Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two days at glorious Pinmill, on the River Orwell 23rd & 24th September

Receding Tide at Pin mill  9" x 12" oil on panel 2 hours
For a long while I have been itching to be able to visit this tiny little part of Suffolk. Blink and you have missed its treasures, yet it is one of the most popular destinations for marine artists that can be found along the East coast of England. Pinmill is situated east of Ipswich in Suffolk, nestling along the southern banks of the great river Orwell. It has been painted so many times that locals think nothing of seeing an artist set up his/her plein air pallette and start work. We are, it is said, as common as a gull, and you know all said and done, that's fine. This tiny community is based around a 15ft slipway and a few hundreds yards of concrete walkway known as the 'Hard'  that extends out into the river across the expanse of mud at low tide, and one extremely old and popular pub called the 'Butt and Oyster'. You know on a good tide boats can tie up to the pub and be served their drinks whilst remaining on board their vessels. Believe it or not this Pinmill was the main point for early shipping imports to be landed, bound for Ipswich. It is also the location for the last known outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, now there's a thought.

Anyway enough of the history lesson. We arrived in the camper full of eager anticipation, paint boxes and cameras in hand.Sadly the sun was not really with us and the light was flat, but hey a little licence, and it was not such an issue. We arrived as the tide was reaching full height, by this I mean that it was over the wall and across the road, cutting the place in two parts, apparantly this is normal, and even more extreme on flood tides. I set up and started work immediately, I chased the tide as it left the road and retreated back across the expanse of mud. The colours were so rich and diverse, violets and oranges in the mud, all complemented by the famous Thames Barges now resting in the shallows, their rich red sails contrasting beautifully with the indigos and blue violets in the sky. The whole scene was idyillic, and transported one back a hundred years.

As the light faded we packed up and sat where we had been painting, drinking a pint from the Butt and Oyster and chatting about the fabulous afternoon. Catherine had sourced some great photographs along the way as I had  painted. We finished the evening over a wonderful meal and a welcome glass of wine whilst  looking out across the river from the pub. As the sun gave way to night so the mood of the river sank deeper and deeper into an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

                                        Beached Barges at Pinmill       9" x 12"   oil on panel

 This was a painting that I gave time to, it was started at 11am and was 2 1/2 hours duration.We had been up  at first light capturing the beauty of the area on film, so breakfast came late and we were paddling in the fresh mud of the Orwell at 6am.
After our well deserved breakfast, I settled down to paint the image above, whilst Catherine carried on with the camera,  the colours were now all different as the barges shone from their beached and trapped positions on the mud. Watery pools  lay as jewels amongst the reds and purples of mud and green weed attaching to ropes anchoring these great vessels. Once again the race was on to capture the essence and feeling of the scene before once more the tide returned to reclaim its land.

Relunctantly we had to say goodbye to Pinmill as the tide reached full height for another time, and we will wait for yet another time to revisit this fantastic place, I now see what Edward Seago saw, it was his great art that led me here, and I am thankful for that.
I hope that you enjoy this post and my art within it.
Best wishes Paul

1 comment:

  1. Well-written and well-painted. But what the hell should we know?!


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