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INTERTIDAL 2 - 42" x 42"/107cm x 107cm - OOC FINISHED

edited July 4 in Post Your Paintings

I’m not sure what folks will make of this one. it’s among the biggest I’ve attempted. It’s the same size as INTERTIDAL 1 which I posted about six months ago. ( ) Up close it’s just swirls and squiggles and blobs of paint. A photo doesn’t really do this painting justice and I’m guessing that it can only be really understood when seen in the flesh on a wall in good light while standing back a couple of meters but, hopefully, the small photo above will give some idea, even if you can’t see much of the brushwork and texture.


This is obviously not your traditional landscape - no horizon, blue hills or sky.  I don’t know whether what I have attempted here would be best described as realist abstraction or abstract realism. To anyone who has never gazed into a wave-washed rock pool I imagine it would look like almost pure abstraction. That’s ok. I don’t mind if viewers have to scratch their heads a while as they try to figure out what it is.  But I’m hoping anyone who has ever gazed into such a pool will figure it out pretty quickly.


I wanted to put across the feeling I get when I’m at the seaside, staring into such a pool as the waves wash in and out. For me it’s a meditative experience. Beneath the surface the light and the different colours of the rocks, barnacles and algae are refracted and broken like when you look into a kaleidoscope while, on the surface, it’s all froth and bubble as streaks of foam are stirred around and, here and there, you catch flickers of reflected blue from the sky above. When I’m by the sea looking into rockpools it’s like meditation for me – I lose my self. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded but I wanted viewers to also lose themselves, however briefly, in this painting. That’s why it had to be big.


I found this one a herculean effort because of the sheer size and the amount of detail. It took 140 hours over 18 days. Don’t attempt this until you retire. :)    I’m looking at something smaller for the next one. :)


Anyway, there are some details to adjust such as highlights on the foam that I can only do when it dries but this is basically it. If you are not the rockpool-gazing type I will quite understand if this picture does not resonate with you.  Good or bad, don’t hold back because  I’d be very interested to read what people here think of it. 


Thanks for looking and commenting.  :)



(EDIT: I've replaced the photo with one taken in daylight which is not over-exposed and blown out at the top and is more accurate overall in terms of the colour,)


  • edited July 3
    Forgot to mention that this photo of the painting was taken at night and the colour is slightly off and the top is slightly over-exposed because of strong light in my low ceiling.

     (Edit: I have replaced that photo.)
  • This works either as an abstract or as realism.  However you want to view it. Fantastic!
  • When I zoomed in I really appreciated the swirls and colors.  Painting it large is going to immerse the viewer standing four feet in front of the piece.   It’s definitely a meditative painting.  
  • Rob

    Works for me. Instant recognition of a frothy pool.
    Close up it is very abstract. Nothing more abstract than a realist painting.
    Textures and colour values are beautifully handled.
    Hope there will be some sky blue reflections Coming along?

  • Thanks very much, @GTO:)
  • Thanks, @Dencal. There a a few more flecks of sky blue to go in once it's dry. 

    My next painting will have a big sky.

    Thanks for commenting.  :)
  • it's mesmerising :)different from your others but definitely your style  beautifully done :)
  • This is amazing @tassieguy, one of my favourites, if not The favourite, that I have seen of yours.

    The colours and how you have handled the water, just wonderful. 

  • This is great!  I agree with oilpainter1950, it could be abstract realism.  I keep waiting for the water to move.  
  • edited July 3
    Thanks, @A_Time_To_Paint. Glad it has a feeling of movement.  :)
  • edited July 3
    Beautiful and refreshing! Definetly darn good realism evolving from abstractions. I like the softeness in the light in this new photo and I like it that it is so colorful.
  • edited July 3
    Cheers, @Forgiveness. Yes, I think the daylight photo catches the actual colours better . 
    Thanks very much for commenting.  :)
  • I just love the texture in it too!
  • Second photo much better.  An extraordinary effort!  Really like it.  Struck me as quite abstract at first, then realist, and then back again.  Wish I could see the actual painting because it must be great.
  • Amazing piece , Rob. Works on both abstract and realism fronts. 
    Again , you’ve taken a seemingly ordinary scene and transported us into another world , another way of seeing nature. I doubt I’ll ever see another rock pool again without thinking of your painting. 
    I’d love to see it in reality because I doubt the photo comes close to helping us to appreciate its true beauty. 
    This is one you can be especially proud of, Rob. Not only because of the immense effort that went into producing it but also for having the sensitivity to be able to convey your feelings on to the canvas.  
    It IS mesmeric. It compels the viewer to stand beside it and gaze at the abstract , lacy patterns of the swirling water and hear those beautiful gurgling , babbling sounds. 
    It reminded me of that beautiful poem by the English poet , Edwards Shanks. 
    He wrote the words. You painted the picture. 

  • Thanks, @Gary_Heath. I'm glad folks think it works ok.  :)
  • Thanks so much, @Hilary for your kind comments.

    What a beautiful poem! It captures what I was trying to put across visually. I'm so glad you think the painting works. 

    Thanks heaps, @Hilary. :)
  • Wow really tremendous effort must have gone into this one! Looks great on screen but must be amazing in person. Congrats!
  • You know your art is good when people respond with poetry.
  • With this kind of work, and the meditative quality and abstract nature I'm getting a kind of Monet 'Water Lillies' feel. It clearly means a lot to you when you are painting a feeling or experience you have, so I feel you are expanding your type of work here, which is always a good thing.

    140 hours.. you have the patience of a saint. How do you do it??!

  • Thanks, @BOB73 and at @Richard_P.  It's different from my others so I'm glad folks think it works.  :)
  • edited July 4
    Hey, @dencal, when are you guys  in Western Australia going to open your borders? I need a holiday somewhere warm after this one and I'm itching to get back up to Coral Bay  We have no COVID19 in Tassie now so we're no threat to WA.  :)
  • Love the 'idea' of this work and the execution is something else. The movement is wonderful. Many congrats. 
  • edited July 7
    Thanks very much, @Coach_T01:)

    I've now started the second in what will be a series of three the same size using this type of subject.  :)
  • Rob

    Coral Bay is in the high 20’s every day next week (87f). 

    Depending on infection rates locally, Phase 5 is planned to be introduced on Saturday, 18 July (effective from 11.59pm Friday, 17 July) and will result in the removal of the 2 square metre rule.

    It is also expected to see the removal of all gathering restrictions, other COVID-related rules introduced by the WA Government, and the 50 per cent capacity limit for major venues.

    Phase 6 was going to include the removal of WA’s hard border with the rest of the country and travel restrictions currently in place for remote Aboriginal communities.

    A tentative date for the removal of WA’s hard border was planned to be included as part of Phase 6, however, this was put on hold due to the rapidly evolving situation in Victoria.

  • edited July 7
    Damn! Looks like I'm trapped down here for the whole winter. Every day I get on the BOM and look longingly at the weather up there.  :/
    I don't understand why WA and QLD can't allow Tasmanians in. It's been 2 months since we had a new case here and  we have no active cases which probably indicates it's been wiped out in Tassie. No virus, so why the restrictions on Tasmanians going to virus free places like NW WA? I guess it would be too difficult to police. Oh, well, I'll just have to dial up the heat and spend what I would have spent in WA on a massive power bill here in Tas.  :/

    Shouldn't whinge. So many people have lost their livelihoods and their lives to this damned plague. 

  • Here in the US some states don’t care and just go to phase 5 even with 10,000 cases a day.  Some of us are stuck on a ship of fools with no rudder.  😢
  • @GTO, yes,  I don't understand why/how it's been allowed to get so bad in the US. You must be testing too much. 
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited July 7
    Most covid patients are on or eligible for medicare. But if a medicare patient gets treated for flu Medicare pays $ to hospital for treatment. if the same patient is claimed as a Covid patient the hospital gets paid $$ half again as much than if it stays a flu case. Sorry for hi-jacking the thread but somebody asked.

  • edited July 8
    Simple solution: don't test for flu or COVID then there'll be no cases and medicare will save heaps and everything will get back to normal. 
  • I've been saying that for months.
  • What next Rob? These beach pools and interesting patterns created by driftwood? :)
  • edited July 9
    Yes. @Richard_P.,  I'm doing another two like the above then it's back to the coast for more material for paintings of rocks, sand and driftwood.  :)
  • BOB73 said:
    I've been saying that for months.
    Yeah, I think they should stop testing for everything. That would get rid of COVID, cancer , diabetes, all the other infectious diseases, and that would reduce the health care budget to zero and everything would  be honky dory.  :)
  • I don’t know about you guys but personally it’s painting that’s keeping me halfway sane.
    If it weren’t for being able to switch off for hours at a time in my little studio with my music and my dog for company, I’d probably end up in a nuthouse! The cups of tea delivered to me by my husband are also a huge help. 
    The first two weeks , when the whole thing kicked off , I glued myself to the TV but soon realised I couldn’t take it any more. My brain felt it would explode. 
    The amount  of conflicting advice and confusion that is abounding is enough to melt the brain. 
    The truth is nobody has a clue what’s happening with this virus , where it came from , how it spreads,  or how to get rid of it. 
    We’re just stuck with it , for now anyway. 
    The world we’re going back to doesn’t feel all that inviting and definitely doesn’t feel safe. 
    It’s hard to communicate with faceless people , and people don’t seem to communicate any more unless absolutely necessary. 
    That’s why I’m grateful to have painting in my life. It’s the perfect antidote to all this madness and chaos. 
    Sorry to hijack your thread , Rob but I couldn’t help myself. 
    Your rock pool painting is an example of something that’s still good in the world. It’s important to focus on  beauty I think ,  especially at a time like this. 

  • edited July 9
    Cheers, @Hilary. Don't feel you're hijacking the thread. I'm only too happy to discuss it. Actually, I credit painting with keeping me sane after the first few years of retirement when the gloss started to wear off gardening. I really started to lose it there for a while. One minute I was somebody - a big city lawyer with my own practice and employees - the next I was just, well, nothing. A nobody growing carrots at the bottom of the world in the wilds of Tasmania. For those people who define themselves by their work, retirement can be a real jolt.

    Fortunately, I discovered painting and, as with you, Hilary, painting is also getting me through this COVID craziness. All I do is stay at home and paint so nothing much has really changed for me since COVID broke out. But I feel so sorry for all the young ones who've lost their jobs and for people with mortgages or rent to pay and who are now out of work. And for the hundreds of thousands who have already lost their lives. And there's no end to it in sight. We won't get back to "normal" until there's a vaccine or effective treatment. And even then it will take a few years for our economies to recover.

    At least you and I live in countries with advanced economies and good healthcare and with universal health cover (not sure the latter is so in the US) so we must be grateful. And we have painting.  :)<3:)

    Down here in Tasmania we now have no cases. We went in hard and early with the shutdown, with social distancing, with test and trace, and so we were able to get on top of it. We haven't had a new case for two months now. Even wealthy countries that did not take such measures are now suffering badly. In some it's too late already with millions infected unnecessarily. They've let it get out of hand and now it's unstoppable. I even heard one deplorable in such a country say we should just let it rip because there's more important things in life than living. Like the economy.  Perhaps only their own infection will cause the scales to fall from their eyes. (Bolsonaro is not yet sick enough) The poorest countries had  less choice - if their people don't work they don't eat. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions more will die around the world. I never thought I'd see something like this happen in my lifetime. 

    I take my hat off to all those front line health care workers out there who daily risk their lives trying to save others.  Wish I could do something. 
  • @tassieguy. Rob, It’s good to hear your story  on the after working phase.  Something to considering for those of us not quite there yet.

    In the US you have to buy your own health care, unless you are so poor you qualify for Medicaid, but then the care may not be the best.   If you are employed the employer will pay part of your premiums, anywhere from 30% to 70%.   It’s expensive if you pay on your own $16,000 to $20,000 for a single plan, $32,000 for a good family plan.

    Many people that get hospitalized for this virus will end up with expensive hospital bills even with coverage.  The insurance doesn’t pay everything.

  • edited July 9
    Cheers, @GTO.

    I may be wrong and I don't want to speak out of turn but it seems to me that you guys need a universal health care system like other advanced western democracies where everyone gets what they need regardless of ability to pay. In this day and age anything less seems unconscionable.   We must care for each other and if that means slightly higher taxes on the super-rich who can afford to pay and will hardly notice it then ... well, who cares?  People shouldn't be sent bankrupt and lose their house because they get sick with COVID or cancer or anything esle. I just don't understand why the US hasn't embraced universal health care which has worked so well everywhere else. The NHS in the UK saved Boris Johnson just as it is saving milions of ordinary folks. I've often wondered why the ordinary folk in the US don't rise up and elect a government that will bring in such a system. Maybe they just don't want to be ordinary folk and are willing to accept punishment for being so. They've drunk the ideological coolaid served up to them by the rich and powerful through Fox and now just feel too exhausted, confused and wretchedly hopeless after working all day for $12 an hour to get up off the couch and go out to vote.   :)
  • Yeah, @tassieguy I agree with you on that.  Unfortunately politicians today like to use that as a political football.  The majority of people here in both sides realize the current system is not working.  This virus is just ripping the bandaid off and revealing the issue there.
  • GTO said:

    Many people that get hospitalized for this virus will end up with expensive hospital bills even with coverage.  The insurance doesn’t pay everything.

    is that a fact? I've heard all Covid testing and care are covered 100%?
  • edited July 9
    Regardless of the health care system in the US and of the proven efffectiveness of test and trace in controlling COVID19 it is now too late in the US. It's unstoppable there now.  The death rate is something like 5% of those infected even with the best of care. Just stay home if you can. Wear a mask when you need to shop, don't get close to others in queues, carry hand sanitiizer. Don't have people over for dinner.  Your constitutional right to freedom of movement/association is not more important than your life. :/
  • @tassieguy, I echo @GTO it is indeed good to hear your story I guess its not easy to understand the change from a working life to retirement unless you have been through it.
    Im hoping to either have stopped working or to work very little in 5 years time (I will be 63 then), and to paint more.
    I work in mental health here in UK with 12-18 year olds. We have had to change how we work and though we do visit some patients a lot of meetings have moved to on screen calls which has its frustrations. How can you build a therapeutic relationship that way.
    These times are hard enough for those without mental health issues, and I worry they will cause a lot more of them across all age groups.
    There are aspects of my work that I love but I think it takes its toll, I've been doing it ten years now.
    Its not the kind of job you can close the door on mentally when your work day is over. Only a few days ago my colleagues and I heard about an ex patient who took their own life we were all very fond of them.
    I had the same news a few months back about another patient I had built up a good relationship with.

    I also know only too well that I am lucky  to be in work and to be able to pay my bills while this situation has thrown many into financial hardship.

    I hope my post is not sounding gloomy, I am a very positive person.

    I bumped into a good friend of mine earlier today, she is very worried, as before the covid outbreak she had a flight booked to visit her son in the US of course that was cancelled. Also as she is elderly she had to self isolate here for 3 months. Now she is waiting to hear if her son, who has become unwell, has the virus.
    She also told me that a friend she knows who works in science/biology did not think that there would be a vaccine.

    I am more optimistic than that. Many of us will remember what a devastating killer HIV was and look were we are with that now. People leading a normal life span who have it.

    It will just take time.
  • edited July 9
    Cheers, @MichaelD, I can't imagine a more challenging area than yours to work in - especially now with COVID19. I'm glad you, too, have found painting. It will keep you grounded and you can continue it when when you retire and maybe you'll make a new career of it. Your paintings have that spark of genius. 

    I don't think your post sounds overly gloomy. It's just realistic. I agree that a vaccine is probably a long way off. HIV was awful. Millions died and it took a decade or more to get effective treatments so that it was no longer a death sentence. (If one could afford them - people in Africa are still dying from it)  I hope it doesn't take that long with COVID19 and I hope that the world will unite to ensure that all people everywhere, rich or poor, get the treatment they need when science finally does find an answer.   
  • Beautiful ending for this painting.  I didn't think it could be any better but now it is.  Love the foamy water, full of movement.  
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