The Atlantic Ocean covers 20% of Earth and is the world's second largest ocean. It is mentioned by Herodotus in The Histories around 450 BCE as Atlantis thalassa where the name refers to "the sea beyond the Pillars of Heracles" (the entrance to the Mediterranean).
It was formed during the Jurassic Period. The first ocean to be crossed by an airplane was the Atlantic Ocean. The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (or any ocean) was Amelia Earhart, in 1928. It was also the first ocean to be crossed by a ship.
For me the Atlantic Ocean is the cool sea that bathes western Europe, the hot sea that refreshes west Africa, and the forceful sea that batters the eastern United States.
I think of the deepest blues of southern England, almost black on a grey day. I think of drizzle, and fuchsias growing in hedges in western Ireland. I think of the green port in Tema, Ghana, where The Borobudur Ship Expedition finished. I try to imagine what the ancients thought was ‘out there’ beyond the Pillars of Hercules. I think of the purest blue of the water in Cape Town with penguins on the beach.
And most importantly, I fondly think of where I started painting water. In 2001 my friend and I were camping at La Doñana National Park in Andalucia, Spain. Frightened of painting the water, I turned my back on the Atlantic and painted the sand dunes. Eventually I got up the courage to turn around and painted a few paintings with water in them. After a ridiculous bike wreck in Ronda that took me down a slope and through a gorse bush, I curtailed my cycling (I never was very good at it) and convalesced in a fishing village in Asturias where I spent each day for two months on the dock painting water.
Tema Harbour II [right] is about greens and violets, finely cut by delicate organic lines. Oil on linen, 34x18 inches, 2004.
Cape Town Waterfront III
Cape Town Waterfront III is study of reds punctuated by light blue at the bottom.
Isle of Mull
I began Isle of Mull with the desire to create something blue and orange. It is based on a boat in Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland. After much imagining and sketching I created this image which evolved to include organic shapes punctured by sharp lines.
Tema Harbour is about the color green.
Borobudur Reflection is a painting of the reflection of The Borobudur Ship in Cape Town, South Africa. This painting is about the shapes and the specific color of blue found in this part of the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2001 I found myself stuck on a beach at La Doñana National Park in Andalucia, Spain. I sat with my back to the Atlantic Ocean, painting sand dunes. Although the beach was spectacular I was terrified of painting the water. After 3 days of painting sand dunes, I turned around. I braced myself, “Okay, I can do this.” I sat there for an eternity. Finally, I created an itty bitty painting of the beach with one small triangle of water, Dunes II. My first “water” painting.
Credits, clockwise from top: Aguas Asturianas V, oil on linen painting by Danielle Eubank. In Aguas Asturianas V I am examining the effect that the width of an ocean has on us. When looking at an ocean, it always takes up our peripheral vision which is a unique quality of oceans; All photos of paintings by Danielle Eubank. Map © ontheworldmap.com