Lake Huron Sunset

Over the last forty years I have had the opportunity to paint by the sea in many locations. It is perhaps rather puzzling to think about why I, who come from landlocked Waterloo Region, would be so drawn to the many colours of the ocean.

My first view of the dark blue/green Atlantic was from the deck of the 10,000 ton Franconia on our first foray to Europe. I was told by the crew that they considered the ocean to be calm, but, to me, as my complexion grew closer to the colour of the waves, the ocean looked ominous. It was on that journey that I also had the chance to view the Mediterranean and try my luck painting it near Malaga, Spain. The strong clear light which produces a brilliant turquoise sea contrasts with the mauves, yellows and pinks of my next sea painting attempt in Portugal with soft sunset colours. These southern views were kind and warm.

Painting the Irish Sea from Scotland, or the North Sea from the deck of a ship, dramatically shows the cool and angry aspects of northern water. Along the coast of Newfoundland, the colours of waters from the North Atlantic are somewhat tempered. The strong, often warm, brown rocks of the shore provide a striking foil to the blue-green of the sea. In maritime regions, fog often settles over the view of the water, gauzing the colours to mysterious hues and stealing impact from the scene.

I’ve stood in sand dunes near Florida and enjoyed the soft breeze and warm sun as I tried to sum up the sensuous sand and the advancing aqua-tinted sea. Much different I can assure than dealing with places farther north, not just in the Canadian east coast but also on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Tofino and Long Beach provide a frame of pitted brown/green rocks for the blue/gray colour of the foaming sea.

Although I have enjoyed the famed fluorescent sunset in Key West, Florida, for many years, I really don’t think that southern view across calm waters can out-dazzle an orange and purple sunset on Lake Huron, just one of our inland seas.