Seven Sisters White Cliffs
‘Seven Sisters White Cliffs’
View of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs from Seaford Head. Possibly the most iconic landscape in the UK. The luminous white chalk cliffs face the South low winter sun while slow passing clouds project on the fields flying birds shape shadows and a still sea looks at itself to mirror the view.
Panoramic format. Print size 124 x 30.5 cm approx. Signed print from a limited edition of 100. From original ink drawing to which I apply colour digitally. Printed on fine art paper using archival inks.
Drawing the Seven Sisters cliffs
To draw the Seven Sisters is like writing music. There is a succession and repetition of forms that creates a rhythm of hills and valleys, like music which is also reminiscent of the rhythmic crashing of the ocean waves along the shore. The line of the sea horizon meets the cliffs and follows the curvaceous path along the coast. The cliffs resemble faces looking at the channel with hair made of grass combed by the wind. This poem by Lorca called ‘Frizo’ echoes this vision.
go with their long tails.
The young men of the air
jump over the moon.
Seven Sisters Cliffs
The Seven Sisters cliffs take the name for each of the seven hills that form this landscape. These cliffs are the remnants of dry valleys in the chalk South Downs, which are gradually being eroded by the sea. The name Seven Sisters relates to the number of peaks and dips which are the following: Haven Brow, Short Bottom, Short Brow, Limekiln Bottom, Rough Brow, Rough Bottom, Brass Point, Gap Bottom, Flagstaff Point, Flagstaff Bottom, Flat Hill, Flathill Bottom, Baily’s Hill, Michel Dean and Went Hill Brow. Since I moved to Brighton in 2007 I have paid many visits to the Seven Sisters Country Park. This particular walk starts by taking the train to Seaford, walking along the promenade and then climbing up Seaford Head. Once passed its summit the view of the Seven Sisters is revealed.
Art references: William Blake, Samuel Palmer, Constable, Eric Slater, Arthur Ridgen Read and more.
Have you ever been on a walk in the South Downs in a day with large cumulus clouds that shoot up to the sky? They dwarf any feature in the landscape and turn us into miniscule beings. The sun shimmers in the haze and the cliffs, like limelight in old fashion theatres, project a blinding light to the spectator. Many artists have captured this light and their work is present in my consciousness during the art creation process. Among others I like feel drawn to past artist that have also dwelt and depicted the South East such as Samuel Palmer with his romantic landscapes watercolours of the cliffs, William Blake idyllic images of Felpham, Constable clouds of Brighton and Hove, Eric Slater and Arthur Ridgen soft Japanese woodblock prints of seascapes and seagulls. All these artists captured the light and essence of this land.
A poem: ‘Sea Fever’ by John Masefield
Poetry belongs to a realm between music and painting, the rhyme and repetition and the colourful descriptions take the reader into landscapes created in their minds. This poem below is very close to my heart and during walks along the Sussex Coast I often find myself reciting it.
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
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