25 April 2012

Saturday 21st April

I wake to a blanket of steady drizzle laid over the peninsular: grey, cold, damp.

After breakfast I sit on the bench opposite the Bird Observatory for almost an hour.  The tide is going down, which on this flat, shallow estuary side moves quickly, revealing sand banks, mud flats and the strip of salt marsh.  The textures and patterns are fascinating.

Birds sit in groups, flying every now and then to a new spot along the sand.  I am told by a passing birder that what I'm looking at are godwits, curlew and plovers.  They're too far away for me to be able to see enough detail to identify them.  I'm embarrassed by my lack of knowledge.

Instead I concentrate on the patterns of mud and plant life in the band along the mud flat edge and draw the strip of texture where land and water meet.  Raindrops help the variety of marks from my pen.  As the rain becomes more persistant I use water soluble pastels to capture colour.  The rain is a good partner in this excercise but my hands get cold eventually.

I move in the car down to Chalk Bank Hide, where the wind still whistles in but I'm out of the rain.

The hide, although drafty, is a good place to draw as there is a ledge to rest my book on and and bench to rest myself on. I can wait for pages to dry while I work on other things.  I do need to find a system of working with wet media here.  I'm hoping access to the lighthouse will help.  I enjoy the plaintive sounds of the curlew.

The rain suddenly lifts and the sun comes out.  I walk between the two Hides on this stretch looking at the brown tailed moth cocoons.  They are strange and slightly sinister, this feeling increased by the knowledge that the hairs from the caterpillars can cause severe irritation.

After lunch I walk on the Humber side again, by the exposed salt marsh.  

A heavy shower starts and drawing quickly becomes impossible.  I get absolutely soaked and then it turns to hail.  I turn and walk back the way I came, and when the shower passes I cross onto the seaward side of the peninsular where the wind is.  Because the tide is down there is a large expanse of concrete blocks exposed, sea defences that I didn't see yesterday when the tide was higher. 

Along with the wooden groynes these man-made structures form dominating marks along the beach.  As well as these purposefully placed items there is a constant selection of washed up plastic on the beach.  This unavoidable rubbish is fascinating and depressing in equal measures.  Thunder rolls in the distance.  The waves thunder too on this seaward side.  Spectacularly large showers move on the horizon.  I hope to dry off in the wind before the next one reaches me.    

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