GLASSY BARRICANE.

We spent a memorable day looking for sea glass on Barricane Beach, my wife and I paddled in the warm, crystal clear water of an Autumn’s incoming tide. The Sri Lankan café was luckily still open but sadly had only a few days to go until they crane the hut off the beach; for me this marks the end of the warm summer season. Donna and I drank hot mugs of tea whilst basking in the neon bright Autumn sunshine. Most of the noisy tourists have now gone only retired couples, grandparents with children and intrepid cold water swimmers remain! Perfect!

WORKING WITH THE BLACK ARTS.

A wonderful few days spent again as the BLACK ARTS with organised residential workshops managed by Adrian Beasley. The workshops featured tutors Adrian with digital capture, editing and printing, Stephen Raff taking clients through the early wet collodian photographic process and myself painting compositions with clients using the unique Bideford Black pigment. Our clients stayed at the Seagate Hotel in Appledore, North Devon and were taken to venues each day. I had the great pleasure of being based at the scenic Northam Visitor’s Centre beside the beach at Westward Ho pictured above.

Below are pictures of some of our clients work produced over three days involving group discussions. Each evening a different venue was chosen where we chatted informally about our day’s progress over meals at Belluno in Bideford, The Beaver in Appledore and Moran’s Restaurant in Westward Ho. On the final evening we all got together to look at the final work produced which included ‘The Big Reveal’ where everyone could see each other’s compositions. As you can see from the pictures superb work had been produced and the fabulous Indian banquet cooked by Clea, Adrian’s wife, ended the three day course superbly.

BEDRUTHAN STEPS.

Bedruthan Steps, mixed media on 40 x 30″ deep edge canvas. I was struck by the white parallel lines of the incoming waves on this day as I sat on top of the cliffs. The name Bedruthan Steps is said to be taken from a mythological giant called Bedruthan, who used the tall rock formations on the beach as stepping stones, and seems to be a late-19th-century invention for Victorian tourists. It is now part owned by the National Trust, the beach is now closed due to cliff instability and fear of visitors becoming cut off by rapid incoming tides.

HELE BAY.

HELE BAY painted on a canvas panel 500 x 250mm, using some pigments sourced at Fremington Quay. I am presently working on smaller scale pictures to keep my enthusiasm whilst planning larger compositions which move away from my usual landscape work. Hele is a favourite place of ours to search for seaglass and is a short pleasurable walk along the coast from Ilfracombe Harbour. There is free parking here and is a great place to sit in the sun or explore the rock pools.

PIGMENTS FROM ROCK TO BLACK.

I’ve spent an interesting afternoon looking through the rock strata at Fremington Quay. I’ve collected Bideford Black from Greencliff at Abbotsham and used the blackish colour called Poor Man’s Coal from here at Fremington too. A renowned pigment artist called Peter Ward mentions that there are other distinct colours to collect here too, namely, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, White Clay and Grey. On inspection these pigments are quite evident here so after collecting some samples I will prepare them for future painting projects. Below is a link to an interesting article by Peter Ward.

LESSON PREPERATIONS.

An afternoon of running through lesson ideas in the use of Bideford Black and paint application techniques with Adrian Beasley. Adrian used assorted brushes, rags, scalpels and spattering techniques to produce these two wonderful images of the boardwalk at Crow Point. The subject is a particular favourite of mine but in a few weeks with other students other ideas and compositions will be explored with regard to Westward Ho, pebbles and beachscapes in both black and white photography and paint.

THE BLACK ARTS RETURN.

I’m pleased to be part of another Black Art’s project organised by photographer Adrian Beasley. This residential course will run from the 12th to the 16th September and will be based in North Devon. The project will feature the following artists.

Adrian Beasley who will be based at Hartland Quay featuring landscape photography and computer enhancement of images.
Stephen Raff, will be taking students through the wet plate photographic process and creating glass plate images.
Al Brown will show how to make and use the local Bideford Black pigment and use it to create landscape paintings of the North Devon coast.

These few days should prove to be an exciting challenge to create memorable black and white images of North Devon. There are still a few places left! Al

LEE BAY.

A smaller composition 10 x 20″ just to keep my motivation going whilst I plan my latest large scale project! Image painted from a recent visit to Lee Bay with my wife for a glass hunting forage. My wife Donna makes sea glass jewellery under the name Flotsam & Then Some! We had the usual beer and lunch at The Grampus pub then ventured onto Sandy Cove, for a rare afternoon we had the beach to ourselves and we felt like we were on a deserted island.