1953 – 1959
Rocks, Sea and Sky 1956-57 14 x 17 7/8 (35.5 x 45.4)
It is an absolute fact that not until we were in this house was I able to come to terms with the terrible reality of my father’s death. And one afternoon I began to tell Kate about it, for the first time. Here was the fi rst real peace we had known. And if one can give a reason for the seascapes then it is probably because of this.
I cannot tell you what paradise it is for us to be here, in this quiet place with a roof over our heads, knowing that we are not going to be chucked out. I look at the sky and the vast clouds became a seascape. I put my colours out and the moment I have annihilated this frightening white of the canvas, I’m lost in it again. I struggle through the surf and I’m battered against the rocks. And there it is.
Sentinel Rocks 16 x 19¾ (40.7 x 50.2)
I do think that if later on my pictures began to have more movement, it was through watching dancers. The more I was able to go to the ballet, the more moved I was by it. And the more I came to realise that the clouds, the sea, poetry and the movement of the dancers were all the same thing.
I first saw the sea as a child in Scheveningen. And in Amsterdam the feel of it
was always there. Much later I saw and heard the raging and ravening beasts and
dragons that guarded the coast of beloved England with hearts and bones of flint
instead of dykes of earth and wood.
The sea has always fascinated and terrified me. If there is anything in the seascapes, then it is because of an attempt to overcome an overwhelming sense of despair. I see the hardship and suffering of human beings in the eternal wrestle of sea, rocks, and land. And I paint the sea again and again eating the world away.
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