Lauren Elaine Brittain

Ode to The Ocean

Bachelor of Visual Arts Painting

The ocean for me is a place of awe and serenity. It reminds me that I am nothing but a tiny little spec on the earth and that humbles me. Under the water my mind's chatter stops and I can be, without overthinking. Surfing helps me connect to the ocean in a way that swimming alone cannot. The flow state I enter upon riding a wave is like no other. Instinct takes over as I’m filled with joy and calm. Creating a painting for me is another way to experience a feeling of flow. While I’m painting, I try to not only drop into this feeling, but also to represent it visually through oil paint. To begin a painting, I first collect reference imagery. These images are my own, found via the internet and collected from female surfers in my area. Then through drawing processes, colour and feeling I pull the images from my head and translate them onto the canvas through painterly techniques so as to create a sense of atmosphere. The female surf collective ‘The Ultimate Surf Bettys’ have played a particularly important role in my project, both for sourcing imagery and providing me with information about what makes the ocean so special to local wāhine. Female surfers are overtly sexualised in the media. It is my goal to create images that represent wāhine in a visually positive manner. Though my artworks portray the ocean in this way, I hope they evoke reflective thought in the viewer regarding a contemporary ocean facing ecological, political, and social challenges.