio, it may continue to change and improve as I learn more about painting. Or sometimes it’s the painting that tells me what to do – if I listen.
Winter’s big, open, wind-swept spaces have their own stark beauty. These studies, two from the coast and one overlooking a snow-covered pond, offer longer views. The colors are muted. The air is crisp, clean, and cold. You can hear the silence. Listen again. It won’t last.