Slow Sea of Indigo

A while ago I became frustrated with a landscape I was doing in pastel. It was looking a bit too pastoral and pretty for my taste. It left nothing for the viewer to complete with her imagination. It lay around on my studio floor for some days while I walked and shuffled over it as I came and went. The image improved considerably!

I then reworked it a bit, took a photo and then edited the photo (adding warmth and editing the contrasts), until I came up with the image below. I loved it. It has the warmth and emotional honesty of a true landscape – that is – a landscape seen through eyes of someone who actually feels, fears, lives and breathes.


I posted the above image on my Instagram feed and (sigh) it has received the most likes of anything I posted! I set out trying to reproduce this style of image on paper. My strategy was to lay a foundation in watercolor to get the right warmth, then add the rest in pastel and stomp on it to add some random marks. This is what I came up with:

Mixed Media on Fabriano Paper (approx 50 x 33 cm)

The image was not quite the same – it lacks the glowing warmth of the edited photo. But it is real and has a charm of its own, so I decided to try some more paintings in this style. Below are some results:

Mixed Media on Fabriano Paper (approx 50 x 33 cm)

Every time I look at Marie Marshall’s blog, I am amazed at the richness of the imagery that I find like pearls in her poems. Here is an excerpt from a poem she posted recently:


Mixed Media on Fabriano Paper (approx 50 x 33 cm)

It has been a hard year for our family. The original family unit was down from five to four when I was eight years old. Now in the last half of this year year we lost two more. They live on in the minds of the remainder and the many others that loved them.

I keep seeing in my dreams landscapes where the light has another color. Perhaps something like the painting above? Rolf Jacobsen wrote about this:

In countries where the light has another color
the faces along the streets at dusk
can turn to pearls in a slow sea of indigo.

And you must ask yourself - what do these
fiery diadems reflect here, and whose hands
have scattered them across these dark waters?

Rolf Jacobsen - from:
The Roads Have Come To an End Now, translated
by Robert Bly, Roger Greenwald and Robert Hedin


Read that again – that last verse. Those are big questions, aren’t they?


Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are happy and content as the year roars to its end.


9 thoughts on “Slow Sea of Indigo

  1. I do ask those questions, usually late at night while standing with the dog under the stars. They are big questions indeed. They are good questions for pondering in regard to all scatterings, of all sorts.

    And the iterations of the visual idea are each moodily contemplative in subtly different ways. Good visual poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly, thank you for the accolade here. Secondly, I don’t know where to start when it comes to the five images on this page. I can see why the image that’s heavy on yellow and red got such a response. There’s something (more than usual) of Turner about it. In many respects your palette is like that of a sombre Turner; you express (rather than depict) qualities of light, and in your case you aren’t afraid to include poor grass, mud, tidal creekwater and standing pools, etc. for the light that they reflect. In the yellow-dominated painting and the one immediately below it, the red recalls tail-lights in the rain and murk, but also dust-refractions on a pair of spectacles from low, low sun off in the periphery of vision. There’s an idea that they could be wiped or blinked away.

    You told me that skies are easy. They aren’t. Your skies have been thrown up by a great, dominant hand; they hang there, defying the urge to slam down. The ground is a client-kingdom to the Imperial sky; the sky might be vague, Caesar might never visit our county of ground, but he’s a felt presence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Marie, you really make me blush. Your beautiful kind words on my paintings are very inspiring to me and urges me to paint more and better. Your description of the paintings suggest the keen perceptive eye of a poet – perhaps that is why I align my art so closely with poetry.
      Many thanks for your encouragement, it is truly appreciated!


  3. Lololol. Ah Fritz. The style is still your style. The Instagram photo caught my eye because of that red contrasting with the yellow. It pops like crazy! All of your paintings have something that stands out and bounces off the canvas, paper or whatever you are using these days. You stop painting according to likes young man. Paint according to Fritz’s likes cuz he has good vision.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ya….it is addicting apparently. I personally just wait for you to show me pretty pictures that I can’t do myself because I don’t have your brain. My favorite th8ng about artis that everyone has their own signature style that really can’t be duplicated very easily and never totally duplicated.

        Liked by 1 person

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