...Gower inspired fine art by Jason Shepherd...An Artist’s journey around the Gower Peninsula

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Should I or Shouldnt I?

I had to talk myself into painting Three Cliffs. That's right. One of the most beautiful Beaches in Britain and I wasn't comfortable in painting it. You must be wondering at this point if i've gone a bit funny. "One blog entry in and Jason's already as mad as the fruitiest of fruit cakes" is what you would be thinking, if I didn't know that all of my blog readers are politically correct people and would never describe any one as a fruit Cake. I think you'll find the modern term is Artist anyway. ;-)  I digress.

My reason for not wanting to paint Three Cliffs has nothing to do with a lack of love for the area. As a matter of fact I love Three Cliffs Bay. Standing on the Beach, looking up at the rugged cliff-face made me feel like an explorer, who'd seen paradise for the first time. The whole of the Gower Penninsula has that effect on me, but the Southgate/ Pennard area in particular holds so many joys for me.

The view from Southgate across the splendor of Pobbles bay to the hidden walkway cut into The  Pobbles Bay Cliffs through to Three Cliffs Bay holds immence joy for me. So my reason for not wanting to paint the cliffs, was not because I didn't like the area but had more to do with how many times it had been painted.

Three Cliffs Bay must be the most painted area of the Gower bar none. I've seen paintings of the cliffs from every angle imaginable. Some paintings wonderful, many more of them adequate and most of them quite painful to look at. I certainly didn't want to be in the latter two catergories. If I was going to paint Three Cliffs it had to be something special. A painting I could really be proud of.

Most Gower painters like to paint the whole bay. They show the full sweep of the bay with the cliffs looming over the beach from a distance. My idea was to make the cliffs the main focus of my painting. That way I could use textured effects to show the deep cragginess of the three peaks that make up the Three Cliffs.

My starting point was a photograph. This was going to be one of those paintings that was safer to paint at home. Mainly because I was going to have to climb up one side of the cliff and perch on the edge to get the image I needed. So I climbed up the large rocky strip attached to the cliffs. There is a steep sandy path winding upwards that I used to get to the top of the incline. I took a few photographs from different angles. It was also the first time I had seen the cliffs from that high up. I was really close to them and they looked even more stunning close-up.

Everything went fine until I started back for the path down to Pobbles Bay. That was when I twisted my ankle. This was the first time I had gone walking in a while and as I twisted my ankle I had a revelation. Trainers are not the best shoes to wear for cliff walking. Anyway I had to walk up a sandy path to get back on the main path and I wasn't able to put any weight on my ankle. So I did the sensible thing and...cursed. Yes that's right, the first thing I did was panic a little then my sensible head moved on to my shoulders. I decided to wait for ten minutes to see if the ankle pain would go and if not I would call for help. Luckily I wasn't the only person walking on Three Cliffs that day.

Ten minutes later I got up and...

all the pain had gone. I learnt my lesson and the next day went out and bought the best walking boots I could afford. But I did manage to get some excellent photographs and so it was now time to paint Three Cliffs Bay in all its wonder.  

NEXT TIME: Painting Three Cliffs Bay.

Photograph: Three Cliffs Bay ©J.Shepherd

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