Why I Love Ocean Art

The ocean has always been my biggest source of inspiration. Growing up in landlocked Europe, I knew pretty much since I was born that I wanted to live close to the beach one day. Its energy continues to draw me in, its irresistable pull like a dull ache when I am away from it. The ocean gives me peace like nothing else can.

I’ve spent countless hours reading, talking and reasearching, trying to understand the effect that access to water has on people in general and on me in particular. One theory I was offered explained that I longed back for the womb of my biological mother who gave me up at birth. Another theory goes even further back, to the beginnings of life, when our early ancestors crawled from the water onto land.

Very possibly, though, it is particularly the way I am wired as a highly sensitive person and introverted thinker. In the same way I am easily overwhelmed by loud noises, lights, stress, people and other irritants, I find solace in nature and being alone, subjected only to wind and waves.

Navigating the modern world through art

Words don’t come readily to me. I can assume the role of an extrovert if I must (or at least someone who functions in society). In fact, I have to step into that role every day for work, in my relationship, as a mother – and in almost every other setting of everyday life in a world that prefers extraversion over quiet, loud and bubbly over stillness.

I found out early that to bypass a quiet voice, the best way to express my thoughts and emotions is when I’m holding a paint brush. When I start a painting I often don’t know what the end result will be. I let my hand be the guide, the flow of enery and the call of the ocean be my inspiration, until all I need to say is on paper. Somethimes the end result is a quiet black-and-white drawing, sometimes it is an explosion of colour with strong lines and thick layers of paint. The one thing all of my art has in common, however, is the ocean at its core. I draw waves as much as I’m drawn to them.

My love for the ocean was a great source of pain for me growing up. Having to leave it at the end of each summer felt a bit like leaving a piece of myelf behind and regularly resulted in tears, melancholy and depressed moods, amplified by the fact that I had to endure a long, dark German winter after every farewell. These moods, together with a number of other factors, spun into a full-blown depression and anxiety disorder, of which I only managed to climb out when I permanently moved back to Australia and returned to my core.

The ocean and all my past experiences flow into my art these days. I now live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, within walking distance from the beach. I’m still in awe of the fact that I get to spend time next to or in the water every day, scuba diving, walking, swimming – but mostly, surfing. What’s best, I’ve found old and battered surfboards to be excellent canvasses for beautiful art, and a good way to prevent them from going to landfill but giving them a second lease on life instead. This is what I do now – finally myself, finally at peace. This is my story, and my art. I hope you enjoy it!