Saturday, 13 December 2008

ONE BEACH .... AND TIME

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

Light changes a scene dramatically and is one of my key interests - the particular colours that it creates, the way the sea changes from indigo to lavender to turquoise to jade.



In the mornings the far cliff is bright, lit by the morning sun and shining. Below it the small stream that comes down the Vale of Lanherne (or Mawgan) trickles to the sea, shining and reflecting sky and cliffs.

This is the wild Atlantic coast. The tide ebbs and flows leaving deep pools scoured in the sand, in drifts across the wide beach, with intricate patterns of wriggling ripples between. As these dry out a little the wind across the surface creates a series of neat tiny steps leading down to the waters edge. The beach shelves more steeply than the Norfolk coast and so the tide doesn't go out anywhere near as far and therefore moves a bit slower in and out, giving the surf time to carve deeper. In Norfolk the pools and strands of water are very shallow and dry fast on the almost level surface, the sea is calmer and ebbs rapidly for a mile or more, here water remains until the next tide. Down at the waters edge the waves loom high, the horizon isn't straight but a mass of heaving swells and it's noisy with the waves crashing on sand and rocks.

As the day goes on the far cliff becomes a silhouette with little detail, backlit by the afternoon sun and then with evening the sun sets over the sea in a spectacular variety of colours and clouds.

The colours change constantly, the clouds change, the reflections in the pools change - the tide ebbs and flows. Rain approaches across the sea and I watch the approaching edge cross the cliffs, obscure them and a rainbow moving forward with it appears to end on the beach below, in front of the cliffs, then the rain reaches me and the rainbow is gone and there's just a silvery haze. Nothing remains the same. If only I could paint faster ......

In another post I'll show some of the paintings and sketches done there and studio works from them.

12 comments:

Lindsay said...

Well, my "Cornwall Envy" is now in very active mode. The light is very beautiful. Do fish survive in the tidal pools the way they do in the Northern Pacific? I've seen so much of your Cornwall work that these feel familiar.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I really like this set of photos. I was trying to leave a review but it won't let me - presumably I need to be logged in.

What I was trying to say was that this series of photos really demonstrate very clearly the benefit of just staying in one place and watching how everything changes with the time and the tide.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Beautiful pics, so many different moods.
ronell

annie said...

What skies and reflections. So much to look at.
annie

vivien said...

Lindsay :>) fish, sea anemones, small crabs and lots of shellfish survive in the rock pools as they retain the water - there are mussels, barnacles and limpets on some of the rocks - my wildlife knowledge is limited for any other species! The pools in the sand have no life in them - they get carved out with each tide by the surf so too violent I think. with having no shelter like in a rock pool.

Katherine - exactly - too many people only see a place in one light but with revisiting or staying somewhere with that view it's possible to do this - the way you are able to revisit the Thames

Thanks Ronell and Annie :>)

Jeanette said...

This is a gorgeous beach, no wonder you love it.

I remember so clearly when my girls were young as they retrieved 'wild life' from rock pools in similar places from Lyme Regis to Mousehole.

vivien said...

oh Mousehole is a place I loved as a child Jeanette :>)

There's a wonderful book The Mousehole Cat illustrated by Nicola Bayly that I think you'd love - a children's book but I bought one for me and one for Sam!

Laureline said...

So very gorgeous and so, as Lindsay said, envy-inducing! Wanna be there NOW!

vivien said...

me too < sigh >

Gesa said...

These are great slights, and they illustrate your post so well. Yes - I think it is part of that familiarity that I only sense at a distance.
I want to be there too! Now!

vivien said...

:>)


the winter storms are fantastic down there - it would be fantastic to be there all year to catch them

laura said...

Great slideshow. thanks so much. Oh how I wish I could be there in person--and paint! It's gorgeous.