IN THE OPEN AIR


Plein air painting is none of these things: comfortable, relaxing, pleasant. It's a bloody slog carrying boards and bags of supplies up and down steep bluffs and over the rocks, trying to balance the required materials on uneven surfaces, keeping flying debris out of wet paint, entertaining passing tourists AND dealing with the fluids: sea spray, solvent, sweat and blood. Ok there was no blood... not this time. But, God, the activity is deeply satisfying.

Yesterday I ventured to the rocks at the south end of Turimetta Beach. The place is stunning. The rocks themselves are beautifully carved by the sea... and by artists. I didn't notice at first but gradually around me carvings began to emerge: a bird, an old key, a face.

At the base of the headland, clusters of rocks form channels through which the waves crash. The tide was coming in which seemed to give warlike purpose to the waves... aggressively gaining ground as I respectfully retreated. 

I took some photos which I will post but they don't capture the scene. I realised that being there amidst the spray and the overwhelming noise and the perpetual movement gave me a different impression to the camera. The waves were bigger and more turbulent, they dominated the scene... the rocks lay down in submission and the sky hung back, relieved to be a distant observer. I couldn't capture this with the camera - though I know some that could. I will try to paint what my minds eye saw.

The sketches that I made will become the basis of my work for the Manly Arts Festival POP Art Gallery. It's to be held in a venue called Hemingways and I have been thinking a lot about The Old Man and the Sea. Compared to his hardships, my little adventure yesterday was a walk in the park.