Gulf of Roses (Ships Of My Longing), 1988
Ruth Baumgarte was a true master of the watercolour. She took drawing and painting essentials with her whenever she travelled: she would set off into the countryside with a large shoulder bag containing a stool, drawing pencils, a watercolour pad, a selection of brushes and watercolours and a bottle of water to mix her paints. Baumgarte made many trips to Spain in the 70s and 80s and in particular to the southeast Pyrenees, where she painted striking rural images of villages, mountains and beaches.
Wet watercolour in blues and turquoises captures the spectacular view of the sheer expanse of the Gulf of Roses. The coastline on the opposite side of the Gulf is represented almost in one single brushstroke as a horizontal purple line. On the left, we can make out a small speck of colour that is the skyline of a town. It is the sky, however, that defines the mood of the painting with its unusual light. Yellow lines of colour skilfully evoke banks of cloud that suggest a storm is imminent. On the water are a number of boats – the Schiffe meiner Sehnsucht (Ships of her longing), as the artist calls them in the work's title.
Nuanced colours and the delicate and expert use of paint give a deep, contemplative effect to this vast landscape.