For Saudi Arabia-based artist Rana Maghlouth, the ocean serves as subject, muse, and mode of communication for the complex and ever-shifting spectrum of human emotion. Each of the paintings in her “Seascape” series —encompassing more than two dozen pieces that currently grace her website portfolio — seems to capture a different mood in its specific shapes, shades, and textures.
In “Tempest,” for example, a dark and stormy sky overhangs a span of turbulent waters that foam with white, as if to suggest the grim inner tumult of negative feeling. In “Glint,” contrastingly, a more settled ocean surface glimmers with reflections of sunlight from the bright and airy atmosphere above. Every image is alluring in its own right — as Rana explains, “There’s something about the ocean that draws and fascinates us. We all feel it…It’s a substance that we’re very much connected to on a very deep level.” She aims to depict the powerful energy of the natural force, using her style of abstract expressionism as a channel to “express a certain mood or experience,” like joy, fear, or stress, via the “easier language” of the water.
Rana believes there’s something inherently healing about this method of connection with the earthy world, particularly in our modern society that’s so often consumed by technology. Painting helps her to rebuild her relationship with the planet: “I’m brining my body into my work,” she explains, and “it reminds me of what we are and so it grounds me.” Her process is an intuitive one with a focus on “dynamic and energetic gesture,” which allows for continuous improvisation, experimentation, and exploration across the canvas. She says this makes her feel “more immersed” in the activity —perhaps as if she’s symbolically swimming or soaking in the salty waves of the sea.
Images courtesy of Artist Rana Maghlouth