The Passing of Time

My watercolour adventures this year have seen me looking closely at the shells from Minster beach and how they are changed over time by the ebb and flow of the tides. “The passing of Time” started with a walk along the beach looking for shells that showed the ravages of time at all the different stages. I selected four examples and looking closely decided from which angles they would be painted to show the effects of the sea on them. I decided to place them on the page in a gentle wave pattern to reflect the motion of the sea and thus began the painting. Having drawn the shells, I then masked out their shapes to preserve the white of the paper. Next came the background. I wanted to express the passing of time and how it appears to pass at different rates depending on what is happening; a reflection of the state of the sea, calm sometimes and rampant at others. having drawn in vertical lines to represent this .The final stage was to create the shells. I removed the masking fluid and applied a layer of gesso tinted with watercolour. The final stage was to add 24ct gold metal point to draw in the details. I love using gold in it’s many forms within my paintings and to me it represents the rich world we have around us. Like the ticking of a metronome I then used alternating transparent blues and purple and opaque reds, orange and yellow to fill the spaces. The blues represented the sea to me and the reds the shore.

The whelk shells that I had selected were erroded in places but also had a surface which had been added to by barnacles and other sea life so I decided to build up the background to refect this layering. The transparent blue areas now had opaque reds, yellows and gold added and the opaque reds now had transparent blues layered on top. I did not want to totally obscure the under painting so I rolled a crumpled tissue over the wet paint thinking of how the shells had been rolled in the sea as the tides came and went. You can see the beginning of this layering in the next picture.

The final stage was to create the shells. I removed the masking fluid and applied a layer of gesso tinted with watercolour. The final stage was to add 24ct gold metal point to draw in the details. I love using gold in it’s many forms within my paintings and to me it represents the rich world we have around us. I am always inspired by it and hope you are too.

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