PAINTING THE SOUTH DOWNS WAY June 30 2016
I’m delighted that work is now well under way with my new bespoke painting of the ‘South Downs Way National Trail’ in the ‘South Downs National Park’.
The ‘South Downs Way’ is a 100 mile footpath and bridleway which runs along the South Downs between Winchester in Hampshire and Eastbourne in East Sussex. I have found it to be a real challenge selecting an iconic viewpoint to paint, which would describe and do justice to the full length and breadth of this famous and well loved trail. I carried out initial research in local libraries, museums and galleries, and following many discussions, I finally made my selection and decided to paint the classic view of Beachy Head - with the rolling Downs and the magnificent white chalk cliffs, above the crashing white-capped waves of the English Channel.
The gleaming chalk stacks that form Beachy Head have come to symbolize the English coastline. Being the highest point on the south coast at 163m, the famous headland takes it’s name from the French ‘beau chef’ or ‘beautiful headland’ and Beachy Head Lighthouse, which opened in 1902, was built with great ingenuity and daring as materials and workers were lowered by cable car from the clifftops.
If walking, running, cycling or horse riding the full100 mile stretch of the ‘South Downs Way’ isn’t for you, I’d warmly recommend the undulating walk along this dramatic stretch of coastline. Just today I went to sketch some fine visual details and gather colour reference for my painting - the sound of skylarks and buzzing bees, coupled with the sound of waves crashing onto the beach below, was a heady combination.
This stretch of coastline has been described as ‘the roof of the world’ and one of my favourite graphic artists, Eric Ravilious, painted this very same viewpoint in 1939. He was quoted at the time as saying ‘An immense bar of light on the sea is splendid…and must be done’.
My new ‘South Downs Way’ painting will be available to buy as signed prints and greeting cards from the National Trails online shop later on in the summer. In the meantime a selection of my Sussex-related designs are currently available to buy at:
Lastly, keep an eye out for my story in the gorgeous new August issue of Country Living magazine, where I am a featured ‘Rural Artist'.
That’s it for now, until next month!