Research on the beach

Day 1 of my week researching experiences of time and tide on the beach.  I had planned in my imagination still winds, calm seas, and sunny weather and lots of experiments.. most of which seemed to require these conditions.

The purpose of this week to play with two contrasting ideas:

one is the repetitive cyclical aspect of rhythms in nature, how in their constantly changing appearance there is a timeless permanence so that the tide is moving now as hundreds of years ago and hundreds of years into the future.

the other is the human experience of time as a linear thread of finite length, and how despite this limited availability, the tendency of mortals to live in the past or the future, but rarely in the present.

Day 1.  Absolutely terrible weather.  Too terrrible to do anything other than visit Morrisons supermarket and stock up for the week.

On the way home visited the Innis-na-Bhirlin cemetery, which I had never visited before but my grandmother was buried.  She died 8 years before I was born, but although there are no photos of her there are lots of paintings, watercolours, done by her of views which I know very well, and a book of her poetryand sketchings.   The headstone simply said:



1899- 1954


 There was a fresh grave dug, a huge hole waiting for a new arrival, with a mechanical digger and operator hiding under the trees.  By the grave a stone was already erected which said:


1938 – 20

I could get my own gravestone engraved to that extent, as if I make it to the next century I will be 137 which would be undesirable.  Slightly creepy.

First trip to the beach, with oil paints, brushes and board.. tide about half way, it had stopped raining.  Could not get the lid off the linseed oil, tried everything including threats and violence, nearly went mad.  Did some experiments, tied board to a large boulder on beach and left it.  Painted some rocks and held them under water, added more paint to them under water.  Seems to work.. paint will not adhere to wet surface, but once applied to a dry surface stays on despite submerging.


One thought on “Research on the beach

  1. I have just found a watercolour by Amabel Gooch, possibly a scottish scene and reminiscent of the ferry crossing to the Ardnamurchan peninnsula.Are you a relative or fan, or both. there has been some mould damage. Gill Edwards on I live in Fife.

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