Diffuse light makes 'Broadchurch' cliffs seem more massive

It has been a while since I have been able to write here – I have not even been able to finish my last post or write about the other things I saw and experienced on my stay in Brighton or the artwork that is beginning to appear from the trip. I even have notes and images from a walk before I went away! Hopefully I will catch up with the salient bits in the next week or so.

I have been pretty busy with other things and I have set up a new Twitter account (@DavidSmithArt) specifically for tweeting about my work and the arts in general. That has quickly generated some interesting contacts, including an artist in Canada

Continue reading Diffuse light makes “Broadchurch” cliffs seem more massive

Dorset coastal resorts as busy as summer

We went for a walk on Hive beach in today’s wonderful sunshine. We had been aiming to just pop down to West Bay, but it was like a summer holiday day – if not busier! I suppose the first sunny day after weeks of dreary grey and pouring rain was bound to get people out, plus of course the New Year holiday. So since we couldn’t find a reasonable place to park we decided to drive along the coast to Hive Beach at Burton Bradstock. We knew that would be busy too, but reckoned the overflow car parking would be less underwater than West Bay.

Run from the waves

It was really good to get out in the sun,

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Whipped for Christmas Day at West Bay

I wish I had taken my camera and camcorder when we went for our Christmas Day seaside constitutional yesterday. The sun was glorious; the wind whipped up the sea a bit; the sky full of colour and form; and there was enough nip in the air to keep the blood pulsing and the nerve endings quivering. But art and photography were not really on the menu. I hope I can get down there again on a sunny day soon before the sculpting of the beach has changed too much.

Christmas Day at West Bay

Caught the last of the sun at West Bay

I grabbed the last hour and a half of sunshine and went down to West Bay this evening. Long winter shadows, warm red glow. I went to West Beach because I wanted to make some more notes of the shapes in the rocks that protect the west pier of the harbour. That side of West Bay doesn’t get the sweeping views: you are forced to look at the more local, it’s more intimate, less beautiful but more human, friendlier. I love the way there is always someone in the shelter and Margaret opens the kiosk for some warming drinks. Today there was a line of laughing, smiling, chatting folk in catching late afternoon sun.

With the sun so low there

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West Bay in all its glory

In this good weather West Bay has glowed! I dashed down yesterday for an hour at the end of the day to sit on West Beach and daub watercolours in sketchbooks in a vain attempt to understand how light changes the colours in the sea and catch the drama of low sun on the rocks. I am really pleased I made the effort. I wasn’t aiming for a finished picture (and I forgot how long it can take for paint to dry in the cold) but I learned a little more about control and accident with watercolours and enjoyed myself immensely. I ended up with cold buttocks and blotted sketchbooks but it was worthwhile.

West Bay looking west towards

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Another cliff fall and bathing stopped by a shark

There has been another large cliff fall, this time at St Gabriel’s Mouth. The steps up the cliff have been closed and there is still a risk of landslides all along this part of the coast. There is a balanced article about the latest situation on the ITV site.

Rumour has it that, while the Olympic sailing events are taking place just down the coast, lifeguards at West Bay stopped swimming off East Beach because of a shark!

Lots of vegetation on the tideline at West Bay

I spent most of the day in the studio working mostly on Tidelines ideas: painting tidelines and beaches, in particular working on some ideas from a recent walk on Cogden Beach. The sea most and soaking drizzle of the morning gradually cleared and the evening was gorgeously warm and bright so I had a quick walk on east Beach at West Bay then back round the harbour.

West Bay this evening

The tide was well up, an hour and a half before high water, and getting near to the rocks of the wave-cut platform in places. There was a lot of flotsam, vegetation of a reedy nature, so the tide line was thick and the waves left overlapping subsidiary

Continue reading Lots of vegetation on the tideline at West Bay