A seascape painting of a storm approaching

Solitary Seas

Oh the sea, how I have missed the sea!

I had a number of projects to work on this year but I just could not get the sea out of my head and in the end stopped resisting the urge and painted a series of 4 Northumberland seascape paintings.

I do not live near the Coast and only get there a few times a year but I did not realise just how important those visits were until they were not allowed. I have loved our holidays in Wales and Northumberland as the kids have grown, in fact if I think about it, almost all my holidays have been near the sea.

That feeling of space and openness, escape from normal life and the fresh, fresh air combined with the excitement of escaping your everyday life. I cannot wait to have them all back again.

I started with some photos I had taken a year before and after completing the first 50 days of 100 Days of Storytelling I tried writing the story I was trying to communicate. It really helped and I kept the sketchbook open on the page as I worked on the painting.

When I began the paintings, I wanted to use very transparent acrylic ink washes to build up the colours for two but as I worked on them, they became darker and darker until they were moody skies with storms in the distance. Perhaps this was an insight into how I have been feeling, I enjoyed following that feeling rather than trying to drag myself back to my original intention to create something brighter when it did not suit my mood.

First layer of Seascape Painting by Jo Degenhart on stretched paper

The first two are views along the coast near Dunstanburgh Castle.

The Sky is in the Sea

I tried to show that odd sight where the rain in the distance makes the streaks that blur the land and the sky, so that it becomes hard to know which is which.

Seascape Painting of a coastline near Dunstanburgh

Until it reaches us

I was trying to create that feeling of seeing a storm in the, not knowing if it will reach you or pass by and leave you untouched. There is a sort of electricity of uncertainty in the air.

A seascape painting of a storm approaching

The second two are inspired by a boat trip to the Farne Islands. The rocks rose up out of the sea in interesting shapes and created quite a claustrophobic feeling as the boat slowly pootered past.

A Relentless Barrage

This painting was just a straight run of this cliff, the feeling that the sea was constantly crashing against the rocks and the noise that filled your head with its roar.

Seascape paintings coastal cliffside

The Barrier Between Us

This painting has more depth to it but as the rocks behind also hold you, it is seemingly endless with layer upon layer stopping you from seeing what is beyond the cliffs.

Seascape painting of a coastline near Farne Islands

I think all 4 were affected by the claustrophobic feelings of another lock down in the UK. Stormy skies, turbulent seas and barriers to living life are all pretty obvious metaphors in the work which appeared unconsciously then I began to develop as the painting progressed.

As always creating art was a way to express my feelings and emotions sometimes in a personal way and at other times in a more transparent way. Some are too personal to share and others almost demand to be communicated.

Jo x

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