“Pale beneath dark clouds, the winter sun descends. Across it’s shine the gulls patrol, while over marsh and saltings the oyster catcher’s call comes borne on salt-sharp wind.” – Ian Tait
The winter this year had seemed to go on and on. With tantalising glimpses of spring one day, then the daffodil stems smothered in snow and an icy north easterly howling down the river on the next.
With an equally cold studio progress was slow, with paint seemingly taking forever to dry. But on a rare sunny day in April, the big painting was dry and ready for another layer.
The boatyard was busy, with yard hands and boat owners keen to get their boats back in the water. The hammering, sawing, sanding, the crane and forklift engines beating their own tune, becoming part of the rhythm of the painting.
The boatyard in the painting is suggestive. I splash and smear the paint on – here the suggestion of a rooftop, and there a hull, a mast.
Scared that I will drop and damage it, I enlist some help to move the panels over to the window so I can check the surface in the light.
Out of the studio window the Lapwing are doimg their aerial dance, the males showing off now as they dive and roll and zig-zag to alert their presence to rival males and potential mates.
Knowing when a painting is finished can be hard. Ultimately the artist has to trust their instinct. I knew then as I looked at the huge painting dominating the studio wall, that it was finished.
Studio tunes of the day:
Eivør – Trøllabundin
Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where The Time Goes