wave in the west : rhyferthwy'r don

'ton' is a wave, rhyferthwy is the roar of a ferocious storm - title by Gerald Morgan
As a child growing up in the English West Midlands the sea was in the West, behind the Welsh mountains; a long way away and a place of anticipation, holiday and memory. Arriving at the coast after the jouney through the hills was both an end and a begining. I still feel this.
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For this painting I was based in a caravan near Tanybwlch beach, a steep stony beach at the mouth of the rivers Rheidol and Ystwyth.

On the beach at high tide the tail of a South Westerly storm lifted waves above eye level.
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studies

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Two oil studies : top panel has colours of the wave seen against the sky, lower has colours seen against the beach. The studio painting will combine both sets of colours.

The decision to split the scene like this was made on the spot, when I saw how much brighter the beach foam was than anything else. It was almost self-luminous and certainly in different key from the sky. So the force of the wave and wind was joined by the force of light.

studio

oil on canvas, 1620mm x 710mm

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Reflective yellow base layer for over-glazes, to create light inside the wave - a technique used in16th century Venice, where the descriptive and rhetorical power of oil painting really took off.

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Mid tones in two keys, one related to the sky the other to the brighter beach foam. Each area uses a different study. The use of multiple local keys is not new: Titian uses them for different objects, and I think Cézanne often used them for different areas. 
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A shaft of light hits the wave, bringing out the depths of the glaze. The juxtaposition of transparent glaze with opaque paint is a core method of Western painting, often not taught today. Cotton grids help to get grip on the drawing at critical points.
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Inner colours of wave established & surface veins. First layers of breaking foam, spindrift and swash.

meanwhile

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June 2012: The Rheidol flooded the caravan park.
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New Year 2014: A mile North of Tanybwlch beach the sea ripped up Aberystwyth promenade and threw a new beach up to the front doors.

Paintings and prints available. For information, images and all other enquiries please contact

Email: st@stephentaylorpaintings.com

Phone: +44 (0)1353 667014

Letter: Coach House, 7 Douglas Court, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4SE, UK

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