Inspired By The Coast

Life isn't about waiting for a storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.  - Vivian Greene

Generations of artists, craftspeople, writers and musicians have used the South West Coast Path as their muse, its inspiration reflected in their work. From noted authors like Daphne Du Maurier, Rudyard Kipling and Agatha Christie to iconic sculptors like Barbara Hepworth and Sir Antony Gormley, all have left their mark.

Today, the Coast Path continues to inspire so many people to create works of art that express their thoughts and feelings in new and unique ways. As part of Every Mile Matters, we’re sharing just some examples of the amazing works being created – all Inspired By The Coast.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all the artists who are working with us on this project. With the Trail off limits for so many of us just now, we hope the collection we are curating will bring some comfort and solace until we can all return to the places we love.  

If you're an artist whose work has been inspired by the coast, be it poetry, prose, painting or pottery – get in touch to see how you can be involved. We'll be updating this page regularly so check back often to see more great work. 

We also have a 'Have a Go' Coast Path Crafts page with fun activities for you to get creative. 

Linocut artist Keith Tunnicliffe

   

Top L-R: Swallows over the Coast Path; Mansands, South West Coast Path

Bottom L-R: The Breakwater, Brixham; Trawlers on the Brixham Quayside 

Linocut artist Keith Tunnicliffe is based in the beautiful seaside town of Brixham, where the South West Coast Path runs along its coast. Over the years, he has taken a great deal of inspiration from the landscape for his art.
 
Keith said, “My love of the UK coastline has been my inspiration for my art for many years and continues to fuel my imagination for many more works to come. Each stroll, walk or ramble changes each and every day for us all, especially an artist, as the weather and the seasons continue to illuminate our skies, seas and landscape. The linocut artwork of Mansands, viewed from Sharkham, despite the many walks and photographs I have was inspired by a photograph in Devon Life. I used a floor covering, rather than my soft lino I usually use, in order to achieve the feel I looked for. I also changed my reduction printing approach for effect and depth of colour. My favourite stretch is from Brixham to Kingswear as it contains many differing aspects of coastal features though the choices remain endless.”
 
Discover more of Keith's work on his website

Award-winning author Raynor Winn

One of the most popular books inspired by the South West Coast Path, is The Salt Path. It's a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlised for both the 2018 Costa Biography Award & The Wainwright Prize. It tells the true story of a couple who lost everything and embarked on a 630 mile journey of salvation. Here at the Association, we're lucky to have author Raynor Winn as an offical amabassador for our charity, and as part of Inspired By The Coast Raynor has recorded this speacial reading. Enjoy!

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.  

Visit Gemma’s website to see examples of her work. You can also find and follow her on Instagram.

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.

'Selkie' a poem by Daisy Edwards

Transport yourself to the coast with this evocative poem from Daisy Edwards, inspired by the sights, sounds and sense of longing conjured up by the sea. 

'Wow' a poem by Rob Casey

Thank you to Rob Casey for penning this original poem about the wonders of the South West Coast Path. You can find all the details of the photos we've used to illustrate this poem in the description of the video. Find more from Rob on his blog

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

Paintings by Lydia Jane Duncan

A selection of pieces from artist, printmaker, painter and surface pattern designer Lydia Jane Duncan. Check out more of her work here @candyland_studios_thegallery

Somerset by Liv Torc

Home to the start of our beloved National Trail, Liv Torc tells us about the hidden wonders of Somerset in this beautiful poem on the theme of home truths. Get to know Liv and her work over at her website.

Cream Tea Philosophy by Rob Casey

Are you jam or cream first? Either way, make a brew and enjoy this brilliant poem by the Bard of Exeter City FC, Rob Casey. Find more from Rob on his blog

Prayer by Tim Scotson

Actor, writer and poet Tim Scotson, shares this moving poem called Prayer, inspired by the coast. To find more of Tim's work, follow him on Twitter @TJScotson or Instagram @tjscotson