October 2014

- Little Beach by Night -

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The special atmosphere of all-encompassing isolation and dark nature can only be captured at night. For a long time, I’d planned to paint a picture of the beach at night – and on the last day of my autumn trip to Portugal, it all came together: It was mild for the beginning of October, even late in the evening. And the full moon would not just cast a spell over the beach, but would – together with my torch – give me light by which to paint. I was already a bit uneasy when I arrived at the beach shortly before midnight. I’d never been here alone  at night. The silence of the night lay over the noisy surf like a blanket, the cliffs threw out jet-black shadows and everything familiar appeared strange. I slowly descended the long staircase, sat on one of the bottom steps, got my painting things out of the rucksack and spread them around me. I only had five colours and two brushes with me, but a large sketch pad. This picture was something special and an experiment: it would work or it wouldn’t, that wasn’t really under my control.

I needed my torch to paint, but I kept turning it off to discern my surroundings. It was cool, the colours hardly dried and I could blur the cliffs into the sky, the sea into the beach and whether I always chose the right colour or not wasn’t clear in this light.

When three figures suddenly emerged from the darkness of the right cliff and walked towards the middle of the beach, I caught my breath for a long moment: there were three men wearing hoodies who had probably come from the Grand Beach. My first thought was to quickly pack everything up and get away, “But then nothing will ever become of this painting” was my second. So I overcame my panic, breathed deeply – and simply carried on painting. It wasn't long before the three figures had crossed the beach and were climbing the stairs. When they passed me, I couldn’t perceive their faces. The first figure was silent, the second said “Hello” and the third revealed a red child’s shoe that he held in his hand. I didn’t say anything, fear was breathing down my neck. Only when the men’s steps up the wooden staircase slowly faded away could my positive feeling grow again. The nocturnal beach lay quiet and peaceful before me – exactly how I soon felt inwardly too.

 

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