Laetitia Yhap was born in St Albans. She studied at Camberwell College of Arts and the Slade School of Fine Art, and for some years after leaving art school she continued to paint in an abstract style. Yhap moved to Hastings in the late 1960s. A few years later the fishing community there became her main source of subject matter.
She explained: ‘I had a magic moment on the fishing beach and a sudden realisation that there was something going on I needed to find out about. I gauged it wasn’t something that went on in the afternoon, but early in the morning, so I went down and the doors opened’.
Yhap paints in oil colours on boards that she constructs herself, deliberately creating shapes that convey a sense of restricted space in the composition. Her beach scenes look out to sea, fishing boats often occupy a large part of the space, and her figures are shown engrossed in their work. She often includes material elements that evoke the sea and shore, as in this painting which includes sand in the corners.
Both the frame and the shape of this painting are integral parts of the work: “The shape I construct as a surface to work on is crucial, as that is what makes it possible to compose the painting or helps it to compose itself.” She has further evoked the fisherman’s world by adding actual sand into the corners of the work.