Drawn to Hastings beach…

011017 - Fishing Boats at Hastings

Fishing Boats at Hastings

You cannot take a trip to the seaside without going to the beach and getting some fresh air. After visiting the Jerwood Gallery, we had a little less than an hour to go before our train left. Jane went for a walk, and I headed for the beach to see what I could find to draw.

Behind the Jerwood Gallery are the tall black huts once used by the fisherman for drying their nets, and numerous other haphazard huts that create a kind of shanty town, a ramshackle fishing village. Beyond this is the beach where the brightly coloured fishing boats are hauled up onto the shingle by rusty old winches, tractors and caterpillars.

I found an old fish crate (not too smelly or fishy!), turned it upside down for my seat, my knees were my easel, and my canvas was my trusty old sketchbook. I used pencils and coloured watercolour crayons for creating the marks.

Having only a few minutes to put something down on paper concentrates the mind. I wanted to draw the fishing boats of course, as they are quite picturesque, but I’m glad I had time to turn the “easel” around and quickly sketch the view behind me with the East Cliff rearing up behind the black huts, with the funicular railway scrambling up it’s face.

011017 - Hastings east cliff

Hastings East Cliff

During my meanderings around the internet, I’ve discovered another artist who roams these shores, and I must admit, I do like his linocuts which in their naivety remind me of my perennial favourite Alfred Wallis. Might be worth a look at: Melvyn Evans.

Graffiti Artists and defacing

280817 - Graffiti_3Not the usual kind! This graffiti is found scratched on the back of choir stalls in the church of St. Nicholas in Salthouse on the Norfolk coast. No doubt these were drawn during particularly long and onerous sermons defacing what was once smoothly painted woodwork.

Although there is the usual rash of dated initials, some spectacularly from the early 1600’s, the graffiti mainly consists of masted sailing ships, some complete with flags, anchors and rigging. These must hail back to 280817 - Graffiti_1the days when Salthouse was a port and these ships were a regular sight for the choristers to get their inspiration from.

It is amazing that these etched doodles have survived the centuries, withstanding any erroneous, but well meaning, person redecorating, sanding down, and painting over these drawings so that they would be lost to eternity.

The scratched lines of the ships somehow remind me of the skeletal remains of boats and 280817 - Graffiti_2ships you find on Britain’s shorelines and estuaries. Entrenched in the sand and mudflats you see the ribs poking up forlornly to the skies. They are both reminders of the times when these vessels would be out on the open waves. Outlines of something that once was.

I get the feeling that one of my favourite artists, Alfred Wallis, would have loved these images, and I think he would have been entirely at home, if he was amongst these choristers creating this graffiti art.

280817 - Defacing_1Defacing of a different and more literal kind is also evident in the wooden screens of this church, now moved to a more prominent position. Reformation sackers have been here, and literally de-faced, and more besides, the figures of the saints that once adorned these screens. But I like them as they are, wearing the mantles of the historic past in full splendour, and giving you pause for thought at what has been enacted in this church in the past. As Picasso once said, “Every act of creation, is first an act of destruction.”

280817 - Defacing_2