Category: The Sea

There is magic in writing down your intentions

The day started with brunch with Dawn from Bude and Beyond by way of a thank you. She interviewed me as a part of my Belonging exhibition.

After a very healthy salad bowl at Temple restaurant, we headed to the community hub at Bude Sea Pool for a creative writing poetry mindfulness session with Casper Walsh. Casper started the organisation ‘Words from the Earth’.

Dawn and I signed up to a creative writing afternoon exploring our connection to nature. What we hadn’t expected was to come away at the end of the day feeling totally ‘ZEN’. The first word that came to mind after mindful chit chat, meditation and some time to connect with nature on the beach. Casper encouraged us to keep a journal or write of our experience to remember the day with some key words. I decided I needed to record some of the experience as a valuable resource for the future.

The first exercise was to write down what we would like to receive from the day.

‘My eyes are far more connected to the landscape and nature. I’d like to feel more confident with my voice. Being next to the ocean is second nature to me but I’d like to understand a little more ‘the WHY’

The following two statements were very important to making it successful and a thought to carry through life.



Casper has studied society and different cultures all over the world and has come up with the theory that we need our rites of passage and defining moments like losing our virginity, getting married, turning 18.

These wane as we get older unless you make a point of making them happen. We are all very busy just surviving, so it’s really important to find and do things that bring us to connecting with nature.

Without this people lose the ritual and connection so we need community and mentors. The days of younger people being trained by older people are all but gone and this was valuable life skills and wisdom being passed down on just LIFE. It’s a time when people find other things to do , partying , alcohol etc when things get buried under a life of addiction.

There is also a default to over analyse, to rethink over and over, so it’s important to look at yourself and situation and be grateful and say ‘I’m OK’

People need to be able to express themselves creatively to allow space in their being. Hence ‘paying attention’

A short meditation, connecting with the beach and each other, left us with an hour to wander and contemplate.

To slow down… think and make and pay attention to the spaces in between.


  • Listen to the sounds, the sea is the singing bowl of the ocean. A vibrational energy to pass through you.
  • Let your body flow, ripple, be soft but strong.
  • Feel the weather.
  • Let your mind unravel. The thoughts become an tangled string of pearls.
  • Be kind to yourself and it will show in your being. Let your heart be full of love.
  • Embrace change, like the seasons. Trust in this and trust in others.
  • Pay attention , share experiences.
  • Look to the sky, sun and the stars. Climb a hill, be in the ocean. Feel the space and expansiveness.

My meditation walking and thinking led me to sit on the cliff top at Mentone. Peaceful, but looking down on the beach and the many people enjoying the day. I felt completely weightless, no physical body existed. I was still, but feeling. Peaceful and absolute. Soaring.

The event was made possible through Reflect Arts and Mind. A project looking at the effects of being connected to the sea and mental well being by the University of Exeter.

Seascape Commission of Duckpool, North Cornwall

Painting a a commission of Duckpool , North Cornwall, of the sea and a beach I’m not so familiar with, faced me with a few challenges.

The commission came from a lovely family to remember their first and favourite beach in North Cornwall that held so many memories and years of holidays in the area.

Duckpool is a fairly undiscovered spot in a beautiful valley that runs down to the sea from Kilkhampton in North Cornwall.  The roads are steep, narrow and windy and not for the faint hearted, but this affords the most stunning rugged landscape laid out that has not changed for centuries.

The beach is framed by towering cliffs and it’s not difficult to imagine the years of smuggling and hard life in this valley.

I spent some time here just absorbing the feeling of the place and it is often the memory of a glimpse of light that stays with me.  This was the case this October with beautiful low sunlight coming through the waves.  My clients knew the sea well and loved the light at this time of year, so it seemed timely to include it.

We measured the space to get the best proportion for the painting. Scale is so important and I love a large painting to give impact. With a blank canvas of 140 x 90cm facing me, it’s a brave first step to put some acrylic inks fluidly onto the canvas.

The following pictures show the journey…..

The finished painting was framed in a tray frame.  The wave has light and colour and the whole painting an immense feeling of energy and movement in the sea.  The foreground balances the left background with the dark rocks.  The stones in the foreground are loosely painted with a variety of colours giving the whole painting a harmonious feeling.

My best to date?  maybe it feels like that because of the way I felt challenged. It was certainly worth the effort.

Prints of the painting are available. Please enquire here.

The Sea as Sanctuary

I spend a lot of time on the beach and in the sea. It has always been my sanctuary, but I hadn’t realised how important it was for me until this year.

Life throws you a sideswipe from time to time. We have been very blessed, but this year so far has been sadness on top of sadness for our personal family and close friends. We lost our dear Mum and Nan in February and then the loss of two young men through cancer and heart failure has touched us beyond measure.

We are very lucky to live by the sea and never take it for granted, but it is only through their passages of grief, I have realised I am certainly not alone in finding sanctuary there. Whether it is time remember watching sunsets, playing as a child or just for the experience of being by the sea, it is a special place for many.

I think we all find solace in the space, the ocean, the clean air, and it is a coming together of all the elements including ourselves to be one?

For me, being in the sea and with my favourite element of water, time stands still. I just ‘be’ and enjoy the experience of invigorating ionised air and the energy of the water as it is pulled by other forces, the weather and the moon.

There have been some epic sunsets of late too which just fill your heart and soul with wonder.




Northcott Mouth Evening Light

Around 8pm I decided to take off to Northcott Mouth, a favourite beach just a mile away.  I needed to see the sea, maybe do some sketching, but mostly just be.  It was a pretty ordinary sort of day and by evening the wind had picked up and it had cooled off; a sign of the weather changing.

It’s these sort of days though that can catch you by surprise; when you think there will be nothing to see and then nature pulls out all the stops seemingly just for me as I stood there gazing. A moment in time when an ordinary evening turned into a sight of wonder. It felt like a lucky strike.

Panorama of beach, North Cornwall , evening seas

Panorama shot of Northcott Mouth beach

I only had my phone camera but took over 20 snaps as the clouds piled in and the sun dipped.  As time went on the light got softer, lower and the sea took on the colours of the sky.

These moments often spark off ideas…. I could create a whole series of paintings from this one evening’s photographs.  An entire exhibition of changing light, colour with dramatic skies all from one location.

Too late for my forthcoming exhibition in August ‘The Sea and Me’ but maybe for the next.  Indeed, the panoramic shot above reminded me very much of a canvas I painted two years ago which featured the stone bivvy above, “Lifeguard’s Retreat