20 March 2020

The anguish and delight of the Lighthouse keeper



Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 19 March, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

This is from last night. The Autumnal skies are beginning to return and blossom in that  extraordinary Australian way. And, as the raging pandemic roars through Italy where people are in confinement, here, all is peachy, for the time being.

It was one of those skies, unblemished by neither a hint nor hair of cloud! It has been a long while since I have seen the horizon so polished at dusk; its strong line seemed to cut the whole world in two. I finished up in the dark and only wishing I could have continued but for the difficulty of seeing the colours on the palette. At dusk, the colours appear to intensify, even as the light dims gently into night. The sea, already a deep, inky violet bleeds into the sky. By then, stars are visible, and I have difficulty finding my way on the small path back to my car not 50 meters away. As I am usually the last soul here at this marvellous hour, I often imagine myself to be the guy who turns out the lights when I leave. I am for a small glorious moment a kind of lighthouse keeper for this immense beach.

This painting came quickly when the sky had reached its poetic apogee. I never seem to paint it as I imagine I can but a solution is always found which almost always pleases and surprises me all at once. This  narcissism of Nature is both a painter's deep anguish and deep delight.



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