Seascapes 52: week 8

This week's Seascapes 52 shares a turning point in my art journey and reflects on the influence of Impressionism on my work.


The inspiration for Soul came from beach visits to Britain's Southbourne and South Africa's Cape Point. It's a fusion of both beaches and that feeling that feeds your soul when you're walking the shoreline and have the beach all to yourself.

Soul is a special seascape. It represents a technical turning point in my art journey: one of the first paintings in which I felt I had achieved the balance between the physicality of the paint and its emotive potential. 

Textured oil painting of wave breaking on beach

My love for the interplay of paint's autonomy and evocative potential became more conscious when I studied Impressionism at school. The Impressionists fascinated me, Monet in particular. There's something magical about their willingness to let paint speak as paint. The visible brushstrokes, the colour juxtapositions that wait for your eye to do the blending, the love of everyday subjects.

L'Orangerie's hall of Monet's waterlilies is my art heaven. I find infinite beauty in marvelling at the gestural beauty of all that gestural paint that becomes water and plants, light and shadows as you step away from it.

Before Soul, I struggled to pursue my love of the materiality of painting while trying to depict representational subjects. I shied away from my gestural instincts, over-blending and correcting my tentative marks, rather than trusting them. But this was a breakthrough painting for me. I took a risk. Trusted the palette knife. And voila! Something emerged that looked more like the paintings I wanted to paint.

Most importantly, this painting gave me confidence. I began to embrace texture in my work, rather than trying to clumsily hide it. Of course, exploring texture was not new in my work. But it was one of those paintings that gave me the essential "ah yes, I can do this" feeling. 

Soul is available (at the time of writing) from my North Art collection. It is ready to hang: elegantly framed in a white floating frame that complements the breaking wave.

Join me again next Wednesday to wade in for the 9th seascape instalment. 

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