I can think of nothing better than spending the day plodging – mooching along the beach on a clear, crisp morning, jeans rolled up, splashing across the wet sand and poking about in rock pools. I’m so lucky to live near the beach. I grew up in deepest darkest Yorkshire, a long way from the coast, but now that I’ve lived near the sea, I don’t think I could ever move away from it.
My stomping ground is the beaches of North Tyneside and Northumberland, from Tynemouth up to Bamburgh. After visiting the coast my pockets are full of sea glass, bits of driftwood, feathers, shells and my favourites – pebbles. I have a huge collection which I can just about contain in various drawers and jars. In rockpools I have found all manner of creatures – crabs, anenomes, fish and starfish, but it’s equally the patterns which interest me. The ripples in the sand and the reflections on the water. The perfect circular holes in the rocks and the constant movement of the seaweed
I’ve visited the theme of rock pools in many of my prints. Sometimes I work in layers, building up different lino blocks and adding collaged shapes or a curl of seaweed painted in acrylic. But recently I’ve been simplifying the forms much more, using flat silhouette shapes in muddy colours inspired by my pebble collection – dusty pinks, sage greens and warm mushroom greys. In the Beach Treasures series I’ve returned to my collections and chosen a few favourite pieces – a tatty seagull feather, an impossibly twisted spiral of dried seaweed, a pebble with a circular ring in white which looks like it’s been painted on by hand. Each print in the varied edition has been printed slightly differently, using different colours on each block, so no two prints are the same, just like no two pebbles or shells will be the same.
These explorations culminated in the Low Tide print, exhibited in spring 2023 at Woodhorn Museum as part of their Wild Northumberland exhibition.