Beautiful days are a wondrous thing, but they are a bit shit to paint.
Blue skies and calm seas just don’t do it for me. Flat light, everything sitting in separate colour boxes ( green grass, yellow sand, blue sea). Meh.
A good day to paint -for me - is a grey day. Grey with a hundred shades of ochre, lemon, turquoise, indigo, pthalo, umber.. it’s the subtleties in how the light shifts, so suddenly, to highlight one thing and shade another, that then become interesting. When the sea melts in to the sky, and the sand melts in to the sea. The movement of the air becomes key.. shifting clouds, lifting wave crests, scattering sand.
So many times I’ve looked out the window at the dull sky, unenthused by the thought of an hour on the beach.. and then, when you get there, it’s another world. A world of light and shadow, immensity, and such beauty. And your shoulders drop, and you walk and walk, listening to the circling gulls and the surf on the sand, watching the water sparkle on the wave tops and glisten in the rock pools. A soft rain begins to fall and instead of hunching under a scarf or a hat, you lift your face to the sky and drink it in.
There are no dull days on the beach. Only variations of beauty.
And that’s what the ‘day’ series is about. The unexpected, the unhoped for, the moment of clarity in a wash of flatness.
All paintings available to view at The Torrance Gallery, Dundas St, Edinburgh.
The 'Night, day, Dawn, Dusk' show runs from the 15th of January to the 5th of February