September 2008 - Vol. 22

Devon, dreaming out to sea, mixed acrylic watercolor 

Dreaming Out to Sea

new art work by Jamie Treadwell

How the Devon Beach Series was painted
It’s Thursday 12 June 2008, midway through my vacation break in Devon, England. Early in the morning I fill my backpack with paints and brushes and drive out to Hartland Point on the Devon’s northwest coast. A 19th century lighthouse marks the exposed peninsula. Rolling grassland pastures break off in jagged cliffs and tumble down to meet the Atlantic Ocean swell. I scramble down a sheep’s path to an isolated rock outcrop, spread out my painting materials, and spend the day immersed in the wildness of that beautiful place where ocean meets shore.

Devon Hartland Point coast looking north

Devon Hartland Point coast looking south

Devon ridges dance
with the sea

Devon rocks and sea from above
How do I start my painting? I begin by simply being present. It’s about awareness. I feel the bracing strong wind chilling my arms, the bright sun countering with warmth. I savor the smell of the sea - salt water and tidal pools. The sound of the surging surf against the rocks produces a rhythm of deep-bass thunder and the high pitch scurrying of water and shells. As I stand on the ledge taking this all in, prayers of gratitude for existence well up inside me, “Thank you Jesus.” I seek to see through the eyes of the Creator God. The painting experience is not merely a recording of a scene, it’s more like an exploration of awareness recorded in colour and form. 

Devon beach pattern 
series 1

Devon beach pattern 
series 2

Devon beach pattern 
series - breaking waves

Devon rocks - breaking waves 
I know it’s time to start painting, when the scene comes alive with significance. Rather than just a nice coastal scene I see the interaction of the sea, wind, and rocky shore. In the wind whipping up the sea spray against the slate grey of the rock outcrops, I feel the breathing rhythm of the sea between the long fingers of the shore. The translation of experience into image begins. Quick pencil sketches capture ideas. Time disappears. I paint six images. The acrylic sketch “Hartland Point coast looking south” is such an example.

Back in my London studio, the Devon series of paintings takes shape. The interplay between the heaving sea and long slate fingers of rock feature in “Devon ridges dance with sea” and “Triplet”. The paintings move in and out of abstraction as particular themes are explored in the series. I let my imagination run in “Devon, dreaming out to sea.” There are several large scale paintings now in process, each building on the previous body of work. I don’t yet know where the series will conclude. 

Artist website:

Visit my website for updates on the new paintings, and view over 40 paintings in the October “Earth & Water” Exhibition which is being held in London with sculptor Marianne Kantert. The exhibition runs from 17-30 October 2008 These paintings will be for sale in connection with the exhibition.

(c) copyright 2008  The Sword of the Spirit
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