Set Fire to the Rain. Painted January 2022. 30” x 24”. Acrylic on Canvas.
Almost three years ago, I did a painting of a family in New Zealand playing in the water at Muriwai beach (famous for it’s black sand and large colony of gannets). Although I liked that painting, it wasn’t quite where I wanted to go. I knew I’d revisit this subject again someday and try to resolve some of the deficiencies of the previous painting. My first painting was done in a very monochromatic palette, using an impressionistic style. It also took a lot longer and involved many layers. I should probably call those paintings my “fussy” period.
Sometimes I start out a painting without really having any idea where it is going. This one was a departure from any of painting I’ve done to date. I used a larger canvas (24 inches wide and 30 inches tall), a bigger brush and broader strokes. Without a lot of planning, the painting became much more expressionistic. The clouds took on a life of their own and the family less of a focus of the painting. Although it was a grey day, I wanted the painting to represent a sense of exhilaration that I felt as the sun fought its way through the clouds. The air was heavy with potential and the family playing in the surf, oblivious to the departing storm, added to that sense of freedom. There was a lot of contrast between the waves in the surf and the inky black sand on the beach, which somehow translated into a very colourful and expressive painting.
To be honest, I’m probably still not satisfied with the figures, but the painting definitely is bringing me that same sense of joy we had exploring New Zealand. I’m sure that this will not be my last painting based on those beautiful islands.