Abstract Landscape Painter. Rural Dweller. Lover of Modernist Art and Design.
The Breathing Sea
Ooof! The hottest day for nine years. The radio has just reported official advice suggesting we avoid going out in the sun until after 3pm. I think that’s the first time that I have heard such an announcement. I will be following it though and I’m glad that Millie and I took our morning walk earlier than usual. I don’t think that either of us fancy puffing along in this heat. I did manage to finish a new painting today though and gesso some additional panels, but now even the studio has grown hot and I have retired to the cool of the house to work on other things. It is in the summer that old houses come into their own and we forget how many jumpers that we need to pile on during winter months!
We have recently returned from a week at the coast. We hired a small cottage just a stone’s throw from the beach and three doors down from the pub. It proved to be a very restful time. I enjoyed the change of landscape. I love the agriculture further inland, but the scrubby hinterland of the coast is attractive in a different way. It seems to be made up of more small, thin, sharp lines. If I were drawing it in pen and ink there would be more hatching. There are numerous pine trees, reeds, grasses and other plants with narrow, blade-like leaves. I always collect pebbles from the beach and these are the other shapes that I associate with the location - the smooth, round edges of the solid forms. They make me think of the sculptures of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. The stones are simply relaxing to look at, even before handling them. It doesn’t surprise me that they are used in Eastern meditation and therapeutic practices. It’s difficult to pin down exactly what it is about them that is so pleasing to the brain.
Another thing that I love when I’m by the coast, is to have the windows open at night and to listen to the sea rising and falling on the shingle beach. This is sporadically accompanied by the low tones of the cattle that graze on the nearby salt marshes. Why is the sound of the sea so relaxing? Perhaps it sounds a little like breathing…..
I remember that as a small child I was allowed to get into bed with my Dad for an hour on a Sunday morning, whilst my Mum went downstairs to prepare a cooked breakfast. We would listen to the radio or he would give me mental arithmetic to do. Sometimes he just wanted to carry on sleeping and if he did, and I couldn’t, I would lay my small head on his chest and try to match my little breaths to his slow and deep respiration. It usually did the trick. I think that the speed and sound of the gentle waves are similar to that.
It still works.
All text & images ©2015 Carol Saunderson