Over the last few months of 2021, I was working on this trio of semi-abstract seascapes. These may appeal to those of you who share my love of the sea and textured art.
Here they are side-by-side – a preview, as they're not yet varnished:
During the summer, I'd made the most of soul-food visits to the coast (in particular two trips to West Wittering) to enjoy watching the waves play with the sand and the feeling of this play against my skin. I'd also recently completed a series of large seascapes in oils (see blog) and wanted to continue the seascape theme but in a different format.
Coincidentally, I'd also signed up for Louise Fletcher's Find your voice (FYV) art course and the course preparation was to originate ideas for a series. I ordered 40 by 40 square canvases with good intentions. Unfortunately, the course started at the same time as the academic term and, despite my multitasking optimism, I had little time to engage with the course materials let alone undertake more than one or two assignments. The connection between these and FYV is primarily that I worked on all three concurrently, rather than consecutively.
I'd originally planned to work in oils – my preferred medium. I had a clear intention to try and develop more layers and texture in my work. Oil is great for texture but my initial mark-making explorations (as part of one of the few FYV assignments I did manage to do) made me realise that it wasn't the medium for this idea. I did a number of sketches in oil and a couple of oil preparatory studies on canvas. The second preparatory study ended up evolving into a sunflower painting. Some paintings have a mind of their own.
I decided to switch to working in acrylic. Acrylic dries considerably faster than oil. This makes it easier to keep layers and textures distinct. The more I use it, the more I have come to appreciate that sometimes the relative transparency/opacity of different hues can be advantageous. While I find the high transparency of most yellows frustrating when I'm trying to render sunflower petals, when it comes to painting water, less opacity is ideal.
The disadvantage with switching to acrylics is that they don't have as much body as oil paint and it took many weeks of layering to build up the textures in this trio. You think you've made the finishing touches and then it dries flatter than you thought it would and you have to add more layers, let them partially dry, texture them, wait to see if more are needed, etc.
I also played with gloss gel in this trio, using it to accentuate the way the water and wet sand catch the light and to build up layers of foam and the crests of the waves.
The benefit of the slower than usual process has been enjoying having these beauties on the easel for the last couple of months, bringing the magic of the sea into my creative living space. I finally decided these were finished just before Christmas and photographed them on boxing day. They're now gracing my staircase until I decide to varnish them. Here are some larger images so you can enjoy the textures and layers.
^ Wash away my fears (acrylic on linen canvas, 2021)
^ Sinking toes (acrylic on linen canvas, 2021)
^ Ocean caress (acrylic on linen canvas, 2021)
Once varnished, these paintings will be available either as a trio or individually. Please get in touch if you'd like to reserve any or all of them. They are priced (excluding shipping/delivery costs) at £450 for the trio or individually at £170.