Acrylic on paper painting:‘The path in the dunes with yellow flowers’
Yellow flowers cluster on the side of a path out of the dunes at Bamburgh Castle.
The daisy-like flowers were a lovely surprise. It was a hot sunny day – out of a biting cold wind – in June. This cold and warm thing is not unusual at Bamburgh on the North-East coast of the UK.
I'd managed to discover a quiet warm oasis to settle into, and paint. At first the dunes appear to be all grass, but beside the yellow daisies, there was also Plantain and Thrift among the dune grass.
original study painting
- Artwork Size: 29.7 x 42.0 cm (11.69 x 16.53 ins)
- Paper Size: A3
- Medium: acrylic
- Paper: 300lb watercolour paper
There are many paths through the duness between the car parks and the epic Bamburgh beach. I've spent many hours exploring these paths looking at the surprising richness of plant life there, as well as scouting for views that will make great art.
How I made this landscape art
The paint dried really quickly while I was painting this. So quickly it was difficult. You can see evidence in the sky on the left. I disturbed a sweep of paint by accident and it dried before I could do anything about it!
Acrylic, especially when watered down to almost a Watercolour consistency, dries quickly under normal conditions. The wind, and the warmth of the sun combined on this occassion, so the paint dried almost instantly.
When I say warm, it was almost unbearable. This was June afterall, and the shelter made it a sweltering site to sit in.
The path leading to the beach, and the classic view of Bamburgh Castle, created such a compelling composition for a painting though, I stayed put in the sheltered dip in the dunes.
Beach Dunes of fascination
Because dunes are made of sand, they're always moving position and changing shape over time. This is because any breeze at all blows the sand into new formations. And there's almost always a breeze coming off the sea, especially at this Northumbrian location.
In the three years since I'd last visited, I could see a newly forming set of dunes had become more distinctive.
Beach dunes are a uniquely shifting, animated landscape – the dune grass always full of movement as though constantly responding to the sea.
They increasingly influenced my choice of view to paint, as I became more and more fascinated by them. They're a subject in themselves, without the castle.
It's what makes this type of landscape challenging to capture. I spent much of the time studying the dunes rather than the castle while painting this art. The painting is about the inbetween zone, between the castle and the sea.
There aren't any landscapes like this closer to my home, more's the pity, so I'll just have to go to Bamburgh again. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.