The Waves Series

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This collection of paintings, done over a three-year period, features waves from the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.

It’s useless telling the ocean to hold still, so the works are all based on photos. From the photos I select areas that work and these form the basis of the painting. The calligraphy presented by nature is so beautiful and varied and true it provides a very strong base on which to build. As I work on a painting, my brushstrokes define the lines more and more; the mood of the piece is determined by the choices made along the way and the mind-set of the painter.

These pieces are all background. There are no figures to draw the viewer’s attention. This way the viewer is part of the scene. While the canvases feature perspective, and I suppose the waves themselves are focal points, the image inhabits the entire picture frame in the manner of an abstract painting. I hope that the minutia of brush stroke and colour relations are as intriguing as the overall realist image.

It is also my hope that these pieces are seen as meditations and will evoke in the viewer a range of emotion. Each has its own subtle mood message. For me, some are joyful, some are peaceful, some are angry, some are sorrowful. The pieces done after a recent medical adventure took on a dark mood. After this crisis passed, there were strong waves and then some stormy ones, which resolved into some very tranquil waves. Each of the pieces spoke to me at a certain time. The Cape Breton waves, for instance. I looked at the sources for a long time before I was emotionally ready to paint waves of such deep power.

It is interesting to me to contrast these paintings with my previous series of roadways, with their classic “V” shape to infinity. In these paintings, the perspective is so much more subtle and the main composition tends to be horizontal bands. They really are minimalist paintings, at the same time as their details are busy busy.

I think I’ve painted enough waves. Now it’s time to step back and look at them.

Eric Rosser

March 2012

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