A few weeks ago I was painting at Charleston on the West Coast of New Zealand. This is wild country - the track winds along the cliff tops, with beautiful views out across the Tasman Sea. The sea here is often rough, with big breakers crashing against the rocks framing the tiny entrance to the bay where sailing ships used to shelter. This was not a harbour for the faint hearted and there were many shipwrecks up and down this coastline. The day I was painting, however, the sea was like glass. I sketched away but wasn't happy with what I'd drawn - it all looked too tame, with no hint of the kind of place this really is. When I looked again, I realised that I'd been ignoring the huge flax bushes which cling to the clifftops- I'd been looking through them to the view beyond. These hardy souls are determined to survive in a really inhospitable spot , and maybe this was what I needed to add. So I took lots of photos , did a few more sketches and came home and painted this. Adding a foreground can anchor a painting- it adds perspective and can make you feel like you really are there. What do you reckon? Comments welcome!
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