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How do you describe a wave or an almost-wave in paint? To represent the sense of surge and the associated feeling it is important to portray water with some accuracy. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Or nearly impossible. Accurate water!
If you look closely you can see the same seaweed in all three pictures. They were taken in quick succession and show the transition before and after the ‘wave’. Not a lot seems to be happening before and after. The surge might have arisen from a cross-current underneath the jetty.
Here is where I left the painting in late May.
During my August Open Studio sessions I had a visit from a friend and outdoor painting colleague, Tony Wynne. It had been sometime since we had seen each other because I had withdrawn from that group to immerse myself in studio painting this year.
Tony is a fellow artist with a great interest in drawing, which he has studied in some depth including in galleries and print rooms in Australia and in the UK. It is always interesting to see what he puts up at lunchtime after our outdoor sessions. Tony is also a retired coastal engineer who understands how waves should look, so I was interested in his response to how I painted waves. I am pleased to report that, with perhaps one or two exceptions, he found my waves convincing from a scientific point of view and pleasing artistically, especially in the gestural sense of water movement.
Although it is not as effective as seeing the real thing and hearing Tony talk about it, you can get a bit of an idea of his work through his website here.
I am thinking of all this today as I sit with this painting.
It isn’t really readable at the moment and looking back at the photo I wonder whether it ever can be.
My work has always been grounded in realism. Water and waves offer the potential for more abstraction. There’s the nub, the brink I am teetering on: letting go of the ‘explanation’ and just diving in.
So far I have done some of each – trying to keep everybody happy? feeling safe myself?
Just keep going! As ever, not sure where the answer lies, except in painting itself. Any ideas?