North Sea Hydra
oil on canvas
152 x 92 x 4cm
Painted as part of my ongoing exploration of the sea, a subject I have been longing to paint for around a decade but not known how to tackle.
While swimming all year round in the North Sea I began taking photos with a waterproof camera a few years ago, after seeing an amazing photo taken by a sea swimming friend. The photos allowed me to see the sea from my own angle and a dislike of naff blue paintings of the sea as seen from the shore really fuelled the paintings. The North Sea is most definitely green, brownish green at that, which another aspect I wanted to embrace.
North Sea Hydra includes another aspect of the photos I have been taking – my legs floating on the waves. The photos of this began as an aside, something I’d do at the end of my swim is float, feeling the undulations of wave after wave and I’d always take just one photo of the experience. These self portraits have amused me and their distortion and complex colours begged for them to be painted. The highlights on the waves are a delicate violet in this painting, which reflects the tones in the sky. This colour is something I see a lot when up close to the waves.
When I swim it usually not long after dawn and so very often the skies are laden with low cloud, tinged pink or purple with a band of light softly glowing on the horizon underneath, with distant ships on the horizon.
I like to read ancient myths about the sea gods from Greece and Roman times and used Hydra in the title, merging myself with a fierce and formidable sea creature appeals!