Watercolor has been my medium of choice for about thirty-five years. Early works ranged from still lifes to figures to landscape, and for a time I found my niche in painting architecture; from beautiful older structures with character to the grittiest of dilapidated, high-rise apartment buildings with rusty fire escapes and broken windows.
Eventually, holding a brush in my right hand and a photograph in my left, trying to stay faithful to the appearance of the actual building, grew tiresome. I began to explore organic subject matter, from direct observation, my imagination, and my own photographs.
One theme that has emerged is the portrayal of water – rivers, ponds, lakes, and the ocean. The ocean is so compelling in ways that are hard to articulate and probably not fully understood, at least by me. I didn’t grow up near the ocean; I’m not a strong or enthusiastic swimmer; I’ve never been on a cruise or spent much time on a boat of any kind. However, as a child, going to the beach was a major thrill, and even now, catching the first glimpse of the ocean on a vacation causes an involuntary rush of excitement.
The urge to get to the edge where water meets land is irresistible, and then wading in is inevitable. The unceasing waves arriving on shore, and then receding back into the sea is a mesmerizing phenomenon to observe, and for me, relaxing and meditative. I believe that observing the motion of waves induces calmness and mindfulness; perhaps this is universal.
The watercolors in the series “Drawn by the Sea” are based, more or less, on photographs I’ve taken at Galveston, Pensacola Beach FL, and Playa Junquillal, Costa Rica. Water is a complex subject to depict; colorless, it borrows its hues from the surroundings, such as sky and sand. Along with the reflected color, depending on depth and transparency, objects and colors may be seen beneath the surface of the water. There can also be objects floating on the surface, along with froth or foam usually present.
I truly am drawn to the sea, and in painting these captured moments of the motion of the waves, it’s easy to recall the attraction I felt when photographing the scene. I’d like to think that in enjoying these watercolors, an observer could also feel transported to a time of mindfulness and peace on the beach.