Thistle Walk.

The start of an acrylic 900 x 600mm inspired by a walk along the path which tops the inner Bank leading to Crow Point. On this particular occasion the path was flanked with wild looking thistles. The outer bank which used to protect a piece of land called Horsey Island has now breached and the once green space now looks like the Somme! It is too late for the wildlife there and now the salt water is beginning to change the ecosystem on the inner marsh. Some argue Horsey Island was reclaimed from the Estuary for farming and now has been reclaimed by the natural elements!

Linhay on the marsh revisited.

What to do on a Sunday with a spare canvas and some hangover enthusiasm.  Go out and paint one of my favourite scenes on the Braunton Marsh.  Acrylic on 16 x 20″ canvas.
   This is what the Explore Braunton website says.  No two linhays are the same, although most are of square or rectangular shape.  Some have become dilapidated but around 30 still stand today. The one which attracts the most attention is the round linhay, a grade II listed building on the edge of the inner marsh road, which has been thatched and provides endless photographic or even painting opportunities.
I visit this site many times throughout the year and each time it’s slightly different. Sometimes the water in the drain is crystal clear full of sticklebacks and at others fully of weed and cowslip plants. Local swans often glide past along with large dragon and neon blue damsel flies. In the winter it’s always quite bleak here hence the wind blown trees, all in all I prefer the spring/summer seasons.
Below are two pictures I’ve photoshopped from a quick cycle around the marsh today.

Fishermen’s Huts at Crow.

I was taken by an image on Facebook of a couple of old fisherman’s huts at Crow Point in North Devon and decided to sketch them in leu of a painting. I made my way to the White House at Crow and walked left along the thorn ridden breakwater; this is now the only way to get to these huts as part of the inner wall has collapsed. I arrived and marvelled at their rustic charm, rusty orange corrugated iron, weather bleached wooden doors and crude cobbles which remained from years ago.
Quickly I took a series of photographs and made a few reference sketches eventually the dark clouds forebode and soon it began to rain. Luckily one of the huts wasn’t locked and I weathered out the storm in it’s solitude loving that sound of rain on iron. The smells of the estuary mud and seawater filled the air as I made my way back slipping on the mud and pebbles.
After a little photoshopping, which I use for preliminary planning, I came up with this composition of the old huts.  It’s often quite difficult to photograph paintings and the true colours and softness of the paint are missed, but on the whole I quite like this painting! These huts are placed at the crook of Horsey Island on the Braunton Marsh just where the River Caen (Braunton Canal) meets the River Taw. In the painting you can see The Taw in the background. Recently the inner tide Sea defences have failed and now Horsey Island has returned to the brackish muds of the Estuary.

600 x 600mm acrylic on gesso panel. Al

Evening Primrose at Crow.

I attended an interesting walk and talk arranged by the Braunton Countryside Centre about the Second World War and the Burrows. I sketched a quick picture of the waterside as I’ve never seen so many Evening Primrose plants in flower. Quite an unusual light this morning quite humid, it reminded me of that Monsoon type light. I was amazed at the amount of Evening Primrose in bloom, the flowers looked even brighter against the dark sky.
This morning there was an enjoyable walk arranged by the Braunton Countryside Center it was about the Burrows and it’s World War Two usage for the D Day Landings. Many Americans were trained here for beach assault the person who lead the walk and talk was by Richard Bass a WW2 Historian from the Assault Training Centre Friends. If you can get onto one of these walks it’s well worth the effort. Al

https://assaulttrainingcenterfriends.co.uk/

Braunton Countryside Centre are on both Facebook and the net!

If you’re not local then leg it!

I was quite taken by this surf sticker infested sign in a lay-by overlooking Saunton Sands Beach. I’ve decided to paint this sign as a challenge and nod to all the people who have had a hand in it’s creation. From these lay-bys you get a magnificent view out over Saunton Sands, the Burrows and all the way to Westward Ho and beyond. I’ve entitled this composition ‘If you’re not local then leg it!‘ In days gone by surfers used to stake claims on local breaks with words such as ‘locals only’ etc. Acrylic on gesso panel 760 x 600mm.

Wet day on the Marsh.

After the warm sunshine over the last week rain was the order of the day.  I decided to make the most of the inclement weather and cycle to the coast hoping that there would be few people around.   There wasn’t to my relief and I had an enjoyable visit to the Braunton Marsh and Crow Point.  The area is often used by the military for manoeuvres as it was  during WW2 and today was not an exception. 

Over The Boardwalk.

An acrylic painting on 1000 x 700mm canvas just to keep my flow going during the first part of this year. This composition was going to be of a Hercules C130 transporter flying low over Crow Point at sunset, but after completion I have decided to omit it. My wife and I had been walking around the Point from Saunton Beach then decided, as it was getting late, to walk back along the boarwalk before the light went. Looking back towards the sunset the sun bleached boards were almost luminous under the ebbing light. This is my attempt at setting that scene! Al

To The Point.

The first out of the blocks for this year a warm up as I’ve not painted for over a month. Another Biddie Black of one of my favourite walks out to Crow Point in North Devon. New Year’s Day 2010 was very busy here with people observing the latest lockdown. I’m really surprised with this as for many years Crow Point has remained quiet, even in the summer. During the Covid Pandemic locals have reacquainted themselves with this quiet beach and now it’s busier than I have ever seen. It was lovely to bump into a few friends here that I’ve not spoken to in a long time.