St Abb's National Reserve

St Abb's National Reserve
View from my office

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I went to the beach this morning. My partner has been in the water 3 or 4 times over the last few days- the surf appearing after months of flat sea.

I have been busy, or asleep, and in no mood to haul my carcass to the shore to paint before now; 9.15am is hardly the dawn patrol, either.

I need to get down the coast on a sunny morning while there is swell; I have been commissioned and await a window of opportunity- like catching a wave, really; waiting for the right kind of wave, at the right point of maturity, to lift me up and carry me along.

In the meanwhile I warmed up; battering a few bits of oil paper, the tide retreating, mocking my efforts to keep up with its progress.

I looked down at the dazzling, purple geraniums on the dune and considered tackling a subject that doesn't move around so much.

I have to use the medium- oil gets away from me, has a will of its own, or at least a character that is not so personable as acrylic; which says, 'okay, you want me to be watercolour? I'll try my best.' or 'Impasto? You got it!'

Oil has been around the block. It doesn't need to prove itself. It says 'Look at these babies-' pigments glossy with oil, smells evokative of age-old tradition, secret recipies; of alchemy.

Oil does not bend to my will. I have made a deal and must respect its qualities, notice the glutinous sprawls of air-pocked white that want to be the lacy trails behind the breakers. I must measure my thinners and potions, or lose connection with the paint.

It wants to be involved in my process; suggests; points out; demands.

It mocks my yearning to pin down precise little lines of neat waves, shouting 'Look!' As a monster slaps its black hand on the shore and a comb of almost tropical-tinged water arcs momentarily, before disappearing forever.

I've come home to lick my wounds; to have it out, in the studio, with a docile, obedient photograph- one of my concerns, at least, biddable to my will.

I must get back, also ,to my garden project.

Natasha's garden having sprouted away alarmingly since my last visit.

Maybe it's me, who is standing still too long.


occasional northerner said...

How was the play?


Sarah said...

Playing to a home crowd, O.N. so mixed...lots of good booing and cheering, but aware of familiar faces peering at me, through the crowd. Some of the young girls went all self-conscious when they spied their peers in the audience.
We well well-received and lots of compliments, too.
I do love to ham it up, now and again!
Catch us at Bamburgh Castle on the 19th!
Shall I post a few photos?

occasional northerner said...

We'll defintely come on the 19th - are down all week on holiday. Will boo and so on. Yes - post some photos.

occasional northerner said...

Having said we'd come we failed as we had to be back in Edinburgh for a christening! Can I come and see your garden pictures?

Sarah said...

The invitation is on its way!