Breathing in the Rhythm

“Dance with the waves,

move with the sea.

Let the rhythm of the water

set your soul free.” 

― Christy Ann Martine

Out at sea, the water is rhythmic. It is moved and pushed by wind and current, swells and storms, rising and falling. But the ocean as it nears the shore is pushed into a much more palpable rhythm. Almost like a heartbeat, I can feel the beginning and ending of each wave. Sometimes, the heartbeat quickens as each wave rolls over the one ahead of it as they hurry towards the sand. Sometimes the water pulls back just enough to form an glittering line of foam, barely enough to be called a wave.

I find that I tend to time my breathing with the pattern of the waves. Slowing or quickening accordingly. The days that the surf is wild and dangerous fill me with an energy and restlessness. I feel the need to paint as if I have so much to say and so little time to say it. When the sea is mellow and easy, I find myself content to sit and watch. The rhythm pulling me in, I study the back and forth, the push and pull, the way the light and color ebbs and flows with the cresting and then dissolving of the wave.

The ocean is the best of teachers, providing endless opportunities to study and learn but never master. It is different every day. Every hour. Every minute. And yet, there is this familiarity with it. A feeling deep in my soul that I know the ocean as well as I know myself.

I never tire of watching and painting it. In all of its forms and all of its moods.

We have had a lot of foggy mornings this winter. The horizon disappears and the only part of the water that is visible are the waves breaking just in front of me. The foam is usually thick on these days, having been whipped almost into a salty meringue by the winds. It feels soft and lush and glows with the light of the fog against the green of the water.

I wanted to include a couple of paintings of these waves in this show. Small intimate views of the shape of the wave but also just as much about the pattern and the feel of the thick, soft foam.

I wanted you to feel the foggy atmosphere and the waves lapping around your legs. I wanted you to feel like you could almost reach out and scoop up the foam in your hands and watch it dissolve into the bubbles that slip through your fingers. And the silence. I wanted these paintings to feel quiet. The surrounding air devoid of sound except for the movement of the water. As if the only things in the world that exist are you and the sea.

“fresh cream” 10″ x 20″ oil on linen panel
“just whipped” 10″ x 20″ oil on linen panel

These paintings are available through the Grand Bohemian Gallery and are part of my show opening on April 15: A CONVERSATION WITH THE SAVANNAH LANDSCAPE

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I am a landscape painter living and painting on the Georgia coast. Painting and writing is a way to reach out and share my observations, my experiences and my inspirations with you. It is how I tell my story and the story of the wild, beautiful landscape where I live.

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