First Wave

Updated: Aug 10

While adding yet another Wave Painting to my inventory this morning I took another look at my very first wave... The wave that started it all! Some years ago, my longtime friend Kevin came into the gallery with his wife Lisa.. They were in the village for lunch after church and saw me in the gallery and came in to say hi and check it out.. Kevin, while wearing many hats, not the least of which is being one of the Pastors in our local church, is a long time surfer.. I can still hear him as he said "Vashti, you should paint waves! You know? Like a big curling wave! You could totally do it!" .. I remember feeling like "I love you Kev., but there are so many people that paint waves already and do it WAY better than I ever could!" In fact, I think I said that to him... I remember that his words stuck with me...


Kevin Radlien

Finally, after a year or so, I started to look at waves, their form, how other artists interpret them... For some reason I had it stuck in my head that if I were to paint waves they had to look real and there were so many artists already doing that SO much better than I could! Then one day I came across Japanese artist Hokusai and his painting of The Great Wave of Kanagawa ...



I just saw so much emotion in his depiction of these waves! They are so animated and full of their own life... And I knew I had to try!


Throughout my art career I have been blessed by so many people who gift things to me to paint on! I love painting on Reclaimed surfaces, as you may already know! And many of my clients and friends will contact me with things they think I can use. In this case I had received some used canvases... They measured 24" x 30" and had been set up during a party, in the late '70's for the party goers to paint on... When I got them, the paint colors were almost black with age... I was able to wash most of the paint away by using warm water! When the water hit the old, dry paint a rainbow of colors would bleed all over the canvases.. It was quite cathartic actually..lol.. One of these canvases tho would not let go of the paint! I gessoed over it and everything and this paint would continue to bleed through! So I just kept it in the garage thinking I would use it for something someday...


Fast forward a couple years to my feeling inspired, but still thinking of all the ways I could mess it up or fall short of inspiration, I remembered this canvas in my garage! I mean how could I mess up this one?

I remember, clearly, sitting on the floor, the canvas leaning against the wall in front of me... I felt like Indiana Jones when he was standing on a precipice, holding his foot over the edge thinking he would fall and discovering there was a bridge to the other side that he couldn't see until he took that first step! Something happened in me that day. Something that is hard to describe, but I will never forget... There was this gap in me that seemed to hold me back from being fully present in the creative process... When I look at the paintings I did before First Wave I see "almost" and the paintings after? I see lessons and feelings, colors and emotions...



To date I've painted well over 100 waves! My creative eye is expanding, I have less moments of "I can't" and more of "I want to try!" .... All because of a simple conversation with a friend so many years ago!

One of the things that I Love about First Wave, one of the things that seemed like it would end up ruining the new painting... Is the paintings I tried to wash away, to cover over... The old colors did bleed into the new and if you look at the painting from different angles you can see the images from the party so long ago! I hope you get the chance to see it! Tell me what you see when you look at it!



First Wave is on display through Brevard Cultural Alliance's Art in Public Places Program at:

Dean Mead Law Firm

7380 Murrell Rd STE 200

Viera, Fl. 32940

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