Live by the Sea, Love by the Moon

by | Mar 3, 2019

Live by the Sea, Love by the Moon, oil painting of moonlight over ocean by Daniel Ambrose

Live by the Sea, Love by the Moon

Ideas for paintings come as an image or word. Fourteen years ago, I walked the beach in the moonlight when these words suddenly came into my head, live by the sea, love by the moon.

Maybe once I heard them spoken or read them somewhere. I don’t know. But knew instantly I wanted to do a painting. A great one. I sketched out ideas, quite literal ones; a house overlooking the ocean with moonlight coming through the windows, a couple by the shore… each one drawn and discarded.

The years passed with their inevitable sorrows and joys, and I would return to it with a new depth of experiences as my work continued to evolve. Always reaching deeper, seeking to go beyond the apparent reality of things and embrace their essence. What is Art for if not to probe the mystery of our souls? The divine spark that makes each of us unique beings.

In morning and moonlight I return to the beach. My feet walk the waters edge, my mind sails with poets and prophets; Rumi, Rilke, Oliver, Neruda and Gibran. I am with you, my friends. In the world but not of the world. My humble desire to leave behind for future humans how it felt to be alive during our era.

I dive below the material distractions, tunnel under concrete, computers and celebrity culture and dine with sages of ancient civilizations. I feast on saltwater, sailing clouds and windswept dunes. Perched on granite bedrock gazing upon the vast Atlantic opens my mind to previous unfathomable depths. I am this and this is me. Though we each are changing, you are the eternal one.

We humans are like pebbles rolling around on the shore. Fates waves toss us into each other in the ocean of our lives. Sometimes we part without a mark or only minor scars upon our surface. And if we are fortunate, we are cracked open to our core, carved with new insights and understandings. Perhaps compassion blooms.

Yes, like you, I’ve been cracked open a time or two. As a result my work has climbed to a new level. Or perhaps its slipped into an abyss of understanding. A new-found purity of inspiration and clarity of vision. Now paintings emerge unbidden from a lifetime of associations, experience, imagination and memory.

Inspired with new knowledge I set a large canvas on the easel. A great white space of possibility and uncertainty. Some nights with the lights down low, I sat in my chair and with headphones on study the looming surface in half light. I let the music take me to a place of memory and magic. I see the ocean, clouds swirling and rising and every moon I had ever seen illuminating the water.

Picking up a brush I swirl it in ultramarine blue. The word ultramarine comes from the Latin ultramarinus “from beyond the sea.”  I let my mind travel there, and I immerse in the saline waters I’ve known all my life.

I finished the painting in time for my solo show at Hughes gallery in January. It is a very large painting and needs the right space, the right person as all paintings do. But they will come together as all things meant for each other do.

Gallery owner Barbara Hughes wrote these lovely words.

Singularly, the most strikingly beautiful and impactful painting we’ve ever exhibited at Hughes Gallery.- Barbara Hughes

Live by the Sea, Love by the Moon.

It all comes down to living and loving.


  1. Nancy Ford

    Absolutely stunning! I am a great admirer of your work.

  2. Barbara Hughes

    Daniel. Breathless. We Thank You.

  3. Dianne

    I see a heart coming together in the clouds. A beautiful painting Daniel

  4. Annie Stewart

    Wow. Daniel, once again you took me there
    Congratulations on a beautiful painting and your writings so match it. Hope you are well and happy. Here on Rabbit Hop we are impatiently waiting for spring. Take care

  5. Mary Erickson

    Both your words and your beautiful painting are at a higher level than ever before, my friend. Spiritual, prophetic and timeless.

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