My mind turned to gannets. I’m missing the seaside and the sound of gulls and I wanted to capture the spirit of these daring divers in a painting. I hope you can hear the clack of their beaks, smell the salt in the air, listen out for their call and catch a whif of seaweed.
As Spike Milligan said:
I must go down to the sea again,
to the lonely sea and the sky;
I left my shoes and socks there –
I wonder if they’re dry?
Gannets are the UK’s largest seabird. They live in huge colonies – cities of bird. Did you know that when they dive for fish, they hit the water at 60mph?
To stop them damaging themselves, they have specially developed neck muscles and a spongy bone plate at the base of their bill which reduces the impact.
They may also mate for life and greet each other by knocking bills.
But how could I capture all this? I decided to go for the repeating patterns, where each bird looks identical at a glance yet is slightly different upon inspection. I used a fascinating technique called gouache resist, which gives this beautiful effect of a wood block print. If you want to know more about the technique, please take a look at my blog: https://lizchaderton.co.uk/lizintheshed/
So, I hope that as you look at this painting you will feel a gentle sea breeze and hear the gannets call. Sorry if you have to wash the sand off your feet….
It is 50x50cm watercolour, gouache and ink on paper. I have mounted it only a birch fine art cradele board and then gently waxed it to protect it and give it a beautiful depth. I don’t think gannets could live behind glass. It comes in a black floating frame and is ready to hang.