oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
This painting was done for a surfer. But instead of the usual wave seascape I wanted to add some other element as well as eliminate any seashore, rocks etc. that you would typically find.
Inspired by one of my favorite seascape artists, the incomparable Homer, I divided the picture plane into three horizontal bands. I gave the foreground to a swell, the middle ground to the action, and the background to the imposing ship.
The tight cropping gave the subject the power it deserved, a pulled back or panoramic view just wouldn't do in this case. The ship was originally lighter in value, enveloped in the stormy mist, but that too watered down the might and strength of composition, so darker it went.
It's good to recognize when something is not working and learn to problem solve on your own, remembering your original intent and letting go of what is defeating that intent, no matter how much you may have 'fallen in love' with that element. Art is very much a solitary business most of the time so these skills are essential.
The darker ship now dominates the painting, sitting on the wave at the top of, and occupying a little over half of the composition. Strong in it's presence but weak against the forces of nature tearing away at it's broken hull. Man vs nature, a theme of both Homer and Hopper, among others, and one intuitively understood by surfers.28
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