The Colours Of Belhaven Bay

Since my last post, I have been continuing to walk down to Belhaven Bay to sketch and draw, in particular to consider what I feel are the colours of Belhaven Bay.

Sketching wigeons at spring tide

I made a point of going at high tide a few times, keeping an eye on the tidal forecast for a very high one, also known as a spring tide (which has nothing to do with Spring!). It happens twice a month, and is when “the Sun, Moon and Earth are in alignment and the gravitational force is strong” (Met Office website).

A high tide around four metres or less seemed to be quite similar to a low tide in the tidal estuary at Belhaven Bay. I noticed this from my outings and sitting on my favourite bench on the John Muir way, where I have been doing most of my sketching.

So it was great to see the estuary fill up and transform into a large natural pool during these spring tides. Once its peak was reached, the rush of the water ceased and the pool became more like a mirror. Calm and still, attracting other birds, like hundreds of wigeons! It was a spectacle observing them flying in from seemingly nowhere. And just as sudden as they were there, they had left and only a dozen or so remained, feeding near where I was standing.

These outdoor sketches and drawings have been my inspiration and have formed the basis for further work developed in my studio, such as colour studies and finished paintings on paper or board. Then back to sketching and drawing in the landscape to deepen my experience and immerse myself further into the comings and goings of the tides, birds and weather.

My favourite bench

For my latest body of work, I am exploring using a palette of blues, in its multitude of possible combinations, hues and tones, as well as its complementary colours, for example. The blues seem to conjure up a particular feeling for me, one that resonates with how I’ve been feeling when I am out there birdwatching and sketching.

It feels to me like the colours of Belhaven.

Colour in my work evokes a sensory and emotive response to the landscape: how I feel about being in nature and its elements, such as the tickle of the wind on my skin, the occasional cold fingertips, the call of the gulls, or the sun warming my back…as well as what I see around me.

How do I convey the joy and delight I feel whilst I am there?

How do I convey my connection with the landscape, and with myself – the beauty I see and how it moves me deeply?

Colour helps me to express those things. Express what is deep within, which I hope resonates with you. It is how I see the natural world, how I experience it and revel in it.

It seems especially important at the moment, with all the worrying news, to counterbalance what’s going on in the world with the beauty of our planet and the joy that I can always find in nature.

To remember that in darkness, there is also light.

And for me it feels important, even essential, to contribute to that light.

My hope and aspiration is that my words and my work do that. Not denying what is happening, but reminding myself that it’s not the only thing that’s happening in the world. It helps me to cope and to stay sane.

Work in progress – a cool blue palette



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