Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, this hurricane was not. Sorolla was a painter emeritus of wondrous impressions of the Spanish kind - huge images of the lives of his people; as rich and luscious as he could and did make their presence in his selection of Mediterranean colours.
This Joaquin has been a belligerent character, a pushy, loud and arrogant thing shoving its way up the Atlantic towards Bermuda after harassing the Bahamas for 3 days and nights.
It was raining cats and dogs and every other animal on the island (or at least those animals without wings flying by felt the winds to be phenomenal). But how lucky can one be! I’m here in Bermuda, standing outside our living quarters, at my weighted down easel sketching away the movements and greying colours and soft edged shapes as the bushes and the trees, being swayed wildly about and torn up and ripped apart by Joaquin, dance a fire dance like rag dolls on a string.
We knew coming down to Bermuda at this time of year, there was at least one chance of encountering blustery weather. We had been around for a few wild episodes before.
To be arrogant, this hurricane named Joaquin is no match for the intrepid Sir Bernard the painter. To be humble (as I should be) this experience is nothing less than wondrous as 65+ mile per hour winds test the stability of my easel and increase towards their 100+ km hour wind goal. The palette has more water than oil paints on it as rain sheets itself down like sharp razors.
But “we” (the royal assignation) carry on!
Painting a hurricane is more about painting sound and movement and knife edged rain drops and deformed shapes once familiar. Hard edges don’t exist as the ever-changing wind gusts redefine what trees and bushes and skies usually look like. The idea is to keep the brush moving and sliding as the wind dares you to try another stroke. (I am LOVING this!)
After 3/4 of the way through my plein air sketch, I was about to be blown away despite being on the lee side of the conflagration of wind and rain. Nonetheless, few are ever privy to such painting exercises and so I carry on some more.
I paint in oils so the rain drops become a flood on my palette and smoke up my glasses. They definitely add much to the oil mixtures. Whether good or bad, is to be left to the imagination. I’ll add the last details of the painting inside as my wife and friends encourage me to drop the silliness and get back inside. Ooops! A major tree branch just flew by! I guess I’ll quit now!!
Just about time to go inside. . . The winds are reaching 55+ miles an hour and holding the easel and myself upright is becoming a bit tricky now. . . :)
I am a painter and writer who's whole life has been influenced by one precept : "thinking each our own thoughts makes us relevant and relevance makes us powerful."