Down to the Sea Again

There’s a poem I love titled Sea Fever. It’s by John Masefield, and it talks about going down to the sea. The second verse is my favorite:

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
Although I can’t depict this too accurately in my paintings — especially with watercolor — those words were in my mind as I painted this gansai seascape:
I actually thought of adding a few sea gulls to this little painting (it’s 7″ x 10″) but decided against it. Like almost all of my other gansai/watercolor projects, this one was done just for fun, with no pretentions of creating great art.
This was done, by the way, on “Mixed Media” paper, It’s an inexpensive sketchbook by Grumbacher, one with “in and out” pages. What that means is that you can remove a sheet, work on it, and then re-position it inside the sketchbook again. What a great idea! Well, it sounded good, and that’s the main reason why I chose this particular sketchbook. I don’t actually like the feature, though. The pages can be removed and replaced, but it’s all a bit awkward, really. Maybe it would work well for you, but from my experience, I can’t recommend it.
This was a fun piece to do, especially since I’m not really a watercolor artist. Yes, I spent most of last summer learning how to use watercolor, so I’m better with it than I used to be, but it’s still a challenging medium for me. This is why I choose to simply have fun with it.
With this particular painting I wanted to create a blue sky with white clouds flying. I wanted to suggest a windy day. I hoped, too, to play with creating different effects, but my flung spray and blown spume did not turn out as I’d hoped.
A lot of this was an opportunity to play with colors, too. I used a lot of different hues on the rocks. I avoided getting too detailed. That wasn’t the point in this. This was playtime inspired by my summer re-reading of Treasure Island and a beloved poem by John Masefield.
In reality, I’ve spent very little time near the sea. I’ve visited the Atlantic, never the Pacific, but lack of personal experience doesn’t keep me from loving the sea, hearing its call, and wanting to capture its mystery and magnificence in my art.


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