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KYST 40 I walked from the car park at Dueodde along the wooden walkway to the broad sandy beach where I had finished a week previously. It was mild but a strong onshore wind blew and I was well wrapped up. The sunrise was incredibly subtle and ephemeral, colours, tones and contrasts changing by the second. I got to work.
The huge sky opened up before me and the waves rolled into the sandy shore and deposited strands of seaweed amongst the sea rocket and sea grasses along the shore. A light dusty rain fell for a few minutes, but otherwise the dark blue and grey clouds only threatened.
An almost constant stream of migrating birds flew westward into the strong wind. Geese, ducks, gulls and cormorants powered over the choppy waves, while huge flocks of siskin and greenfinch bounced along the shore, sometimes feeding together with the energetic dunlin that frittered amongst the seaweed (see top). A small group of Brent geese struggled in the wind and the waves.
Already the energy and positivity with which I had started the day had been replaced by a negative mind frame and a feeling of frustration. I lacked a clean vision and was torn between painting and just looking at all of the passing birds. I wandered into the dunes and looked towards the new lighthouse. The dunes were covered in a kaleidoscopic carpet of heather and grasses. Several kestrels hovered in the wind above me and at one point an elegant Rough legged buzzard floated over the pine trees bordering the dunes, only to be chased off by a pair of belligerent ravens.
I paced around, enjoying the day but feeling guilty at my lack of KYST progress. The beach was a landscape in flux: dunes and lagoons in constant movement being pushed and pulled by the eternal motion of the waves and wind. The sand itself was a fascinating universe of pattern and texture, in some places held fast by the roots of the sea rocket and grasses, in others by the weight of the water. Where it was dry it flew over the surface of the beach in a fine mist. I painted a sheet of paper and let the wind-blown sand leave a trace on the wet pigment. It seemed to work, but once dry the sand fell off leaving no meaningful trace.
I carried on along the beach looking down at the incredible diversity of marks left by the elements. The waves traced mountain-like silhouettes of their movement in the sand, and drew calligraphic seaweed gestures amongst the pebbles.
I was fascinated by the shapes of the seaweed clumps on the shore line. Looking down there seemed to be an order or unity to their form.
The day had run away and the sun was already low over the horizon. I powered on, along the deserted sandy beach to my destination at Dæmmebæk. Here the sea was claiming the land, and the thinning beach was riddled with the carcasses of pine trees. I could see a wonderful sunset was cooking (my first KYST sunset since I headed around Hammerknuden at the north point of Bornholm, many months ago), but I had run out of tape and was unable to paint a slice painting, as I had wished. Instead I used the silhouetted trees as dividers, and worked from left to right, as the sky turned blood orange and then crimson red. Eventually, when the sun had completely set, I walked aback along the beach in dusky loneliness and creative frustration, all the way back to the car park at Dueoode.
Weather report = Mostly overcast with a few sunny periods. Temperature between 13°C and 15°C, though it felt much colder in the wind. Wind between 10 and 7 m/s from the southwest. Hours of sunshine: 1.5 hours.
Lessons learned – holding your watercolour pallet close to a windy sandy beach is a bad idea. Dueodde sand is very fine and gets everywhere..
Stops with the M60 = 0
Kilometers walked = 8.30 km
Day lasted = 11 hours, 29 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 44 species (4 new ones: Common tern, Sanderling, Rough legged buzzard, Bean Goose – running total 133)
Other stuff = a dog came and kicked sand all over my palette and paper. Was livid, but what can you do?
People talked to = 1
In my head – The wedding party in London on Saturday night, meeting people I hadn’t seen for over 25 years.