Wednesday, 31 March 2010


An amazing place, desolate and haunting.

Two abandoned lighthouses and one very, very long windy, narrow road(ish) covered in sand – imagine a beach bridle path only half width, with more sand, more wind and the North sea breaking over you to your left and the Humber estuary lapping at your tyres to the right.

Spurn Head is 3 miles long and is managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, who maintain the incredible diversity of plant and wildlife with a light touch.

From the end of Spurn Head you can just about make out Hull (not that you would want to).

The Humber estuary is immense.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Withernsea is populated by mental boy racers and a big ol’ sea, but it’s an interesting place.

A superb, enormous lighthouse bang in the middle of the town on Hull Road is impressive at 127' tall.

I distinctly got the feeling that the entire town was below sea level so I climbed up onto the dyke and I was right, the whole place should be and probably will be swallowed up by the North sea.

But as impressive as the lighthouse and North sea dyke are, the most interesting fact about Withernsea was its battle with Tesco...

...along the main street are loads of stores including Coop, Lidl and Aldi, in place of the previous independent supermarket, Proudfoot.
Proudfoot, although winner of the Best Independent Retailer Award in 2002, was driven out of business by Tesco.
Following the unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Proudfoot Supermarket, Tesco opened a competing store which originally struggled to attract sales. Tesco resorted to a campaign of price flexing, offering customers £8 off for every £20 spent in their Withernsea branch.
This led to an investigation by the Competition Commission.
After their market share increased, Tesco returned their prices to the national average.

Every little helps...

Monday, 29 March 2010

HORNSEA & the erosion of England

Hornsea is a weird little, run down town, and like many seaside resorts of yesteryear its facilities have been allowed to deteriorate.

Home of the famed Hornsea pottery makers of fantastic sixties ceramics the town does at least have the Hornsea pottery museum, however how long that will last who knows; as despite Hornseas many coastal defences such as sea walls, groynes and beach nourishment the cliff-based shoreline is eroding at one of the fastest-known rates in Europe.

The erosion is at its worst at either end of the main teak promenade.

The cliffs between Hornsea and Spurn Head are being eaten away as a child eats chocolate cake – at an alarming rate. 12ft a year of the rich chestnut mud slides into the North sea.

So dramatically that the local council have built a ‘viewing area’, though how long that will be there for who knows?

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Not much to say about Bridlington except just think of Morrisseys ‘Every Day Is Like Sunday’

Friday, 26 March 2010


You’re first view of the Flamborough Cliffs is simply breathtaking – it helps that they are almost pure white and the sun is glaring off them.

Then look back towards Scarborough and you suddenly realise just how BIG they are – enormous.

Sea birds chattering, sea foaming, gorgeous turquoise water – no wonder so many folks choose these cliffs as their jump of choice.

The cliff top pathway is dotted with poignant small bunches of flowers.

North Landing is home to half a dozen brightly painted small fishing boats which helps to make the cove picture perfect.

Simply a stunning spot.

Note to self: Remember to put the van in reverse when parking at the cliff edge!

Thursday, 25 March 2010


The original seaside holiday hotspot, all on the back of one persons clever marketing of a natural spring near the beach with 'miraculous healing powers'.
Scarborough became an overnight success and is still a great resort especially if you have kids.

The seafront is surprisingly well looked after with re-vamped walk ways and well designed seating, all backed by a rash of arcades and rock shops.

A superbly proportioned well used fishing harbour overlooked by a beautiful bronze art deco female diver.

Yachts, nets and floats and two (count em') superb Blue Flag beaches.

Maybe not the place for a romantic getaway but definitely one for the kids (of any age).

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Tumbling down hill like a pack of badly stacked cards, picture postcard in the extreme. Most of the cottages and lanes are only accessible to those on a diet of lettuce and mineral water. Visitors with a liking for McDonalds should be aware of the narrow lanes.
Red roofs abound as do trinket shops leading down to the sandy/rocky/sandy/pooly/rocky beach.
Found the crazy stone on the beach in a pool – which has this inscription written on it on it in black permanent ink…"If you were here to see me speed writing on stone watching ink dry, waiting for the joke that's never told, would you speak or try to read? Look under and wonder where I've gone?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Fantastic town, very historic and upbeat.

Piers, bridges spanning the river Esk, reconstructed Cpt Cook ships, the best fish n chips ever, arcades, fabulous beaches, jet…

The home of Captain James Cook, olde worlde photographer Frank Sutcliffe and Dracula (temporary home).

I only saw one charity shop and at least 274 pubs, 169 restaurants and 4 fish n chip shops, 3 quays, 4 piers, 3 lighthouses…

Tiny alleyways with cobbles and jewellers, little archways to hidden courtyards, a marina, a proper well used fishing harbour with a great fish market, a fantastic iron bridge...

Whitby is like a giant Dartmouth with arcades, the beaches of Newquay and the charm of St Ives with cherries on.

Monday, 22 March 2010


Beautiful town, very olde worlde.
Great looking pubs, restaurants and galleries.
Superb, perfectly proportioned harbour with loads of cobles, (the small fishing boats particular to the North East).

Most houses have the second home look to them with Farrow & Ball doors and wooden decoys in the windows, but don't let that put you off, Staithes is still a working fishing village, well, one full time working fishing boat, instead of the 80 boats working 100 years ago.

Staithes was also the original home of Captain James Cook before he did a runner to Whitby after being accused of having his hand in the till at the local grocers.

I'm in good company painting at Staithes as the beauty of the village was home to a small group of twenty to thirty artists known as the "Staithes Group". The group contained renowned artists such as Edward Anderson, Joseph Bagshawe, Thomas Barrett and James Booth... no I'd never heard of them either, great work though!

The old Post Office woman is a bit grumpy, must be sitting in the shop all day with just me as a customer buying a giant Marathon (sorry, Snickers).

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Hartlepool is famous for allegedly executing a monkey during the Napoleonic Wars. According to legend, fishermen from Hartlepool watched a French warship founder off the coast, and the only survivor was a monkey, which was dressed in French military uniform, presumably to amuse the officers on the ship. The unsophisticated fishermen assumed that this must be what Frenchmen looked like, and after a brief trial, summarily executed the monkey.

Now in 2010 for the first time Hartlepool will host the Tall Ships Race, so beware all French tall ships.

My study is of the big old harbour in the sun, chug, chug, chug of the boats, the smell of diesel and tar.

Friday, 19 March 2010


For a description of Sunderland see 'Newcastle' below and simply change the names.
Also change the football shirts from Black and White to Red and White.
Don't tell anyone from Sunderland I said that though, or anyone from Newcastle for that matter...

Thursday, 18 March 2010


Newcastle is awesome, specially when it gets dark, well, actually, it's just a little scary when it gets dark.
When I'm sitting on the quayside with my paints, dressed like a tramp, painting the amazing bridges, I seem to attract all the nutters; funny that!
Completely full of character, the city, the bridges and the people, a fantastic tonic to make up for my time spent at Amble. (see below). Just discovered the Bigg Market, but as I'm covered in paint and carrying a couple of Tesco carrier bags full of acrylics with pockets full of brushes, I feel that I don't quite fit in?
Anyway enough ramblings...Newcastle deserved two studies, one in the evening on the banks of the Tyne reflecting the neon and street lights and the other in the morning from further down the river.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


ALNMOUTH viewed from the other side of the river looks very picturesque – like a scruffy Balamory, yachts, bright houses, restaurants n pubs but I need to get to....

...AMBLE, a large town at the mouth of the river, looking up towards the very impressive Warkworth castle. I found a sign that states 'friendliest town in the UK', not much sign of that!?
Large marina, small harbour and fearless seagulls watch me paint the fishing boats.

Note to self: Don’t bother coming back.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Small, scruffy harbour, with excellent kippers. Had a hot, buttered kipper in a roll £3.50 very good.
The Glaswegian chef told me that this is as busy as it gets around here – i.e. not very.
I queued at the kipper stall behind a Geordie coach driver who told me where (and where not) to go in Newcastle “Ayeman, the girls down the Bigg Market are right up for it and forward too, they just wanna take you home, and then in the morning kick you out – it’s everymans dream man!

He bought a Kipper roll as well.

Monday, 15 March 2010


A charming little town facing the amazingly gaunt ruins of Dunstanburgh castle.
Consisting mainly of a bunch of holiday homes around a tiny harbour with half a dozen beautiful cobles.
This area really reminds me of Scilly.
The same houses, small quayside and small roads covered in sand and marram grass.
Not cold but windy and grey.
Massive lime kilns owned by the National Trust in which the fishermen store their gear back the tiny quayside.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Wow, what a lovely place – beautiful village, loads of 1920s houses, fabulous soft white beaches and acres of dunes and all dominated by a castle that puts Windsor to shame. Built of stone almost the same colour as the Alhambra, a honey/pink/rose stone. The best castle I’ve seen.
Gazing out over the crashing waves to the Farne Islands with their gorgeous red and white lighthouse, the home of Grace Darling.
The village is sleepy and quiet – great looking pub/restaurant, menu looks very tempting....

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Grey day, bleak and wonderful.
Wanted to spend more time here but the tide is coming in fast. The sign says to cross until 8.30am and its now 8.10am or Ill be cut off and marooned until mid afternoon – bad timing on either my part or the tides.
Very, very quiet, very long causeway.

Seals calling in the distance...


Driving up from Penzance the radio announced that the whole of England was hot and sunny except the North East.

Arrived to cold and grey after a 11 hour drive, it makes Penzance seem like St Tropez.

Berwick is a very curious place – great Georgian (and older) archiecture, it just needs a damn good scrub. The town is built on more layers than Gormenghast and has more secret passageways, look out points and cobbledy streets than St Ives. Unfortunately 50% of all the shops are closed down, pubs are burned down and the streets run down.

No real sign of life except a non-stop convoy of Chelsea tractors and BMW’s.

The bridges are superb though. The Jacobean bridge catches the evening sun and the honey/rose stone begins to look like a box of crayons left to melt in the sun.

The campsite looks down over the mouth of the Tweed immediately next to the local amateur football ground.

Between shouts of “to me, to me” I hear distant bells – I presume they must emante from the very old, very big church in Berwick, but soon realise that the bells actually come from the Berwick ice cream van doing the rounds on the camp site.

I am overlooking the ermmm ‘lovely sandy beach’ at ermmm ‘Spittal’.

Berwick could be, should be one of Northumberlands jewels.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Read all about it, read all about it!

From an interview with Frank Rhurmund.

GLYN Macey, one of the UK's foremost young artists, recently embarked on a yearlong project to paint some of the most beautiful and spectacular National Trust landscapes.

The resulting paintings are available as signed, numbered, limited editions in aid of the National Trust to help conserve Britain's landscapes.

Glyn's project covers 10 regions throughout the British Isles, including his native Cornwall. "I couldn't wait to get to grips with my home county. The light is extraordinary, and together with the ever-changing colours in the moors and sea, It makes the whole area completely compelling for an artist".

Glyn Macey is no stranger to putting his artistic talents to good use, having completed a major project for the RNLI last year. Painting 180 locations around the English coast, he raised more than £22,000 for them.

Gill Raikes, the National Trust's director of fund-raising, said: "Glyn is a wonderful supporter of the National Trust and he obviously loves the landscapes in our care. His paintings capture the light and perspectives of the rolling moorlands and shimmering waters so well, and I have really enjoyed hearing about how he uses so many different techniques and methods of paint."

Accompanying the paintings is the second DVD produced by Cornwall's Three S Films, from a series of DVDs following the project. It features the artist painting on location at Boscastle, St Anthony Head, Rinsey, Logan Rock, Cape Cornwall, Crowns Mine at Botallack, Godrevy, Kynance, Bedruthan Steps and St Michael's Mount, as well as in the artist's studio.

In the films Glyn explains his techniques and gives tips and advice. This film includes music especially written by Adam Reece, and features the original piano composition First Light, which was recorded at the Parr Street Studios in Liverpool – the studio formerly owned by Genesis.

To acquire one of the limited edition prints or the DVD and support the National Trust at the same time, see where each month 10 new paintings will be posted.

Glyn will also be exhibiting his work at National Trust properties around the UK in 2010.

A preview screening of the film takes place tonight at Penzance Arts Club.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Today I'm writing the first of a series of articles for The Artist magazine.
It is all about working 'plein air' which is the French term for 'outdoors' particularly in reference for painting.
Of course my home town of Newlyn is well known for the celebrated Newlyn School who were masters of the plein air technique, so it's not too difficult for me to find inspiration.
The image shown is one of my own plein air attempts, made at Dungenes.

I love the writing process, always have done, but does anyone know the plural for 'plein air'?