THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING
AT THE SEA WITH A CROW
These paintings come from an interest in the different ways we look at the sea. So as much as the work is about the aspects of the sea in different seasons, it is also about different ways of looking. What we call seascape usually presents some form of nostalgia or reverence. I try to avoid those scenes.
We shape the experience of the sea to fit our different moods—loneliness, sociability, anger, longing, sensuous pleasure, peace—and we use this shaping in our paintings, books, movies, even our ordinary daily lives.
It has probably always been this way. The Northern (Germanic and Nordic) Romantic landscape tradition, evident in the work of painters like Caspar Friedrich, emphasized the representation of extreme dark emotional states in the choice of certain kinds of seascapes and mountainscapes. I play with this tradition a little, and also reference a famous poem by the American poet Wallace Stevens “Thirteen Ways of looking at a Blackbird.” Neither reference is essential to appreciating the paintings, which have been composed using acrylics, inks, oils, oil stick, photo fragments, and pen, but I do fit a crow image into each painting.