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Turning of the Tide
122cm x 122cm, Watercolour on paper, 2021

Turning of the Tide web.jpg

A mandala exploring the constantly changing, liminal and luminous place, where sky meets sea meets land.


This painting is an ode to the place where I live, which is an edge place, flanked by estuary and salt marsh, sand dunes and shoreline, wide skies and open sea. It gets very windy and wild, is home to some extraordinary wildlife, is constantly changing and fabulously beautiful.

This is the 'Shining Edge' referred to in the title of my website.

A physical place and also a metaphorical place: a bright, sharp blade of exquisite attention; a path between worlds; a liminal place of mystery and possibility.

The geometry is eightfold in the centre, opening out into a design inspired by a Pictish (Celtic) pattern of interlocking spirals.

Each spiral is a bundle of three, which I have intended as representing inter-weaving elements. Water, air and earth, or water, light and air.

The Wider Context of the mandala includes the changing weather, seasons and background of uncertainty, provoked by the global Covid pandemic and accelerating climate change. So much turbulence!

The Core energy  is a deep sense that the Tide is Turning. The era of global capitalism is drawing to a close, as necessity dictates. And as the tide turns, we experience ebbs and counter currents which stir things up and muddy the waters. All is chaos for a while, exciting yet dangerous for swimming,  carrying flotsam and jetsam, reshaping the shoreline, leaving the beach forever changed.

The wildlife

Work on the painting has spanned the months from July to December, from the flowering of Sea Asters to the onslaught of winter storms. All the beings included hold special significance to me:

Curlew and Oystercatcher hold the foreground, along with salt marsh plants Marsh Samphire, Lesser Sea Spurrey, Sea Aster. Also bladderwrack seaweed. 

Curlews  are the largest of European waders. They have a very distinctive burbling cry, which echoes across the estuary as they come to land in the field behind my studio, in winter. I love the elegant curved beak. They are now on the amber list of endangered species here in the UK (more on this).

Oystercatcher is a much bolder being, with a sharp clear call, marking territory, ranging the shoreline in search of cockles. Also amber listed.

In the bottom corners, are green shore crab and hermit crab.

Hermit crabs are enchanting opportunists who make temporary homes inside empty whelk and periwinkle shells, and you see them skittering along the tideline.

In the upper realms of the mandala, I have included Herring Gulls (who nest on my roof), Black headed gulls and a compass Jellyfish. I couldn't resist!

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