the old couple

I’m thinking about the sound the sea makes as it laps over the pebbly beaches of the west coast; it sounds a bit like laughter and a bit like clapping to me. Like the water is tickling the pebbles as it washes over them, or has told them a good joke in passing. I’m also thinking about the sounds the ravens make in the deep forests that line these beaches. Their vocabulary is quite expansive and interesting. The chortling noises they make are what really gets me. Those more gentle sounds that seem like they are trying to get some word rolled around their tongue and can’t quite manage, so it comes out more music than word. I’m also thinking about how calm the sea can be in the inlets and straits, and how readily it mirrors the mood of the sky above it. That’s a couple that has been married a long time, the sea and the sky. They know things about each other that no one else does. There is a pleasant smugness a couple can exude with knowledge like that. There is also a melancholy, deep and abiding that can come with that long relationship. One part can get stormy and soon the other part will get caught up in it, but when one begins to calm, the calmness begins seeping into the other.

Then there are the bones between the two. The piles of old trees and bits of structure smoothed by the physical emotions between the two and bleached by them until they are a lovely silvery-lavender color. I like wandering beaches like these. I like seeing evidence of the stormier moods of the sea and sky creating a wall of driftwood like they are trying to keep the trees from creeping into the water. I also enjoy seeing evidence of human involvement; tidy little fire pits and lean-tos built to protect visitors from the rapidly changing moods of the sea and sky. When my friend Robin and I visited Bere Point last fall, we caught the old couple on a good day.

bere point, sointula bc II,  mixed media on canvas, 20” x 20”, $800 + GST,  2019

bere point, sointula bc II, mixed media on canvas, 20” x 20”, $800 + GST, 2019

Sometimes I find it difficult to draw and paint in places like these. I’d rather look, explore, take photos and soak it in. On occasion when I have been by the sea, I simply could not sketch because the couple were fighting or just being raucous. Too much wind and wet is not conducive for sketching outside.

Today is the BD and my 7th wedding anniversary. This painting reminds me of candid photos taken of us. A little bit of calm, a lot of color and some remnants of attitude.