Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Landscape, seascape and what is beautiful

Looking at some snowy photos a friend showed from a 'little walk' I wondered where our ideas of what scenery is beautiful start. Clearly she loves her area very much.

Snow is not my idea of fun! I like to see it - but from somewhere safe and warm and no 'little walks' in it at all for me thanks!

The scenery that I love best is the coast. Particularly the wild Atlantic coast of Cornwall, with small coves, wild seas, clean washed sand, rocks, rock pools, beautifully every changing colours of water and flower studded turf coming down to the cliffs. The lanes are very very narrow, one car width often, with high banks just packed with wild flowers. The small ancient stone harbours with old houses clustered round.

That was the north coast (it's a peninsula) - the south coast is tidal creeks (drowned valleys) with wooded hillsides and trees overhanging the water, herons, tiny hidden villages and a gentler quality. In spring the woods are totally blue with bluebells.

Winter gales are fierce and mists swirl and change - one minute you can see 100 yards and the next you can't see your own hand.

I lived there from the age of 3 to 10 and I loved it ... and still do.

I like woods but prefer the edges (in fact I realise I like edges a lot - edges of woods, edges of the land) - I'm not really happy in forests, I like views - and changing views please! In Cornwall you are constantly climbing hills, catching a view, downhill, through the banked hedges - glimpses through gateways across valleys to the sea or a small village - down a hill to a small cove that's always different - tide in or out, stormy or calm, grey or green or blue water, inland there are wild moors and stone monoliths - never never boring, often unexpected :)

I also don't really enjoy flat land, where there are no surprises - you can walk for miles and the view doesn't change :( so why bother? though you do get wonderful expanses of sky.

before that I lived in Gibraltar - rock, flowers, sea, colour .... again!

The Jesuits say 'give me a boy till he's 7 and I'll give you the man' - well this was where I was living then and this the country and landscape I love - sea, colour, rocks, some trees, flowers and change,surprises round corners, not seeing everything in one go.

Elsewhere I notice I relate to these same elements - the Dordogne with its villages tumbling down rock faces, shallow fast streams, flowers , woods but not forests. a patchwork landscape; Wales - rocks mountains, waterfalls over rocks, woods but not forests, changing weather and light ....

These are my intensely personal responses to landscape - what are yours? - I'm sure some will love huge flat plains, others the deep forests that I feel trapped by.

2 comments:

edit° said...

I haven't painted (and wasn't talented when I did) for years now but the time when I'll have to stop hiding from the challenge is fast approaching :) I love looking at paintings and I've always, despite my lack of hand, loved using it and getting my hands dirty with it.

I did my foundation course last year and I'm currently in HE trying to fathom out this world we're visiting visually. Reading your blog has been a pleasure and I hope you don't mind that I've linked to it on mine.

I've got a bit of a chip on my shoulder and I mostly use the blog to rant and rave about daft little things that I see happening at college. Its refreshing, having sat clicking 'next' for hours at a time on blogspot, to read a blog written by someone who gets as fired up by landscapes as I do and who doesn't just fill a blog with "today I washed my hair, ate a chocolate bar and went to bed".

Thanks a lot

vivien said...

thank you :)

I've just been to look at your blog and it's interesting - not just a rant! I'll check in to see how you get on - do post more images though of the work you are doing.