Tulamben Sunset (2019)

“Why don’t you paint a sunset?” a waiter asks when I’m intently working on a rock or a wave, or maybe some lianas in trees. Good question, the sunsets in Indonesia are absolutely stunning – but perhaps also something to be enjoyed in the moment, instead of chased after by my brushes.

But I tried in this piece. I turned my back to the sea (the surface is so shimmering and multicoloured, I couldn’t even keep up if I wanted to) and started my race against the setting sun to capture the colours. Light changes faster than you think. Colours go wild, especially the strange ones in the shadows, the ones you don’t notice but that hold up the scene.

For this painting I had to change my approach. I quickly prepared the details before the magic colour theatre started. When sunset approached I worked on Mount Agung and adapted the colours in the rest of the scene before darkness set in. At the time I was disappointed that I couldn’t get the deep colours I saw but looking back I’m happy I captured the change. This painting is not one moment, but many moments layered one on one another, situated in a jungle chaos that envelops you in a warm embrace.

Tulamben sunset – 21 x 29,5 cm watercolour painting, 2019