Inspired By The Coast
We’re harnessing the power of art, music and poetry to lift people’s spirits during this difficult time, bring the Path to people virtually and celebrate the amazing people who are Inspired By The Coast.
With the help of poets, painters, potters and other independent artists across the south west, our Inspired By The Coast series celebrates different perspectives on what the Trail means to people and demonstrates how it creatively inspires and supports people in such different ways.
Scroll down to learn more about our growing community of artists and see examples of their work.
Artist Ellie Verrecchia
Ellie is an artist based in South Devon who is not only #InspiredByTheCoast, she creates her art on the Coast Path itself. We caught up with Ellie to find out more about how she approaches her work and why the Coast Path is important to her. Read the full article here.
“My inspiration and my stomping ground is the shoreline of South Devon where I live – the soft hills, headlands, estuaries and sweeping sandy coves of the natural landscape from Noss Mayo to Bantham, and the sugary coloured buildings along the water line at Salcombe.
"I seek out beautiful, natural places to set up makeshift beach studios on site, carrying my materials on my back along the South West Coast Path trail, and painting en plein air onto natural materials, mainly textural cotton paper and beach-found driftwood.
I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors. Playing with the colours of the sea in inky tones of blue and hues of turquoise is my way of connecting to the natural environment and rhythm of life here. I’m interested in the natural ripples and sweeping arcs the tide leaves along the shore, and the silhouettes of sea pines, garden palms, wildflowers, and sea grasses.”
Examples of Ellie's work
To see more of Ellie’s work follow her on Instagram @EVpaintsthesea or visit her website www.ellieverrecchia.co.uk You can also find her in the artists section of the Brownston Gallery website www.brownstonart.com
Artist/Printmaker Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson is a linocut artist based in North Devon who brings a conscious environmental element to her beautiful creations. Working from The Old Schoolroom Craft Gallery in Lee, near Ilfracombe Louise makes lino prints and etchings of the landscape and beachcomber prints from her walks.
“Beach cleaning is an important part of living by the sea, I feel we have a duty of care for the environment and collecting plastic waste that’s washed up is something I’ve started to incorporate into my art works. I create etching plates of shells and pebbles, printing these alongside the found rubbish and lay it out as a collection. When I create my lino prints, I really enjoy the challenge of simplifying the landscape into just three or four colours. Sketches and photographs taken on Coast Path walks are the starting point. My favourite walks are around Morte Point, Woolacombe and Lee Bay. The Coast Path in North Devon has dramatic rocks, and these translate well into Linocut prints, carving the sea patterns into the blocks is one of my favourite things! I can’t imagine not living by the sea, the Coast Path provides such an amazing inspiration and during lockdown I realised how lucky we are to live so close to it.”
Examples of Louise's work
To see more of Louise’s work, visit her Instagram page @wildcoastart
Crafter Lindsay Derbyshire
During the lockdowns this year, Mum of three, Lyndsay Derbyshire from North Devon looked to the coast to help her through the stresses of life that came with home-schooling, work, and her husbands shift patterns. She joined a cold-water swimming group, as a way to connect with nature and socialise with other adults. It was then, that she got #InspiredByTheCoast and began a brand-new creative craft.
“I am fortunate to live adjacent to the South West Coast Path. Be it from Solstice sunrises over the Bristol Channel, to amazing sunsets looking down on Ilfracombe, the Coast Path has always been my go-to place throughout the year to clear the head. This year I have been cold water swimming with the Hele Bay Merbabes as a way to connect both with nature, and one day mid-summer, surrounded by lots of thick, sticky, slippery seaweed the sunlight caught it in such a way it shimmered in front of me. I started looking at them differently and through them. I had a moment of inspiration, so I foraged a couple of specimens and brought them home to press and show how beautiful and colourful there really are. I also started learning to identify the different species. I am now part of an artist’s collective in Ilfracombe and have recently started displaying my work in a local gallery.
Examples of Lindsay's work
Abstract painter Jo Brown
Jo Brown is an abstract painter who lives on the coast of Lancashire. In any ‘normal’ year, she’d be making a trip down to Cornwall to walk the Coast Path, which has inspired many of her works so far. Due to Covid, such a trip hasn’t been possible, but Jo hopes to return to the Path sometime next year. Her work is inspired by the coast, the sea and water in general. Jo also explores other themes such as environment and mental health. When she’s not painting, Jo works as a physiotherapist in a specialist nursing home. We asked her why the Coast Path is so important to her.
“The Coast Path enriches my life and is a source of inspiration for my art. I particularly love North Cornwall and the lesser trod paths. Every aspect of it brings out the best of feelings: the anticipation and sense of achievement; the awe and wonder yet being connected and immersed in the environment with each step and breath. The energy and fluid interaction between land, sea and sky and the feelings of being there are both an inspiration and a challenge to express.”
Examples of Jo's work
To see more of Jo’s work, visit her Facebook Page.
Painter Fi Smith
Meet Fiona Smith, an artist from Saltford in Somerset who’s paintings are inspired by her walks on the Coast Path. When she’s not painting, Fi is a carer for her two Autistic children and works part-time as a Special Education Needs (SEN) teaching assistant. Fi told us that walking the Coast Path and having time to do her artwork provides a much-needed respite from the challenges of daily life. One of her favourite sections is walking Lulworth to Weymouth.
“Becoming a member and starting my journey to walk the Path has literally changed my life. It has become my time to enjoy adventure, get much needed headspace, exercise and calm - all rolled into one. There's quite literally nowhere I would prefer to spend time.
Examples of Fiona's work
“Art has been an extension of the wonderful feeling I get from spending time on the Path. When I paint, I get to relive the beauty all over again. ‘Wow’ is probably the word I use most when walking the Path. Every time another awe-inspiring expansive view comes up, I can't believe I have discovered somewhere more beautiful than the one before. I have covered sections dotted around each area and hope to complete more each year. I spend most of my time dreaming about, painting or making lists and plans for next places to visit.
Expressive artist Rachel Stanton
Meet emerging expressive artist Rachel Stanton, who lives and works in Westleigh near Bideford. Rachel told us just how important the Coast Path has been to her this past year and how it continues to inspire her work. #InspiredByTheCoast
“I found my way back to art last year as a form of therapy. I spent many long hours on the South West Coast Path during my recovery and without the space and beauty and ease of access, to the Path, I'm not sure where I would be right now.
“Walking the path along Appledore, Westward Ho! and along the cliffs at Abbotsham and further down to Morwenstowe or along to Croyde and Baggy Point. This ability to have the unique perspective that walking along the Coast Path offers has fed into my daily art practice.
“During lockdown, the Coast Path became even more important for me to maintain my mental health and a burst of super creativity was born. I tried out different styles and mediums and used my daily walks to inform my paintings. I can't imagine not being able to live so near to the sea and not have access to the Coast Path.”
Here are some examples of her work:
Artist Hester Berry
Hester Berry is an artist from North Devon who explores the ways paint can be used to represent effects such as light, time, movement and climate. Much of her work is inspired by the North Devon coast and the seasons that change the landscape throughout the year.
Hester explained, "Having grown up in rural Devon, I have always been interested in landscape and the environment. I use the marks available to me as economically as possible, distilling the image, feeling, moment into what is necessary, so that through objective representation there is enough room for subjective interpretation. "
Linocut artist Keith Tunnicliffe
Meet artist Gemma Lessinger
Based in Newquay, Gemma Lessinger creates textural and sensory pieces inspired by the coast of Cornwall like this one titled 'Shoreline Crantock'.
Gemma says “With the stunning Cornish coast on my studio doorstep, I paint to try to convey the sheer beauty of the beaches of Cornwall. I am mesmerised by the immense power of the waves and the colours that appear in the deep waters. I paint so that people can feel the sea spray on their skin and the sand between their toes. The Covid 19 pandemic has made this even more important to me – to share the beauty of what people can’t currently reach.
The South West Coast Path enables me to explore these stunning parts of our county. It is my absolute favourite past time – packing up the car with a picnic and the walking boots and heading off to explore a new part of the path. The extraordinary thing for me is that I keep discovering a new section! A new vantage over a view I thought I knew inside out. Discovering a new little cove between two beaches I have spent endless hours on. Without the South West Coast Path half of my paintings would not exist.
These Hands Make Wood Cuts by Merlyn Chesterman
This beautiful film from film maker Jess Pearson from North Devon captures Merlyn Chesterman, a print maker from Hartland, at work.
Merlyn said ‘The sea is of daily interest to me, whether I am in it or on it or watching it. To be in it marks the moment, now, between the past and the future. Nothing else matters. I swim most days. To be on it is a journey. And when I am looking, it is to try to begin to understand. And then I do what I do, make woodblock prints.’
More of Merlyn’s work can be found on her website. This film is part of Jess’s ‘Maker Series’ which celebrates local ‘artists and their making in the modern world’ to see others in the series click here.
Meet artist Kurt Jackson
Contemporary British landscape artist Kurt Jackson is Dorset born and now lives in Cornwall. He has an amazing collection of works Inspired By The Coast. Watch the video to discover more about him as an artist, environmentalist, and click here to see some of his south west based work including his fascinating Turner's Tourism project.
Coastal art by Leah Wade 'From Land and Sea'
Designer Leah Wade shares her coastal inspired art with us and explains why the Path is so important to her:
"There is nothing quite like the Coast Path. Being able to follow the path ahead of you allows you to truly take the time to absorb the beauty of the coast and clear your mind. It is medicinal and has been my go to when I need that feeling of freedom and peace. The SWCP is the home to our adventures. The trigger for our walking passion and the initial inspiration behind us developing From Land and Sea; a way to celebrate our adventures and share our love for the great outdoors."
Find more from Leah on her Instagram.