Waves and Grace
by Skip Andreae
(Santa Cruz, CA)
Waves and Grace.
I confess to being fascinated with water and oceans. It started as a child and fortunately I haven't outgrown it yet. Mesmerizing, constantly changing, ever in motion, sometimes etherial, sometimes powerful foaming chaos, how can we help but want to paint it. Always, there is the challenge of all that beauty in motion .
Wish there was Remote with a Pause button designed to still the water just long enough to capture the shape and forms. Instead, I went to the bookstore's How To Draw / Paint shelf. Several paperbacks which contain the anatomy of waves are available. Seeing the parts named and the structure from various points of view, seems to slow and free up the visual when standing right in front of it. Who knew there was a shadow in front of a backlit wave??
Color hint for murky coastal days: cobalt blue + yellow ochre make wonderful sea green blues. Add more ochre + white for rock grays.
El Nino created long beautiful rollers of tall waves and seething foam. Three of us drove to Pescadero Beach, one of several inspiring beaches north of Santa Cruz, CA where the parking lot was safely above above the pounding shore. Waves are a spectator sport here on the Central Coast. A local police chief recently remarked that Tsunami Watch does not mean Go Watch the Tsunami. We set up on the edge of a parking lot filled with cars and people. I painted three 8 x 10s that day. The first was an exploration and a 'learner'. During the second, a man stood behind me watching for a long time. "My Aunt Elizabeth paints," he said and then in a smaller voice, "I wish I could paint." "Do it!", I said smiling, "Begin!"
The third was that Mystery we all hope to experience. The colors were mixed. Time was still. I was filled with delight and beyond thought. It all just flowed. The third painting painted itself. It was that grace moment - which can't be described in words - only appreciated. I hope Aunt Elizabeth and each of you have many painting grace moments.