Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Seascape Painting, Spring Sea Rising

Spring Sea Rising, 20x24, acrylic on linen, Jan Blencowe Copyright 2011
view this painting in a sample frame on my website 
for purchase information email me jan.blencowe@comcast.net

Here we are at seascape number four and I find myself employing new painting techniques to capture the unique qualities of the ocean, sea foam, seaweed and the abundant presence of rocks.

The marshes endure the ebb and flow of the tides differently than the coast line. In the marsh the inundation is slow and seeping, a gradual creeping of water onto the land. The marsh itself is a sponge, absorbent and soft so the process is quiet and stealthy. If you're standing in the marsh on dry ground painting, a few hours later you can find yourself ankle deep and if the water is warm and you are focused on painting you might never notice that your sneakers are gradually becoming soaked!

All this is not so at the coastline. Waves, driven by the wind and the pull of the moon, move at speed to the shore and there with great force they encounter seemingly indomitable rock. (Though not truly indomitable, as the daily bathing of rocks in seawater will slowly over aeons wear down even the most jagged rock into a soft, feminine, rounded form). That meeting of surging sea and solid rock produces the spectacular, and terrifying crash of waves and the fireworks of sea  foam and  salt spray that mesmerizes us.

It's very interesting painting two such opposite things in a single painting. There is first off, the challenge of painting the solidness of rock and second, the challenge of painting the practically vaporous white surf and foam.  

A few detail shots to show some new techniques. First, the rocks. OK, rocks and be pretty boring. When they feature prominently in my paintings I feel the need to handle them with more impressionistic "broken" brushwork and more color....

detail, Spring Sea Rising

Next, the sea weed on the rocks (in shadow) created with deep rich jewel tone colors and multiple glazes.....

detail, Spring Sea Rising

Finally, the crashing surf in sunlight. Even though this will look like an oil painting once it is varnished and framed I never forget that acrylic is after all water-media, a cousin to watercolor and gouache. As such the crash of water and sea spray can be created by actually having the paint behave  as water does through the use of a typical watercolor technique, spattering.

detail, Spring Sea Rising

This painting's title is taken from a haiku by Yosa Buson
The spring sea rising

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The spring sea rising
and falling, rising
and falling all day.

Translated by Robert Hass

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