Lytham St Annes beach (or more precisely St Annes-on-sea beach in Lancashire) has always been part of the background in my life and influenced my original paintings. I've not always been aware of its importance to me until I moved away from the area and found that something was missing from life. Every time I returned it felt great to visit it and reconnect with nature and the sea. As my interest in art grew and I turned to painting, my local beach became my 'landscape' subject of choice.
Sometimes the beach can essentially be a sandy landscape, especially at low tide with the sea being some considerable walking distance away, hugging the horizon. If the sun is out, it appears as a shiny sliver and you know you are in for a long walk to see the sea.
With all the flat sand exposed, you notice the variety of gradient tones over the sands and where the sand is dry or wet. If there are any clouds around on a sunny day they make soft shadows over the sand. As you advance towards the sea you become aware of your surroundings simplifying into sands and sky.
I often see the open skies as nature's canvas, where it silently paints morphing cloud forms with perfection in extraordinary forms and patterns. Later in the day, as the colours and tones of sunset appears, the open skies are transformed and can be magical.
It is the variation and difference from day–to–day and season to season which keeps my interest in painting Lytham St Annes beach. The discovery of new visual 'situations', compositions and forms when looking on the beach feeds my creativity and ideas for paintings to come.
The quality of light and its contrast, the atmosphere of the seascape there and the constant movement of nature is very interesting as a subject to paint and to return to.
Published June 2021