sea notes: striations of agitated sand[banks] beneath the sea’s surface, a thin tapering line of violet-grey marked the horizon on one side, the sky palest blue to mauve…
and then there was the shimmering expanse of a pearly viridian sea green, as sunbeams filtered by clouds moved over the flat mass of water…
i am trying to recall something of the experience of watching the sea change colours, over the course of an hour or so [quick sketches, in graphite].
it was a bright and breezy afternoon by the sea… and it rained.
with the sudden deluge of rain my sketchbook and i were all too soon drenched. the pages swelled up into the shape of a concertina, all crinkled and kinked – and i dropped it right by the sea while putting on my rain mac…
oh the irony! sea drawings united with the sea!
there was a similar downpour of rain a day or so later, further down the coast, when i took a quick detour on my way home, to see the sea, once again. i thought this diversion might help a little with some of my paintings.
i met a man with two ladders painting a fisherman’s hut. i remarked favourably on the crackled patina of the encrusted black paintwork, what a shame it was to have to paint over it. he replied that he had been given strict instructions NOT to paint over it by the owner, and was only re-painting a small side window. i thought more about the two ladders – from prior experience painters and decorators will carry at least two ladders at all times – and came to the conclusion the roof also needed fixing. i also learnt from the brief exchange that the fisherman’s hut belonged to a very well-known painter – nice studio!!
the sky soon turned very dark and i knew it would rain eventually.
i walked close to the waves, watching the tumbling coils of dark water, the creamy-coloured spume frothed and foamed – [as it does!].
the sea rippled and scurried to the shore, waves rolling in, crashing, drawing back – [as they do!].
sea scatters, glistening shingle along the foreshore, large pebbles deeply embedded in the smooth wet sand. i want to prise some of them out, or skim a few small ones back into the sea…
these quick sketches were done while walking and just watching the waves, the drawing and mark-making imprinting a memory of sorts.
most of the sketchbook i have since had to tape or glue back together. it is now in a slightly wonky state, but its temporary union with the sea has given it some character.
[more thoughts] when i look at the sea i don’t always experience it as having a history or a story to tell, how others might have lived or died by it. the sea is the element, in the moment: timeless, vast, powerful, dramatic, dangerous – but also reassuring in its vitality and constancy. then there are the issues of coastal erosion, rising sea-levels, pollution, the litter and debris, sea-life… i do think about these things too.
whenever i feel on edge [stressed] i have a desire to go to the edge, the edge of the land, that is – as if it will help to disperse the issues on my mind because they are quite literally behind me.
a trip to see the sea is seen as invigorating, good for the constitution. stormy changeable weather discourages the tourists. a walk to the end of a pier at on a blustery day and it can feel as if you are on a big ship, sailing the high seas…
[perhaps i should have taken some photographs instead]
The real sea is cold and black, full of animals; it crawls under this thin green film made to deceive people. The sylphs all round me have been taken in: they see nothing but the thin film, that is what proves the existence of God. I see underneath!
[Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre]