Art In History Art Blog
The colors of water are endlessly fascinating, and a source of everchanging interest in landscape. If the sky (according to Constable) is the "chief organ of sentiment in nature", then the water is its mirror, reflecting its many moods and colors, and mixing them with colors of its own.
I have just returned from a week in the Carribean, on St. John, and the colors of the tropical ocean were one of the singular glories of the visit. It was a week of broken clouds, driven by high winds, creating an endless succession of light and color conditions, duly reflected in the colors of the water. In addition, there were the unique tones of the tropical ocean: turquoise where the bottom was sandy, lavender when the bottom was reef, and a deeper blue over deep water.
Capturing the turquoise tones was a challenge. I settled on a mixture of Cerulean blue, Thalo yellow-green and white, greener in shallower water, bluer as the depth increased. I could then bring down the shifting colors and lights of the sky to create a complex pattern of native color and reflection. The shapes of the headlands and swathes of sand became a foil for the more vibrant and dynamic sea and sky.
I was stuck by the similarity of the turquoise in the tropical ocean to the color of glacial lakes as I experienced them in the Canadian Rockies a few years ago. The glacial water, with its suspension of fine particles was a similar color, but milkier and even a little greener. The color of these lakes was not unchanging, but was more constant the the colors of the Carribean; they had more a color of their own to show. They seemed more "unnatural" as well, something outside of normal experience. Great color!