The Diving Cormorant under the West Pier



‘The Diving Cormorant under the West Pier.’

This art print  depicts a diving cormorant swimming under water surrounded by the columns of the West Pier in Brighton.

I created this print from my original ink drawings to which I apply colour digitally and then print on fine art paper using archival inks. I issue the formats A1, A2, A3 & A4 as limited editions of 100 where I individually sign and number each print.

If you are observant of wildlife you might have spotted cormorants drying their wings on the ruins of the West Pier in Brighton. These birds are rather elegant with their slender figure, long necks and anthracite iridescent feathers. To my mind comes a poem attributed to Christopher Isherwood that goes like this : “The Common Cormorant or Shag, lays eggs inside a paper bag. The reason you will see no doubt it is to keep the lightning out….” This poem, not short of humour, was composed at a dinner party. Guests set each other the challenge of writing a poem containing a given word. The cormorants are resting on what was previously a beautiful Victorian leisure pier. The West Pier sadly was destroyed by a series of fires and all that remains is its bent structure of rusted wrought iron.

I am an enthusiastic free-diver. I have dived in many oceans with large waves among sea turtles, sharks, stung by jellyfish so many times. I feel honored that my father taught me to dive and have respect and no fear, just holding my breath and going as deep as your ears allowed, decompressing as you go. Like this cormorant. .

Continuing with the theme of the West Pier, last week at the West Pier Centre I completed the base ink drawing for this print. It depicts a cormorant underwater diving among the remains of the West Pier. The challenge was to create a complex image underwater that expresses the rays of the sun coming through, the shimmering surface of the water far above and, the iridescent feathers of the cormorant and its dynamics. So I created four independent drawings that you can see here. Some of these drawings are made negative, colour is added digitally. I know where I am heading but through the process there are always new discoveries. A print is never finished, it looks very flat for a long time, toward the end somehow the image clicks in the brain with emotion, and I feel I am there.

The Diving Cormorant under the West Pier art print

Prints collection Antique Ochre and Blue

‘Antique Blue and Ochre’ is the first tonal palette I created.  I borrowed the colours to form this palette from a miniature painting I saw at the Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco. It depicted a palace in India that I transcribed into my print of the Brighton Royal Pavilion. The Indo-Saracenic style of the Brighton Pavilion validated this exercise. I did it instinctively with the result of a modern prints with evocative echoes from the past.

‘The Diving Cormorant under the West Pier.’ Framed art print

Additional information

Dimensions N/A
Print sizes: standard landscape

Art print A0 size landscape, Art print A1 size landscape, Art print A2 size landscape, Art print A3 size landscape, Art print A4 size landscape


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