Visiting the UK's Coastline and the Artwork it Inspires
We are blessed in the Great British Isles with miles of breathtaking coastline. So even though restrictions on International travel continue, we can still enjoy a summer break by taking advantage of the beautiful scenery we have on our shores.
The vast and sandy beaches of the Outer Hebrides are teeming with wildlife and exceptional views. A walk along the beach will help blow away the cobwebs, and you may even encounter native wading birds, like curlews and herons. Or head out for a trip on the bay, and you may be lucky enough to witness grey seals and lively otters enjoying playtime in the waves.
The North of England is home to some charming coastline, where famous resort towns like Scarborough and Robin Hood's Bay provide family fun in the form of rock-pooling on the pebbled beaches; or enjoy the solitude of a Northumberland seashore – the least densely populated area of England – and its white sands and outstanding natural beauty.
Further south, the seaside resorts of Blackpool, the Somerset coast, and Brighton Seafront offer bright lights, crashing waves and Victorian piers to surprise and delight your senses, all set against the magnificent backdrop of the briny blue sea.
The Cornish coast, in the South West of the British Isles, is filled with waterside gems – from tiny fishing villages, and historic harbours, to soft sandy coves, and dramatic windswept cliff tops. And, with some areas boasting their own micro climate, you can enjoy the subtropical flora of palm trees and agave plants as part of the beautiful coastal environment.
There are plenty of places all over the UK to spend a day hunting for wildlife, or gazing at bobbing boats, crashing waves, and quaint cottages perched on rocky waterfronts.
Throughout history, many an artist has been drawn to the romantic and epic nature of the coast, and have pulled influence from the sea and shore.
French Impressionist artist Edgar Degas' Beach Scene (1876-7) reflects the leisurely enjoyment experienced when people congregate to frolic in the sand and splash in the sea.
La Terrace de Sainte Adresse (1867) by French Impressionist painter - Claude Monet - beautifully captures the illuminating effect of sunlight on the rippling waves of a bustling waterfront. Lush greens and vibrant reds comprise the foliage of the terrace and perfectly portray a bright sunny day at the coast.
Possibly the most recognised painting of the tumultuous nature of the sea is by Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai – The Great Wave (1831) – which simply and boldly depicts the turbulent and capricious qualities of the mighty ocean.
The composition's colour palette is dominated by the blue of the sea, as if to mimic the way the wave dominates its environment – including the mighty Mount Fuji, which is dwarfed by the wave, and appears to disappear into the background.
Current day landscape artist Nicola Wakeling paints dramatic and realistic depictions of Hebridean coastlines. Living in Scotland, she is heavily influenced by her environment, and says “It is the sheer scale of the landscape in Scotland that stirs me to paint. Walking on a Hebridean beach with the wind on my face, I look up at the limitless sky and feel tiny. I want my paintings to communicate a sense of immersion and connection within a landscape.”
Her sense of space and sensitive handling of paint allows her to create stunning original paintings which convey the stillness and calm of nature without losing any sense of its power. Find out more about the artist and take a look at her collection of oil paintings on our website.
In the work of fellow contemporary Scottish artist Heather M Nisbet, it is clear to see the effect of her home town - Kirkcudbright. Heather spends her days walking around the town taking photographs and sketching the landscape. And she's in good company – known as the 'artist's town' Kirkcudbright has long been a centre for visual artists, with Scottish Colourists Samuel Peploe and Francis Cadell among its historic residents.
Heather paints in a distinctive textured and contemporary style and her colourful depictions of boat filled harbours are a joy to behold. Take a look at her work and latest news on our website.
The wistfully narrative artwork of Joe Ramm is inspired by the blustery Brighton coast (where she now lives) and wild West Country landscapes, and often depicts reflective characters and their canine companions stood atop cliff edges and wandering along piers. She says of her geographical inspiration “...a blustery day, wind in the sails, birds soaring, and the unruly sea is crashing on the shore...It is all elemental to me!”.
Joe's soft and natural colour palette and the rustic effect of paint etched onto wood create paintings which are both delicate and dramatic, and which emulate her natural landscape subjects beautifully.
For a wonderfully whimsical perception of our beautiful British coastline, just take a look at the paintings of Gary Walton. His work is exquisitely observed, yet has an air of fantasy and is characteristically quirky.
Using predominantly cool blues and and lilacs, Gary punctuates his paintings of moonlit harbours, cottage-scattered clifftops and reimagined dorset landmarks with rich reds and deep zesty oranges, defined by strong dark lines and shadow.
And finally, if you are charmed by eccentricity in artwork, Rosa Sepple's depictions of higgledy piggledy coastal villages and scenes of sea fishing at twilight are sure to delight you with their playful style evoking a sense of wonder and magic.