Beachtime stories

These drawings are part of The 100 Day Project.

I decided to use my huge library of photos as a resource for this series of ink drawings, all about 15x23cms. My relationship with the sea relates to my early childhood in Penang and frequent visits to the beach, memories of which were prompted as I created these drawings, mostly of beaches and sea views in Kent.

“Like many children, I spent happy times on the beach and remember the Lone Pine Hotel in Penang. In my mind, the sand there is spotless and the sea is the most wonderful blue. The adults sit and chat and the children play. Years later, the sand is not at all spotless, the sea is brown, churned up and full of sea snakes. Swimming has to be done in the hotel pool reserved for guests with rooms.

Living now in Dover, near to the sea after many years away from it, seems no accident. The sea is potentially an all too familiar subject matter, but the very vastness of the oceans and the sea allows for a never-ending fascination, renewed interpretations and personal responses. Human beings have lived by the sea, on the shore for thousands of years. According to John R. Gillis, the “shore was the first home of humankind’ and shores (natural environment) have now in many instances been transformed into coasts (man-made environment).

For Gillis, “the beach was the last part of the shore to be discovered and settled.” They are places from which we look out to sea; the beach is an edge, the land is behind us, it is an ever-moving, ever-changing boundary separated from the land “over there” by the sea, which without a boat, is a hard-to-cross border. With a boat, the sea suddenly becomes a connector between two shores; it becomes possible to go ‘over there.’” (Clare Smith)

The coast is not just a shifting ribbon separating land from water. It is a place of opposites, of conflicting ideas and feelings. These paintings, done over a period of a hundred days, of different locations, inevitably reflect the fast-changing moods of our coastline. They bring us sun-kissed promenades and beaches filled with tourists and sea-bathers, but also recall stretches of wind-packed sand and empty shore-front car parks lashed by rain. There is a romantic nostalgia for childhood holidays in the images of families playing on the beach and dogs splashing through the waves. But behind all that, peering at us from the beautifully pooling washes of dark ink, is something more oppressive. The bleak shorelines depicted in some of the pictures evoke our fear of the open sea. There are hints, perhaps, of the dangers that await us when the weather and tides are against us, whispers of the industry and ports that once dotted our frontier with the sea, and shadows too perhaps of the threat from rising sea levels. (David Frankel)

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Quotes

we were so happy to be there with you Clare...such beautiful work...thank you

((Diana Baldwin))

a tender rendering of her daily moments in this area

((Anne Perry))

Please, stop by and plan to stay a while. These painted studies expand the more time you dedicate to them as single visions as well as individually

((Anne Perry))

Beautiful, really evocative,

(Anna B)

What an achievement! 100 wonderful images superbly displayed in this space. Superb Clare

(Mike T)

You've been able to capture the movement of the people, water and plants - they feel part of a dynamic surging between each window on the seaside world

(Anne P)

Wonderful Clare

(Nic)

Fantastic drawings - I felt very immersed in each scene. Really lovely collection of moments

(May)

Clare, What beautiful pieces

(Anthony White)

Beautiful haunting images - you really capture that sense of being on the 'edge'. Thanks for sharing the work.

(Christine Gist)

You really FEEL the beach, the wind and the salty air.

(Adelheid Wiehe)