Dinah and I spent a week in a contemporary beach house called ‘Fog Signal Building’ set in a distinct piece of landscape on the Dungeness headland south of Romney Marsh. Scenery not unlike a bare stage made of shingle on which a few worn and faded props in the form of sheds and beached boats had been placed ready for the sky to perform. The restless rearrangement of cloud and light during our stay never disappointed, a performance full of surprises.
I set out to paint Dungeness Lighthouse and Marconi Signal Shed hoping for a dramatic sky to record but on a breezy day full of light cloud I spent most of the time picturing the ground level view leaving the sky till later in the hope of an atmospheric spectacle, but none came. John Constables ‘alla prima’ cloud studies in Brighton came to mind. I wanted something as dramatic as ‘Seascape study with Rain Cloud’ painted in 1824 … “capturing with slashing dark brushstrokes the immediacy of an exploding cumulus shower at sea” (quote).
Dinah did some reading at the beach house providing another subject for a painting but only for a moment. As the weather deteriorated she proceeded to lay out tools and clay to create ceramic ideas using slabbing and coiling techniques shaping a pair of vases inspired by sea kale, pebbles, colour and light.