Left to right: Blackgang cliffs looking down; looking across the clifftop at the walking path, altered several times; the clifftop literally breaking off along part of the walk.
Left to right: Alum Bay where tourist sand novelties are made with shipped-in sand, it's forbidden now to take away the unique geology; two more views east and west along the cliffs at Blackgang Chine.
What's shocking is that this entire area used to be a thriving tourist industry! Less than 60 years ago. Areas populated and accessible in the 70s are now underwater. See this site for historic postcards and photos.
I wrote in my sketchbook on the Isle of Wight, May 2008:
"This is the first real coast trip where I felt and saw a real environmental change in progress on the English coast. But I don't see this as negative because it simply is a natural consequence over time - be it a consequence of weather, temperature, erosion, human activity or other factors (human beings being, of course, part of nature). The destruction at Blackgang for example is profound and astounding, but perhaps my role is to capture the sight, the feeling. We can't stop the sea."
Even more striking to me, if that's possible, were the coastal changes in Yorkshire, from Bridlington down to Spurn Head, where I cycled in late 2008. The reason the differences were perhaps starker was simply because the human aspect of the landscape had been affected and the remnants were still very obvious. To be told a whole village is gone is one thing - to see existing roads ending as rubble in the sea is another. This has happened in the last 10 years, the areas were on my OS map.
Left to right: Warning along the road; Then it's remnants falling down; This path used to be a road that curved around following the coast and then up to the next village, and there was even a farm depicted on the latest Ordnance Survey maps - now it's a worn path along the field edge; A disused rail track on Spurn Head penninsula, which used to be much wider.
But beauty comes from even this. This sights resulted in some of my favourite paintings to date.
Left to right: Spurn Head (100x120cm), Filey Brigg (diptych, 50x100cm), Blackgang Below (120x150cm)
You can see my entire English Coast series on my website.