Woaah so this was a challenge! It was early. We’d got up even earlier, and drove for about an hour across to Tiruchchendur, a fisherman’s village on the east coast. It was a village that had been very badly damaged by the tsuamani in 2004. The boats were wrecked, their equipment gone and their way of life destroyed. This is one of the villages in which SCAD is working, and where they helped the rescue efforts in 2004 as well as provide them with new boats and equipment. Since then it has continued to support the village in terms of education, healthcare and social support.
To the painting. It was hard. Its the morning – light changes fast. The amount of light increases and the exposure increases. From slithers of light and reflections, the whole landscape becomes bathed in light. Something that is one minute a silhouette is in full daylight a while later. The colours expand from those cool yellows and blues to incorporate the full spectrum. What part of the morning do you try to capture while all the time trying to also see whats happening within this scene. The people, the activity, the industry.
I think early on there’s an important decision to be made…which is, are you painting the scene/landcscape with some people in it, or are you painting the people and activity in landscape. I’ve only just had this ‘ah-ha!’ moment and it only came because I was trying to work out why one of my other beach scenes was so rubbish. In that one I tried to paint the landsaoe and then put people in it and they competed with each other.
This one was tough – we fought hunger, dehydration, curious observers, wind and our own mental states (or at least I did). But the action on this beach was so inspiring and beautiful and I worked frantically trying to capture that. The movement and activity was endless, and I think it just becomes pure instinct on snap decisions, as to what to include and what to leave out..
This painting seemed to just work, and I think is one of the most gratifying paintings I’ve ever painted.