At the northern end of White Beach, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, there is a camping ground with easy access to the water down a sandy path through bottlebrush and native geraniums. Throughout the summer months it is often full of campers going about their holiday activities in small, independent groups – friendly, but generally not exchanging more than a few words or a smile with their temporary neighbours.
The beach faces west towards Bruny Island, the tiny Brother and Sister Islands visible a little way offshore. As it nears sunset, small groups of people begin to trickle down towards the shore, braving the often chill wind in their jumpers and scarves to look out over the choppy water. This typically becomes an unofficial and unplanned ritual in appreciation of nature’s beauty, the light transitioning from blue, to soft pink, to yellow and orange as the sun sets.
However diverse the groups of campers may be, they are drawn together and united by their appreciation of the ever-changing light in the sky and its reflections in the water and wet sand.
This is one of the snapshots I took during the sunset. The final artwork is drawn from a whole series of snapshots taken as the light conditions changed as the sun set, however the colours in this particular image inspired the artwork as a whole. I love the deep and mid blues of the front cloud banks with the soft orange, yellow and purple shading in the distance.
As always, I start by drawing the areas that I want to remain white (and thus carve out first) in white oil pastel, straight onto the lino block.
A soft yellow, with gradients of intensity around the light source and in the water reflections, was used as the lightest colour.
Gradients of yellow to soft orange to pink were used to add to the complexity of the sunset colours.
For this artwork I used a second block for the initial yellow, pink and orange parts of the sky, after which only the main block was used for the rest of the process. This was because two of my lightest complementary colours (light blue and orange), were very close to each other in the sky, and I wanted to keep their tones clear and strong. This took a great deal of time and fiddling around, but I felt it was necessary as it was the purity and contrast of these two sky tones that inspired this artwork in the first place.
Slightly darker blue was added to the sky and water at this stage.
Next, slightly darker blue was added, forming purple where it overlapped the pink.
Some more slightly darker purple, beginning to define the distant land.
Next a series of small layers for the mid-distance.
At this stage darker mid distance purple, and the darkest water tones were added, with all the earlier colours showing in the wave reflections.
This shows the final artwork. I was able to add several colours at a time to different areas at each of the last two stages – first green, deep purple and clothing blue, then black and clothing purple. The shadows were added last using a diluted purple and fresh pieces of lino glued back onto the block. This was rather difficult but was the price of my having accidently carved away the shadow areas at an earlier stage!