“The Space Between” (2021) ~ 32” X 18” Original acrylic on canvas painting by Reilly Fitzgerald.
I decided to paint this particular image when I saw how busy and bright the space between the boats and the wharf at Green’s Harbour was. Not only is this “negative space” vibrant with line and colour, it is also alive with symbolism. The subject of the painting is not what would usually be the focus for an artist; surely the boats, that are a source of livelihood and a traditional way of life, are much more “important”, as is the wharf, which is the secure structure that connects the land and sea and is the platform for activity to prepare for departure upon the waves, and to unpack the day’s events upon returning, both literally and figuratively. I focus on the space separating these two elements. I don’t reveal the names of the boats, or any other "important" structures, other than the side near the wharf, and I only reveal the part of the wharf that securely holds the ropes from the boats. This image can symbolize mental health and shows the importance of that space between the boats and the wharf, a space that can represent the “downtime” in our lives, and reveal how important and vibrant that part of our lives can be, and how much we need to pay attention to the functionality that makes sure our dual lives of work and home life do not cause the destruction of one or both of these during times when we have no choice but to dock during “rough weather”.
The hectic intricacy of the ropes and buoys reveals the importance of being secure during our “down time”. The lines tie the vessels to the wharf, ensuring they will not go adrift during times of inactivity, and the floats protect them from damage should the two collide in rough waters.
Think of the words that describe this image: moor, anchor, dock, secure, hitch, tie-up, berth, all imply safety and refuge, but who could have known that the space between could also be so aesthetically pleasing, with a wonderfully artistic combination of line, shape, reflection, and colour.
Hope you like it.