Me? I can’t swim a stroke – you may recall I spoke of my power floating in a previous blog. I can, especially in the Caribbean, float around for hours and in a calm sea I can cover a considerable distance – on my back – but it has it’s downside. I can see where I’ve been but don’t have a clue where I’m going – so unless I remember to periodically paddle around in a circle, I’m forever bumping into things; people, mooring bouys, fishing boats etc.
Have I tried swimming properly? Often, and always with the same result. My legs sink, they come round under my body, and I’m on my back again. I’ve stopped fighting it 😀 It isn’t tiring and, now I’ve mastered it, it would probably save me from drowning, but it has it’s limitations – I would have very much like to have had a crack at surfing – and that’s never going to happen – but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.
My latest painting is a surfing wave, a big curling breaker. I can’t pretend it’s a wave I’ve seen myself, although I have seen some awesome waves on the East coast of Barbados, it’s a conglomeration of intuitive art (painting from the head as it’s usually called) and much of what I’ve seen in books and on TV (I have a DVD of the awesome Jaws in Hawaii). That said I’ve spent enough time staring at the waves here in The Witterings to have a feel for them and I’m pretty sure this painting works.
It’s a strange thing y’know. It was on the easel before I left my gallery last year and one of the local surfing community had found their way up there: I don’t know how, it might have been raining or he might have been lost. The painting at that point was little more than block colours and looking at it he asked what was going in the top right corner. I explained that it was going to be tumbling spray, primarily because it would balance the compostion. “But waves” he said “don’t do that!”
This – I have to say – is one of the downsides of being a figurative painter. I remember some 30 years ago, when I was painting a lot of sailing ships and yachts for a gallery in Poole, being told by some yachtie that the sails were wrong for the wind direction. “Are they!” I asked, feigning shock horror. I longed to tell him that I knew they were right because it was painted from a series of photographs I’d taken a couple of years previously, but managed to hold my tongue. There’s always one – and much truth in the adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It was the same with my surfer – how someone can spend days sitting on a surfboard down here in The Witterings waiting for a ripple strong enough to carry him back to shore, without actually looking at the bloody waves breaking all around him amazes me. The wave is right!
I’ll wager it doesn’t happen to the many, what should I call them, graphic artists? Post modernists? Who turn out commercial seascapes. Highly attractive, highly coloured, and highly inaccurate – painting by suggestion. My surfing friend, by rights, should have a field day. But they sell in their hundreds so who am I to knock them.
Anyway, back to the painting. It’s pretty big at 80cm square (31” x 31″), painted edge regular canvas, and is executed in oils, largely in Prussian Green – a fabulous colour, unlike most greens it loses none of it’s intensity when knocked back with white. Possibly not the most realistic ocean colour but it works brilliantly – well, I think it does anyway.
If you want it it’ll cost you £1,500.00 – for the time being anyway – in the near future I’ll be putting my prices up considerably, back to where they should be, so don’t leave it too long making your mind up.
Nice to chat…