Following last weekend’s seascape workshop, I had a taste for painting the sea, something I haven’t done for a while.

Yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed to The Gap in Albany’s Torndirrup National Park. This is a wild area where huge swells can appear without notice, even on the calmest of days. Yesterday was no such day.

As I drove down the road to the car park, I saw white water spouting up well above the rocks that top the gap. I’d never seen the water spray this high here before. I could also see towers of white water out to sea.

It was rough!

I wandered over the rocks from The Gap to The Natural Bridge and down toward the bay that lies to the west. The sea was white with foam, the air was wet with salt spray and the wind was whipping straight up the sloping rocks where I was standing taking photos. There was so much going on, and the waves were so much bigger than I’ve seen them here before, I didn’t know what to take photos of… so I took photos of everything… lots of them.

I was wearing my sunglasses, not because it was bright – it was actually overcast – but to keep the salt out of my eyes. The scene was exciting but very grey, until I lifted my “sunnies”. With bare eyes, there was a warm glow about everything except the deep water. The cloud cover was thin so the sun was having some effect.

Today I rummaged through the pics and borrowed bits from this one and that one to try and assemble a scene that conveys the feeling I experienced. From this, I did a digital painting in Photoshop…

(Before the storm. 2000x1057px digital. © Andy Dolphin)

I titled it “Before the storm” because there was a severe weather warning for later in the evening.

The painting is heavily influenced by the late E. John Robinson’s famous seascapes. It’s a style I’ve admired for years and I have his book “Paint the sea in oils using special effects” and two of his videos on the subject. His approach is sensible and straightforward. It makes a difficult subject much easier than it could otherwise be.

I hope to repaint this one in oils this weekend. I’ll let you know how I go.