Changing Tides

Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Blog | No Comments

Oh no, I’m turning into a boring landscape painter were the words that kept coming up as I was fully immersed in my most recent painting. Painting is so much about the process of searching. I don’t always know what I am looking for when I start a new piece, or maybe I have an idea but then it falls short of my expectations. But I am finding it is super important to stay clear in my mind about what I don’t want. This is usually an intuitive feeling, but when I can put it into words it can strengthen my resolve to move in another direction regardless of the hours spent.

I had just finished two smaller paintings that I was quite pleased with, Coastal Rocks and Point Counterpoint (scroll down to bottom to see both) and I decided I wanted to continue the coastal rock exploration, in a larger, more complex scene. I found an image that I had shot and my goal was to use it as reference but try and transform it into something different as a painting. I began very enthusiastically and my enthusiasm continued for quite some time. I liked the ocean, and I was having fun painting abstract colors and loose strokes in the rock area. But it fell short of what I was envisioning. I kept with it for a while thinking I might be able to pull it off somehow, but it became clear that if I were just to finish it, I would likely end up with a sellable painting, but my heart wouldn’t be in it. I snapped a quick photo (see below) right before I began the search to see if there was any part of the painting I could save in my quest for something more.

Earlier version

At first I had a “nice” beach scene, then I switched it upside down and had a secret beach will tall cliffs which was intriguing for a short time, and then I switched it back and had a surreal scene where the ocean looked like it would soon be spilling over a huge colorful cliff like a waterfall. At that point I was ready to just paint over the entire thing and write it completely off.

However, ultimately all was not lost! In a last ditch effort I painted out all of the bright colors with a darker paint and that is when the idea for the final version emerged. The piece became much more personal. While I certainly didn’t set out to explicitly represent things I was thinking about either literally or metaphorically, things going on in one’s mind can have a way of informing the decisions and choices made until the painting feels just right. Some of the things in my head included turbulent emotions due to politics, an amazing recent full moon run, changing tides of feminism, changing ideas in my art including big picture and this specific painting, being able to calm the mind when feeling unsettled, the peace and beauty of nature etc… Changing Tides for me is a much richer, open-ended piece — simpler in details than my original idea, but far more complex. Because the painting became more personal, I think it became a better painting, and as a result I hope someone else may connect with it in a way that feels personal to them.

Changing Tides, Acrylic on Canvas, 2018, 30 x 30 inches

Coastal Rocks, Acrylic on Panel, 2018, 12 x 16 inches

Point Counterpoint, Acrylic on Canvas, 2018, 20 x 16 inches