Thursday, February 20, 2014

The colour of water

My job is seeing the different colours in the sea and water on the coast. It's probably safe to say most of us know water is different colours in different places, but our minds probably go to the extremes - thinking of England's grey-blue waters compared to the brilliant blues of Mediterranean Greek waters.

But even on our own coast the colours shift and could create a rainbow of blues, greens and violets.

A colour tour around the English waters...

Bournemouth Zig Zag, Acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
Starting with white - when the sea fog rolls in and all that can be seen beyond the landscape is white, white and more white!

New Salt, Acrylic on canvas 80x70cm
On some days the English weather leaves the water almost colourless but with hints of very pale blues and violets tinting the grey water. Yorkshire loves putting on this palette!

Brightlingsea, Acrylic on canvas 70x60cm
We see clear greens, in low waters where the algae or river plants create brilliant greens in bright spring or summer light. The low tide at Brightlingsea on the Colne River was a perfect green.

Broadstairs Dawn, Acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
The green fades and gets a hint of blue when the winter low sun is trying to give us a clear day but the skies just can't sweep away the thin sweeps of cloud that grey the surface of the water.

Light on Cooden Beach, Acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
On the south-eastern coast especially, on calm days the water can be a brilliant solid turquoise. To me this will always be the colour of Brighton.

Moonlight on Rougher Seas, Acrylic on canvas 100x100cm
As night falls, even waters lose their blue or green. In Dungeness strange silvery surface appears on the water, with glittering reflections of a clear cobalt blue evening sky.

Blackgang, Above, Acrylic on canvas 120x150cm
Another typical English day... the weather being slightly overcast to cast the turquoise water with a sheen of grey. But at least we're starting to see hints of blue!

Stair Hole, Acrylic on canvas 100x120cm
With a calm clear day, more of the sky can reflect on the water to give a lovely blue.

Coldharbour, Acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
On the best of day, the smooth water surface is a perfect sky blue of cobalt, like the Thames estuary on a brisk spring day.

Skipsea, Acrylic on canvas 100x100cm
But never doubt the clouds rolling back in... again Yorkshire delivers the dramatic greys. This time with low winter sun giving a slight purple tinge to the clouds.

Whitstable Sunbathing, Acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
But don't let that spring day on the Thames fool you, the estuary has it's fair share of grey and murky since the waters are tidal and continually swiling water and mud. On the beach in Whitstable the late evening brings some violet but the water still stays slightly grey.

Alum Strata, Acrylic on canvas 70x60cm
Evening in Whitby, on the other hand, gives us a western view of sunset. The falling light turns the sea horizon dark but with a beautiful violet.

St Just Sunset, Acrylic on canvas 50x50cm
On the east coast though, in Cornwall, the sunset reflects straight onto the water. So the purple is strong and clear on the horizon.

See the coast paintings
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