A blue and white contemporary painting
I love these two basic colours. You can do so much with them. For Pacific Swell I wanted to pay homage to the ocean in a way I’d not done before. So I’ve used a couple of new techniques and a new drying compound and I must say the results are very striking.
I absolutely love it.
Using new techniques
After the base coat had cured I set about laying out the line structure as my first task. You can see this as the loops and sweeps of thick white paint that form the line structures of the painting.
Keeping this liquid enough to move but then allowing it to cure just enough to let it stand alone, without bleed, was a particularly tense affair. I nailed it though and at that point the outline structure was complete.
It’s at this point I began to thin the colours. Thinning is a very precise process that requires careful selection of the right thinning agents and in the right quantities. It’s a critical part of the process as it dictates what you can and can’t do with the paint mixes.
Creating the feeling of waves and water
If I’m attempting to translate the oceans into an abstract then I really need to consider waves crashing on the shoreline as well as giant swells of water. I also have to be mindful of the colours and textures of the oceans and all the diverse visuals they create.
So the inclusion of blue was an absolute at the very least. Adding black to this would keep a feeling of tension and depth whilst the playful additions of gold and aquamarine add some lighter notes to the palette of colour.
Assembling the parts
Putting these colours together, within the loop structure I mentioned previously, became the sole focus of intent at this point. I had to keep movement whilst retaining balance; we need drama but also serenity. Adding to that I also need splashes and crashes as well as contained ebbs and flows.
This painting is a real triumph of all these things and I like to be able to talk about why a painting exists and what goes on behind it. I believe you get a lot more out of it when you understand the story that surrounds it.
Keeping things moving
I guess life is very much like an ocean – always moving and always a mixture of extremes. Sometimes it can be a challenge to keep the feeling of movement in a static object and even more so when you’re deconstructing something to an abstract form. These problems are further compounded when that’s presented in a two-dimensional way like a piece of canvas.
Whether I’ve succeeded or not will be a matter of opinion but I’d like to think I’ve got most of the boxes ticked. Perhaps the thing I am most pleased about, when you strip away all the technical stuff, is that it feels like ocean waves to me – and that’s what I set out to achieve. Whether you like it or not is another story though…!
This blue and white contemporary painting is about being connected to the might and majesty of our oceans; dramatic, powerful and always moving.
It’s a perfect size for behind a sofa or in a dining room or it could feel equally at home hung vertically in a stairwell. Either way it’s a big fat slap in the face of convention and another reason to celebrate our short time on this planet.
- Canvas: Polyester 340gsm
- Preparation: One coat of primer, one additional skim coat
- Paints: Enamel paint (5 colours) made to my own recipe
- Frame: 44mm Museum graded floating frame with 8 tensioning corner wedges.
- Hand-stretched and stapled on the reverse