Bass Rock

I will forever think of this painting as my ‘lockdown painting’. I started it at the beginning of lockdown (late March/early April), when everyone was at their most fearful, not knowing what this new illness was… locked away in our own homes and spaces. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed painting it, it took my thoughts away from the initial panic and loneliness of lockdown. This is a ‘keep-sake’ painting.

The canvas is the largest I’ve worked on, 40 x 30 ins. I had bought it a few years back from a charity shop, someone had added a gritty paste and painted blue strips across it, and then abandoned the whole idea. I had bought it cheaply and laid it away for a rainy day.

Paints don’t come cheap, and I had been hesitant about just how much paint I would require, this along with time restraints means the canvas had been stored away for a long time, but finally the time was right.

I hadn’t used oil paints for such a long time, the last few years I’ve had a preference for acrylics, so on discovering my oil paints were beginning to harden (amazing just how long they stay malleable for), I had no financial concerns for slapping the paint on as thickly as I wanted, and use the paints up before they became past it.

It was a rare treat to be able to squeeze the paints directly onto the canvas, and use a variety of palette knives, experimenting with different sizes, although I like to eventually do the finishing touches with brushes. Certainly, its wetted my appetite again for working with oils.

My intention was to try to express the openness of the sea, the various lights playing across the water, the seagulls enjoying the wind currents (they really are magnificent birds in flight), I wanted colour, expansion, and perhaps, a sense of freedom when standing facing the sea… especially as I was feeling so locked in!

For those who don’t know, the Bass Rock is a bird sanctuary in the North Sea, Scotland. The whiteness is caused by the thousands of Gannets nesting and living on the rock, home to over 150,000 gannets at the peak of the season.

Update: – My local art group, The East Neuk Art Club, (Fife) decided to hold a competition during lockdown, so I decided to submit this one, and happily I won. Chuffed to bits, I now have a free place in a future art workshop to look forward to.

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