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Seascape Paintings Ahoy

A seascape painting brings movement to a still patch of wall in your home, because the sea itself is never still. From the beginning of humans creating art, artists have emphasized capturing a movement in time in the preservation of a canvas. The ever-changing sea challenges all artists as they spend the day painting the sea. Even in the early morning’s calm, the sea is never truly still, as a riffle of wind picks up the surface of the water where a fish leaps for a bug or perhaps to escape a predator below. As the day wears on, the noontime’s heat bakes artist and picnicker as well, blaring the morning’s calm away to the flat torrid sun. Perhaps a mid-afternoon rain squall freshens the air as it turns the sky gray momentarily. Soon afterward, the brisk winds of approaching evening clear the sky once more. The artist rescues his canvas’ fresh paint from gritty blown sand and the painting day closes once more.

A substrata of the seascape painting genre is the moonlit sea, mysteriously gleaming under a half moon and full starlight with a party boat on the horizon, brightly lit with Japanese lanterns and a fireworks show for the midnight revelers. In this way, both Nature and Man are the subjects, each realm affected by and affecting the other: Man tames the night and the sea by artificial light and superb seamanship, and Nature is kind, for once, and forgoes sending a gale to disrupt such lightheartedness. The brightness of a full moon at the apex of the night may illuminate the dark secrets of a night spent at sea, dispelling the fear of the unknown that Man has inherited from his long-ago pioneering seafaring ancestors.

The abstract quality of a seascape will not be overlooked by the discerning art aficionado. Consisting of the curves of a breaking wave rather than the cubism inherent in a cityscape, an abstract seascape painting will delight anyone who takes the time to study the white foam arising from a wave’s spent fury or that same wave backlit by a noontime sun. Even a seagull may be thought of as triangles for wings and a trapezoid for a body, rendered in abstract brushwork to suggest the bird without detailing every pinfeather.

No description of a seascape would be complete without its defining and limited feature, the land. The sea pounds away year after year at the land, which yields a beach or undercut cliff or two upon a winter storm, yet pushes up new land from underneath with tectonic fury to replace the old. It is a relentless dance between the two elements, and the abstract painting blends dark brown tones or lighter, sand-colored hues with the many shades of the azure ocean to depict the epic struggle. If this sounds hectic and unrestful as a subject for a painting, you may remember that seascapes can be peaceful, too, and opt for a painting of a sunny day and calm waters, children shrieking as they race away from an encroaching wave, and a general beneficial mood. Whatever you desire for your seascape, you will have literally oceans of choices when you peruse the galleries of seascapes available to you. Part of the fun is in the shopping, so get busy!