Friday, July 16, 2010

Storms of Mercy, a Connecticut Seascape Painting

Storms of Mercy, 24x30, acrylic on linen, Jan Blencowe 2010

This painting took such a loooong time to complete! This was a huge challenge for me. Seascapes are especially difficult because to create a convincing painting you need to understand the mechanics of how waves work, understand how color and transparency work when painting water, understand how to convincingly portray rocks, and how to make visual sense out of the chaos of moving water. And besides all that I believe you need to paint the sea with passion.


The Long Island Sound is usually placid with a gentle ebb and flow of tides, rippling water and baby waves. But during our recent nor'easter back in March the water was turbulent and choppy and the waves imposing and threatening.

The day of the storm I was at The Mercy Center in Madison, CT for a day of silent spiritual retreat. The meditation rooms have floor to ceiling windows that look out on the the beach just a few yards away. I did some sketches and watercolors and then when the rain let up some I went out onto the beach to take photographs and shoot some video.

As I spent time watching the stormy water I realized how God's mercy sometimes crashes into our lives like a storm when we need to pay attention to Him. Thus the title of this painting "Storms of Mercy".

I incorporated many techniques and materials to recreate the surf, rocks and sky in this piece. The white foam of the waves is highly textural, with very thick paint mixed with fiber paste. The layers of the rocks worn smooth through the ages are created using layers of gel, the misty sky has opalescent pigments mixed into it and the thin sheets of retreating water on the sand are applied in dry brush and glazes.

5 comments:

Dusty Pines said...

those waves are quite good (a little too good for someone who gets seasick, actually!) - & i really like the way you depicted the water just coming up the edge of the beach! thank you for sharing this!

AutumnLeaves said...

"God's mercy sometimes crashes into our lives like a storm when we need to pay attention to Him."

This really struck me this morning. My husband lost his job yesterday and I am fretting and fretting. He is our only income currently.

This is just beautiful, Jan. The brush work in the white froth of the waves lends to their depth wonderfully. I love rough seas; they are just amazing to watch.

Martyn Chamberlin said...

This is a major work you've done here. You've definitely given a feel for the contour and passion of the sea. Very bold to paint acrylic on linen. I thought that was frowned upon in the art community...could you please explain what's going on here? I appreciate the Christian talk by the way. :)

Hélène Glehen said...

Another great work, Jan. Bravo.

Gretchen Kelly said...

Jan,
I really am moved by your Storms of Mercy paintings. Really well done and emotional.
Gretchen