For my upcoming group art exhibition, we’re exploring the theme of “Journeys”.
My main sources of inspiration are my childhood memories of Christmas Island – playing in the tropical jungle, swimming at the beach, sitting in a small fishing boat over the deep blue ocean.
Many times, my parents would take us rock fishing off the coast. The rocks were dark, shards of volcanic rock. I remember the way they pushed sharply into the bottom of our thongs as we walked over them.
I remember the crashing waves. The sea spray. The unrelenting energy of the water smashing and sweeping through the rocks.
I was terrified. Terrified of breaking my head on the rocks. Terrified of being swept out to sea.
I was soothed. The roaring crash, the sighing withdraw. The rhythmic tide of an ocean so immeasurable and wet.
I never fished. I would always sit and watch.
The Painting Process
1. The Undercoat
I started by giving my canvas two coats of watered-down gesso. Then I dripped and flicked the gesso onto the canvas at different heights, and splooshed it around with a palatte knife.
After that dried, I thinned some Burnt Sienna oil paint with some lean medium and applied it liberally. I let it pool and collect around the various lump and bumps of the canvas. Then left it to dry.
I chose to work with a dark background, because I wanted some of the burnt sienna to show though. Sienna is often a colour associated with aged photographs and historical images.
I wanted the shadowy brown to peek through the vibrant blues to create a mysterious, peculiar look about it.
2. The First Layer
I painted a blue sky background with minimal strokes. Working dark to light. It felt like I was doing calligraphy – where each stroke is carefully planned, placed and radiates spirit.
It was quite stressful, but very satisfying. I wanted to capture movement, exhilaration and the volatile energy of the atmosphere.
2. The Second Layer
For the rocks, I used a mixture of raw umber, black, blue and white. I also used a bit of magenta to add some contrast against the blue background. Again I worked quickly, yet purposefully, careful not to over-work certain areas. Stressful, but so rewarding!
Later I painted the surging blue ocean and splattered white all over the place. I finished it off with lovely drips and dribbles. I’m really happy with it.
This is my second Watching Waves piece.
(Unfortunately I’m not going to post up my finished artwork until after my exhibition! Watch this space!)