After the rains of the New Year the weather finally broke so I decided to make the most of the day and cycle along the Tarka Trail into Braunton, across the Marsh, down the Old American Road to Crow Point and then return home along the Tarka Trail. The air was warm and there was a kind of stone cold neon cheap light across the Estuary which made the whole trip so worthwhile. Above is one of my favourite Linhays on the Marsh which I’ve painted on several occurrences. Al
Above left, a view out across the Taw Estuary to Fremington. Above right, the beach at Crow Point looking towards Appledore & Instow.
An acrylic of mine from a few years ago. As Picasso once said, ‘Ever now and again one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things!’ The painting above is one such picture for me.
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.
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
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.
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. Perhaps a painting to come? Al
Bideford Black pigment on 250lb Bockingford Paper. After a warm cycle ride around the Marsh in Braunton I’ve decided to paint this Linhay yet again. Stormy sky and an even more stormy time for everyone regarding the present Covid conditions. I thought the dark foreboding nature of this paint and subject to be quite apt! Al