Painting #36

Here is my painting #36:

#36, June 2016 (32 x 30 cm)

To those of you who looked at my previous post (“What Comes from Silence”), this image may look familiar. I set out initially to do a somewhat darker and more sinister version of that watercolour, but right from the underpainting some part of me set off in a different direction.

As I put down the underpainting something boat-like appeared out of the canvas, and the image immediately called me toward a more abstract outcome. I like this painting, and I think it will escape the fate of earlier paintings that were recycled.

I realize it may not be in everyone’s taste, but I love the warm transparent colour juxtaposed against dark shadows and the more opaque, greenish areas. Most of all – for me it carries a sense of mystery that evokes a good emotion.

As I painted away, my thoughts went to boats and ships, and many themes went through my mind. I am sad to say, but with the previous past nights’ news in memory, the image came up of a five year old child, crossing white sand at midnight to board a dingy vessel in the Mediterranean – the little hand tightly clasping the rough hand of a father in whom trust is absolute and complete.

I recalled the lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” which never fails to give me goose-bumps:

I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times,
How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of
the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the
How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was
faithful of days and faithful of nights,
And chalk’d in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we
will not desert you
How he follow’d with them and tack’d with them three
days and would not give it up,
How he saved the drifting company at last,
How the loose-gown’d women look’d when boated
from the side of their prepared graves,
How silent old-faced infants and the liften sick, and the
sharp-lipp’d unshaven men;
All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes
I am the man, I suffer’d, I was there.

(this excerpt copied from The Writer’s Almanac)

And as the darker areas of the painting started to gain depth, my mind went to the never ending search for my True Self, swimming upward – into the depths (Transtromer’s term) of the oceanic:


I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves..
– Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?


Juan Ramon Jimenez

Thanks so much to all who have encouraged me in my journey with comments and likes. A special thanks to all followers of my blog.

18 thoughts on “Painting #36

  1. this does have the darkness and mystery you wanted, without a doubt! you gave it wonderful movement through your Brush strokes; as well as the directional areas of darker tonal mass going diagonally. good job, as this helped give it that nudge of life and stopped it being too darkly ominous. I am quite taken with your brush strokes. I’d love to see it in person to just look at those up close! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Debi! I cannot say I consciously plan to execute brush strokes in a certiain way, they just happen somehow, probably guided more by the music I listen to than my conscious mind. This feels a bit embarassing, as if you are complimenting the wrong “person”! If I find time over the weekend, I may try to post a close up or two?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw the boat image at once, then thought of the previous painting. I thought how clever you were to take an image and transform it into something both similar and dissimilar. It’s quite interesting to “see” the emotions of the artist as they come through in a finished painting. This has such a tumult of emotions! It has both darkness and light, both storm and stillness. Very well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Judith for your kind and thoughtful comment. I have to say I am quite fond of this painting. Often I feel a photo makes the painting look a bit better, but in this one holding the painting is best!

      Hope your own journey is going well. Steer clear of those oils posing as watercolors!🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL Thanks for the reminder. It’s finally all come off my hands. Never did get the stains off my fingernails, though. Ended up cutting my nails rather short. I really did like the emotions in your painting. For me, they were subtle but real, and I think in many ways the subtlety makes emotion more powerful.

        Liked by 1 person

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