At the waterline


Oil on linen, 81cm x 110cm

I have an artistic fascination with water and in recent years have mostly been inspired by seascapes. This painting is, in a sense, a seascape – it is just focused in on a very small section of sea. It is very much ‘the water’s edge’. The waves are a spent force and the water is no more than an inch or so deep, sliding across the sand to a stop before being sucked back to the sea. I was attracted by the patterns of foam on the water surface and the shadows they cast on the sand beneath. The sand itself has pattern, despite on first glance being completely flat and featureless. Small blobs of foam from the previous wave still lie on the surface but will be gone in a second or two,  soaked up by the sand.

Redshanks are ubiquitous and are one of my favourite waders. I watched this one walk along the water’s edge, looking for food morsels brought in by the tide or for worms buried in the sand. I loved the dark shadow it cast on the wet sand, so different in colour to the sunlit beach. To draw a convincing shape for this shadow I made a plasticine model of the bird standing on some white card and put it in the sun.


Select an original below

  • Redshank
  • Jewels of sunlight
  • Grey wagtail
  • Shallow waters
  • Snow charm
  • Snowy birches and ermine
  • Avocet
  • Moorhen and bulrushes
  • Melting away (snipe)
  • At the waterline
  • Winter fox
  • St Mary’s seals
  • The Gathering
  • Short-eared owl
  • Abernethy Forest pool
  • Redshank alarm
  • Evening pools – wigeon
  • Silver light
  • Aberlady Bay
  • Fishing in the flow tide – Little egret
  • Long-eared owl
  • Shrimping
  • Purple sandpipers
  • Morecambe Bay waders
  • Storm surge – gannets at Bamburgh
  • Sandpiper flight
  • Lindisfarne Bay
  • Heading north – migrating dunlin
  • Redshank
  • Against the light
  • Spring tide
  • Marsh grass
  • Warming up
  • Snow petrel
  • Smiling at the sun (rock martins at Abu Simbel)
  • Salt marsh sentinel
  • Making waves
  • Log pile
  • The sand martin and the jellyfish
  • Humpbacks in the Gerlache Strait
  • Dipper
  • Beachcombers
  • Run-off

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