Tag Archives: wave paintings

Themes – Sea

Above: Pisces Moon, Isle of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018.

As I’m currently painting a private commission which must remain secret until October 2021, I thought I’d post themed blogs in the meantime. Today’s theme is Sea.

In the next few weeks I’ll also share my paintings on the themes of trees, mountains, portraits, winter, abstraction, imagination and collaborations

Our emotional and physiological response to the ocean means that it’s one of the most painted themes in fine art. Capturing a visceral sense of its translucence, movement, moods and light is challenging and there are limitless approaches. To enhance your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of music pieces that conjure moods of the sea! A beautiful song by Ishbel MacAskill:  An Ataireachd Ard  and a timeless sound from the Hebrides: Lewisian Psalm Singing

I’ve headed each set below with these terms: Movement, turbulence.   Light, sun.   Night, dark moods.   Colour, translucence.

Movement, turbulence

Painting movement is best achieved by making a mess I find! I try to keep the paint loose – as soon as I lose that freeness of brushstrokes it disappears. I’ve noticed that if anyone’s watching this process it looks stressful – just as it seems I’ve carefully captured a moving wave it’s time to mess that up and recreate it in looser strokes. This is one of the advantages of working in oils or acrylics, with watercolour you have to strategise more carefully. In the process of messing it up several times though, texture and interest is created.

One of the best compliments I ever recieved as an artist was when the curator of French fine art from Scotland’s National Gallery bought two of my paintings and compared them to Courbet, Encouraging praise indeed – Courbet was an Impressionist known for his wild waves. An example of Courbet’s waves on this link; Courbet

 

Light, sun

Every landscape artist is obsessed with the way light creates landscape. Capturing the essentials of light on sea is a constant challenge. Some artists simply make a precise copy from a photo, but that usually just creates a flatness and lack of energy and there seems not much point in recreating a photo, except for practice. The artists I most admire are those who can say everything about light with very little – something I still struggle with. One of my favourites in that regard is Alex Katz. His paintings appear simple until you realise how much he expresses with minimal marks. Alex Katz painting here – Katz

 

Night, dark moods

Probably the least commercial works are those that explore a more sombre mood. That doesn’t change my fascination with the subject though – it’s poetic and inspiring. We see landscape by light, so when there’s minimal light it has an emotional effect – we seek the light in the painting with a heightened focus. When painting in the introspective winter months, it’s instinctive to paint in a darker or more monochrome pallete. (subtleties of colour can be really difficult in the dark light of a Scottish winter). Tacita Dean, a hugely talented artist, captures an ominous mood in her chalk on blackboard works, yet there’s a romance to them that speaks of our long history of sea tales. Tacita Dean

 

Colour, translucence

Nothing expresses the unique quality of a particular sea more than colour and transclucency. The sea on Iona on Scotland’s west coast is transparent, impossibly turquoise and clear, whereas on the east coast it’s more opaque and grey-toned, even in bright sunlight. This is down to light (sun rise and sunset in east or west) pollution and geology – the sand on Iona is pinkish white, in North Berwick it’s warm brownish yellow. Go farther south to Cornwall and the sea is still magically green or turquoise but with less gem-like clarity because of a warmer-toned sun. Capturing clarity in paint is a case of clean contrasts and layers of colour. Also I find that a well-placed blob of seaweed in the shallows with just a hint of sunlit white froth on top can work well! Basically though it’s a challenge, and again I wish I could say more with less.  Hockney’s paintings come to mind, view more here Hockney

Joan Eardley’s paintings of the sea have beautiful subtlety of colour and texture, to my mind, unmatched. One of her paintings on this link Eardley

Lastly, the Scottish Colourists are the yardstick by which artists are measured in terms of understanding sea and colour! Colourists

In a few days I’ll share images and links to artworks on the theme of trees.

 

Ardnamurchan paintings in progress ..

‘Sanna Bay Sea’. Mixed media on 20×16″ wood board. Rose Strang 2019

‘Sanna Bay, Rocks, Waves’. Mixed media on 20×16″ wood board. Rose Strang 2019

Today’s paintings of Ardnamurchan – looking out west from Sanna Bay.

These are for the Resipole Gallery exhibition which opens 17th May this year.

Exhibitions and available paintings Jan’ 2019

Current round-up of current exhibitions and (as yet) unsold paintings  …

 

Limetree Gallery, Bristol. (Contact gallery for enquiries Here)

Paintings available from the Limetree Gallery …

Winter Show. Resipole Gallery, 10th Nov’ to 22nd March. Ardnamurchan, Scotland. (Contact gallery for enquiries Here)

Paintings at the Resipole …

 

Small Paintings. Morningside Gallery, Edinburgh.  (contact gallery for enquiries Here)

Paintings at the Morningside Gallery …

Available Prints

The following prints of my paintings are available as limited editions at the Saatchi Gallery Online. You can buy them – Here

 

 

Inspired by..

'Waves in the Rain, Singing Sands Bay'. Acrylic and ink on 40x30" canvas

‘Waves in the Rain, Singing Sands Bay’. Acrylic and ink on 40×30″ canvas

Nice news today that I’ve been included in Saatchi’s ‘Inspired by Impressionism..’ series.

I’m not actually particularly inspired by Impressionism, but last year one of my paintings (‘Waves in the Rain, Singing Sands Bay’, above) was compared to Gustave Courbet by the Curator of French Art at the National Gallery of Scotland. I was very touched by that, and she followed up those kind remarks by buying the painting too, I was thrilled!

This is Courbet’s ‘La Vague’ (the wave). I honestly wasn’t thinking of Courbet at all when I painted my waves, but I actually do see what she meant in a way – the energy I think. Courbet was a messy painter, as I tend to be too especially with larger works.

And since I’m blowing my own trumpet today (somebody has to!) other good news is that ‘Cockenzie Power Station’ was pre-selected for the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) Open 2015.

'Cockenzie Power Station, 26th September 2015'. Mixed media on 17x11" wood panel

‘Cockenzie Power Station, 26th September 2015’. Mixed media on 17×11″ wood panel

Thanks to the RSA and Saatchi, I must say it’s given me a wee glow today!

 

50 Paintings of Eigg Series No. 23

Eigg Series No. 23. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 23. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

P1100887A wave from Singing Sands Bay, this time more experimental and loose, which I feel gives it more energy. I like this one!

I mentioned yesterday that music helps me paint –  which is true of all painters I know – and someone asked yesterday which music I find inspiring to paint to. It changes all the time, today’s was painted to Kate Bush’s Ariel, but here are a few that have featured many times in this year’s ‘Music to Paint to’!

Satie has a suitably meandering mood, and for that aimless feeling nothing quite hits the mark like –  Avant-dernières pensées II Aubade

Few can match Kate Bush for atmospheric mood and evocation of landscape, this is Lake Tahoe from 50 Words for Snow. (I’d love to paint that phrase in the song mid way where she calls ‘sno-o-o-wfl-a-ake’!)

Another evoker of atmosphere, is singer/songwriter Scott Matthews. Ballerina Lake is quite haunting and can trigger the right mood..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buN1jshK9BI

And (of course) 50 Words for Snow ! I love paintings snowscapes and I also like this amateur video, taken by someone from her porch which looks like somewhere in the wilds of Canada but I think is New Hampshire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Aytn3Fcu0