Finding inspiration in paint for the New England seascape
Over the summer I spent some time at a local library researching old seascape paintings, I find opening up to a variety of inspiration instills another level of creativity rather than bouncing from photographer to photographer for inspiration.
I walked into the library and inquired about older books that may contain information on painters who may have collections of work based on the sea or nautical themes. I bet that is not a request they get every day, either way I was directed in the right direction and based on the musty smell, dusty jackets and the strength it took to pull the books from the crammed shelf it confirmed my thoughts this is a rare topic here.
Quickly skimming through the pile of books while I was crouched on one knee I settled on a few that kept me busy over the summer months. The books for me were more about exploring the world of art and trying to get some background information on why painters chose certain subject matter.
One thing I noticed is that many of the paintings had the same composition qualities I look for in my own photography prints. Something of an anchor or subject in the foreground, although much of my work is more of the longer exposure nature, I found the paintings of the most interest to me had intense skies and angry looking seas.
I explored the work of Winslow Homer, I found it interesting that the painting “The Gulf Stream” was based on two winter trips to the Bahamas. This particular painting exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and then the painting was reworked by Winslow making the painting more dramatic. In the early 1900’s the painting was put up for sale from $4,000 and no offers were made, Winslow reworked the painting adding a ship on the horizon that offers home and rescue from an angry sea.
Winslow Homer painted the juxtaposition of the roaring sea, sharks and hopelessness of the manned rudderless boat with the contrast of rescue on the horizon.
Although with my New England photography I could capture the roaring sea, sharks were out of the question and it was highly unlikely I would be tracking down any manned rudderless boats or skiffs at the same time a tall ship would be crossing the horizon.
For me to I pictured the juxtaposition of an angry sea and sky with a glimmer of sun to add my contrasting scene.
This took some patience but the inspiration paid off with my Seascape Print “Slice of Heaven”