Comparing Seascapes: Sussex and Spain
Two Seascapes, one England, one Spain. In Sussex in England, the sea is a silvery shade of grey. No surprise there, as it is an inseparable reflection of the cloudy skies above, whose repressive covering is broken only by a single glimmer of hope as a glint of light shines through. The seas are active, but not rough, but the winds are sufficiently energetic to catapult the kite surfer across the waters. At the shore the sand is dank and wet, it’s lightening colour resaturated with each swift revolution of the waves.
The only thing Marbella in Spain has in common is the sea. But its colour is a startling warm blue, glimmering almost independently from the yellowing evening skies above. Above the beach, a golden paseo maritimo is fringed with regal palms whose large canopy of leaves hang as silently still as the warm balmy calm air around them. Through the leaves, the multiple strata of a mountain layered landscape each deliver a different shade of soft pink, while in front the white harbour wall of Marbella’s port colours gently to cream in the face of the setting sun.
I painted these two seascapes in 2008 when I was making a more intentional transition from acrylic into oil. These were part of a series of studies I made as I tried out the medium for the first time. Today, they hang at my parents house in Sussex, and it was when I was there this weekend that I was given the opportunity to reflect upon them, and the marked difference between seaside landscapes.
It comes at a pertinent time: in just a few days I will leave England, including the Sussex seaside town where I grew up for 18 years and which is featured in the seascape above. I will then move to Palma de Mallorca, the archetypal Mediterranean city, fringed with glorious palms and benefitting from sunshine almost the whole year around. Yet despite the very obvious benefits of moving to such a paradise, there will always be a part of me that will miss the English coast – for in its silvery wind swept beauty, the sea in England is just as special as in the Med. It’s just that more often than not, you may need a scarf and some gloves in tow to appreciate it.
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