Take part in art
PUBLISHED: 18:01 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 18:01 10 February 2014
Richard Nichols takes a closer look around our county with his Suffolk Sketchbook. this month he looks at a place where traditional scenes sit alongside contemporary science
‘February fill dyke’ was an expression I heard when growing up, as used by worldly – or rather county – wise Suffolk sages after they had personally observed changes in seasonal weather patterns over many years to give a fair summary of what was in store for the coming weeks. Let us hope enough wind and rain has battered us already over the past few months to allow opportunities to venture out with our art gear and take advantage of the lengthening daylight hours.
This month we visit the small, serene coastal community of Sizewell, which has literally been overpowered by the continuing presence of the nuclear industry with sites A and B now threatening to add C to their alphabet amid rather alarmist coverage concerning any possibility of “the lights going out”.
However, these buildings do indeed offer suitable subject matter and as shown in my painting above can be made more attractive with the inclusion of certain elements which are part of the surrounding landscape. However, look beyond the dark block of Magnox Station A and Sizewell B’s dome and there are many features in the area which are well worthy of time to study, sketch and paint.
Disused offshore structures certainly do add interest to what can sometimes be a rather flat North Sea horizon and the area where warm water outlets venture into the ocean usually attract a host of gulls swooping and feeding to add to the atmospheric colours and ever-changing forms offered by the waves.
Almost unnoticed and standing near a flagpole is a memorial to 32 brave Dutchmen who tackled these unpredictable waves in their canoes during the Second World War in order to escape from occupied Europe. The journey took 56 hours and their aim was to join the Allied forces but sadly only eight survived the crossing with three of those making it through the war.
Adjacent to the sand and shingle coastal stretch are 134 hectares of SSSI marshes, reedbeds and woodland known as Sizewell Belts, where an abundance of flora and fauna can be patiently observed under the management of Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
Move along the beach however, to take in both old and new aspects of small scale sea fishing as modern moulded boats stand alongside more traditional wooden hulls – and rusty winches straddle the dunes with boxy equipment stores, sheds and associated paraphernalia – before turning to take in a medley of dwellings, chimneys and yet more chanting seagulls on the rooftops.
It is reassuring to see other small local businesses survive here, with a warm and welcoming café run enthusiastically by a young couple and tucked beside the car park.
All this bountiful scenery and hard subject matter does offer artists a tremendous challenge, so follow the pylons until you reach the sea and spend a few hours reflecting on the changes in this corner of the Suffolk Coast with your pencils, pens and paints.
Learn how to paint with Richard’s in Suffolk magazine every month. www.buyamag.co.uk