Some people are meant to live by the sea and Chris Carbro, a marine artist,is definitely in the right place to pursue her art.
Working largely in oils, her default setting is to be on the beach or cliff. capturing the waves in oil.
Having the luxury of a boat means her perspective is continually widened to observe the sea in all its movements.
She studied the History of Art at Leicester University and subsequently took a year-long watercolour course followed by an oils and acrylics course.
Chris is inspired by light and reflections, and as the seasons change her work follows its natural rhythms.
As a sailor she spends many hours studying the sea and the sky and is fascinated by the challenge of capturing their different moods throughout the year.
Her small paintings using only three colours and white are painted ‘en plein air’ and the larger studio work is developed from sketches and photographs.
When it comes to tone and colour, less is definitely more for Chris.
“I’ve gradually limited my palette and now only paint with three colours and white, mixing all the other colours I need. I do put put a ground of acrylic burnt sienna underneath to give a warmth.”
“In winter I do less painting outside and more work on larger studio paintings based on sketches, photos and memories of the summer though I still go out sketching, particularly when there is a big sea running.”
Chris moved to Whitby with her husband in 2000.
“When we first moved to Whitby we found a cottage with a wonderful view.
“The studio upstairs had a view of the bell buoy, and towards the north east a view of the abbey. I would sit on the window seat or in bed watching the sea crash into the harbour.”
It was the perfect place for a marine artist to live.
Capturing the ever-changing seascapes that we often take for granted has become a creative addiction for Chris.
“You learn from other people.
“I learnt a lot from Robert Brindley, and got fresh direction from his experience andinterpretation.”
Originally Chris painted boats and coastal scenes, but was drawn more and more to seascapes.
“I can spend hours upon hours watching how the clouds and waves work. It changes every day, all the time which is what fasciantes me. The challenge of getting a three dimensional wave on canvas is what drives me to go down to the beach in all seasons.
“ I paint so much at Sandsend and hope it won’t be spoilt by all the development there.
“I do ‘tidy up’ my outside paintings a bit but try not to do much as I lose their freshness and immediacy if I ‘fiddle’”.
Most of Chris’s work takes place on and around Sandsend beach.
Now living in Sleights its her nearest and favourite location.
In winter she will resort to sketching or painting in the car if the weather gets too wild.
Chris uses thin layers of oil paint which gives more translucence to her skies and seas.
In the winter her palette naturally darkens.
“My colours get much greyer in the winter but you can get wonderful winter light, especially in November, often with pink and turquoise sunsets.”
Asked about influences and favorite artists, Chris said: “I’m fascianted by Monet’s technique of water and refelctions. I would like to own a Len Tabner sea painting or a large Peter Hicks.
“I am especially inspired by Turner, particulary his later works.”
Her seascapes are delicate and intimate, which quietly express her understanding and love of the sea so perfectly. The shimmer of light, movement of waves, whether in the calmest or roughest of days, is finely tuned and confidently executed. Her work has it’s own presence and is all the more personal for it.
Chris has exhibited and sold work from many local venues including the Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby, the Moors Centre Danby, the Ryedale Folk Museum at Hutton Le Hole and the Palace Arts Gallery, Redcar.
She has a show at Wave in Robin Hood’s Bay with artist Anne Burnside from Port Mulgave. You can buy her seascapes from £20 upwards.