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I seem to be one of those painters that doesn’t know when to stop. I’ve ruined a few pieces by faffing too much, but it’s a hard lesson to learn. Finishing touches can get out of hand and the character and life of a painting can be undermined by too much fiddling.

I’m in dangerous territory again with the faffing. I took a scan of the seagull painting yesterday without any background. If nothing else, I’m growing wise to my own propensity to over egg the pudding, so caution told me to scan it before starting the background.

Here it is without background:



And here he is with sky, sea and sand added:

seagull with background

seagull with background

I’ve been faffing with the sea and have made myself stop, as I realise that there’s a danger of doing more harm than good. I’m letting it dry for an hour or two and hopefully my desire to ‘oh I’ll just’ will have withered away. If I mess with it too much, I’ll lose the transparency of the watercolours, but it’s oh so hard to STOP.

Not too sure what I’ll be painting next. My plan is to do 4 coastal/seaside paintings, so there’s 2 more of those to do and I quite fancy a surfing painting.

Brian and I did a long coastal walk one day whilst we were in Cornwall and ended up at Poldhu Cove. We were way up high on the cliffs, looking down to the cove and we could see one lone man arrive on the beach. He was a surfer and was oblivious to our spying on him. Even from the distance we were from him, his passion for the sea was obvious. He waded into the sea with his surfboard and stopped to kiss his fingers before spreading his arms high and wide… he was blessing the ocean, over and over again, calling to Mother Nature to bring her gifts. His utter joy was tangible.

For a while there wasn’t much action as the waves were tiny, but as the minutes went by, he kept paddling out and waiting, and sure enough the gods were kind to him and the waves swelled. I’ve no idea where his energy came from, as time and again he paddled out, waited for the right wave and surfed to shore. He was in seventh heaven and was singing at the top of his voice by this point. It was a privilege to watch (and hear) such pleasure gained from something so simple… a surfboard and the sea. I’m sure he’d be embarrassed if he knew we’d watched him, but it made us both smile and his gay abandon uplifted our spirits.

I’d love to capture those emotions in a painting, but I think it was something you had to experience for yourself. Nevertheless, the stranger with the surfboard has given me inspiration to paint something to do with surfing in one form or another.