City and Sea: Visual Poems by Jay McKay

Today we conclude our review of the works by Jay McKay who is putting his personal stamp on the art world. We are so thrilled be be able to showcase some of the paintings from his City and Sea Exhibition which he and his father Kevin Mckay recently held in Sydney.
Jay McKay (Photo provided by Kevin McKay)

Jay's inspiration arises mainly from the shoreline at Oak Park, Cronulla in New South Wales - gazing out to sea with an occasional glimpse back to land. His painting style is bold and exciting and his creative works are like visual poems - each line of creative thought containing the colours, shapes and textures in all the contrasts and nuances displayed in nature.

From the Esplanade #1, 2024. Oil on canvas on board 40x30cm by Jay McKay

Each seascape Jay creates is dramatically different to the one before and as such he has captured the ever changing character of the environment.

Of all the images he submitted to me for showcasing on our blog I think Knee deep at sunrise best encapsulates the dramatic connections which occur between nature and humans. The waves, each deeper and a little more unruly than others, the distant landform urging the viewer to reach out and touch far shores; the dominance of the sun rising above and becoming part of all that wonderment in the sky seeking to outperform the beauty of the water below.

Knee deep at sunrise, 2024. Oil on canvas on board 20x25cm by Jay McKayKnee Deep KneK

And yet on other days Jay has observed the sea, the sky and the sun resolving to harmonise and bring a quieter peace and calm to all who seek to sit and surrender to the magestic beauty of this little planet we all call home.

Sunrise at Oak Park, 2024. Oil on canvas on board 20x25cm by Jay McKay

Taking up the theme of an artist on a journey through his visual composition, Jay has explored the rock pools and uses their presence to bring a dramatic contrast to both the colours and to the shapes in his compositions.

Rock pool ripples, 2024. Oil on canvas 20x25cm by Jay McKay

Note the tonal changes in the colours of the sea and the surface of the rocks below. And in both of these paintings (above and below) Jay's touch of the sun is delicate and beautiful.

Oak Park rock pool, 2024. Oil on board 20x25cm by Jay McKay

Seascapes always provide the opportunity for an artist to convey and explore the symbolism of journeys - be it a short walk along the sand, exploring rock pools for another life, or imagining the to and fro of voyages from shore to shore.

As the sea washes in and out, rises and falls - against resistant rocks or the tractable sand - Jay provokes in each of us memories of our experiences with the sea and its shores.

We become immersed in childhood memories of scrambling over the rocks ...

Rock pool passage, 2024. Oil on canvas 60x45cm by Jay McKay

or looking down on the beach from above - imagining the soft sand beneath your feet...

From the Esplanade #2, 2024. Oil on board 20x25cm by Jay McKay

And then Jay challenges us to look up into the sky and beyond - all these vistas offering the artist endless possibilities of brush strokes and tonal adventures from a palette.

Partly Cloudy, 2024. Oil on board 40x30cm by Jay McKay

Whilst Jay obviously enjoys stabilising his compositions with shoreline features such as rocks and sand ...

Hidden swimming hole, 2024. Oil on board 20x25cm by Jay McKay

... painting from the vantage point of the land looking out to sea...

Blackwoods, 2024. Oil on board 20x25cm by Jay McKay

... he also has the courage to experiment with the marriage between the sea and the sky ...

Approaching Shelley, 2024. Oil on board 20x25cm by Jay McKay

It is a brave artist indeed who paints only the sea and sky with no anchor points and where the visual narrative element gives over to atmospheric elements.

Grey Skies #2, 2024. Oil on board 25x30cm by Jay McKay

But the artist's presence remains and enhances the atmospheric effects and their impact on the viewer. Jay appears deeply embedded in his paintings and for me I believe this is the reason that he is so effective in his creation of atmosphere - be it tangible as in weather changes or something beyond that!

His brush strokes and colour choices are confident and bold and he possesses that touch of magic through a hint of a stroke or colour - sometimes subtle touches of colour as you have seen in the paintings above and sometimes daringly bold as shown in Grey Skies below.

Once you have appreciated the boldness in this painting, take a moment to study the ever so slight changes in the colours and brush strokes Jay has used to create this scene.

Grey Skies #3, 2024. Oil on canvas on board 25x30cm by Jay McKay

The presence of the artist must be felt in the painting for it to be good!

It has been an absolute pleasure for me to see and describe through my eyes the first oil paintings by Jay McKay: his talent as an artist combined with his emotional connections to the sea are most apparent and it will be exciting to watch where this young man will go with his gift to create such an exciting and fresh view of the sea.

For Instagram users Jay's page is @jmckayart and can be found by clicking here.

© Thank you to Jay McKay who kindly gave permission for the images of his work to be shared on AnArt4Life.