Ever since I was a little girl I have loved the sea. I lived in Norfolk, so a drive was always involved. When I was knee-high to a grass hopper, probably only a toddler, I did a mad dash into the baltic North Sea at Southwold, and my poor dad, in hot pursuit, slipped a disc on the pebbly shore fishing me back out again.
However, as I grew older, I liked nothing better than an escape to a wild and windy walk at Waxham, seal spotting at Winterton or Blakeney Point or my absolute favourite Wells-Next-the-Sea or Holkham. These beaches were vast and when the tide was out, the sand never-ending, the sea a blur on the horizon- yet rumour has it that when the tide charges in it races at a speed faster than you can run.
As a child, my mum would take us on camping holidays to Cornwall, generally to a tiny campsite in Port Gaverne where my fearless step dad and step brother would cliff jump into the turquoise depths and the little fishing day boats would litter the beach amongst the knee deep sea weed- giving off that evocative ozone smell that I still love. Other days we’d walk the country lanes or coastal paths until we’d find a tiny cove, preferably to ourselves, or feel extreme, boogy boarding at Trebarwith Strand. If we were very lucky we’d be treated to a boat trip to look for puffins or to go mackerel fishing.
In the evenings we’d head over the hill to the cafes or quay side to select and cook the catch of the day on our little camping stove. One night there was sadly a beached Basking Shark- in my excitement I raced back to my mum to tell her about the enormous “busking whale”!
When selecting Universities I knew I wanted to study Illustration and was aiming high. I didn’t fancy London so Brighton and Falmouth were the other top faculties at the time. I visited Brighton and loved the hubbub of the town and the diversity of people there. When journeying to Falmouth though, I remember my first view when entering the town on the main road; of palm trees and subtropical plants framing the river views with colourful boats bobbing on the river beyond.
The Fox Hill Campus at Falmouth College of Art didn’t disappoint. Again set in subtropical gardens- it was stunning and had the most amazing buzz. I was downright impressed by the unique surfer style and beach vibe. It won my heart and luckily I gained a place there to study.
While studying, I fell in love with a guy who later became my husband and father to my boys. Although we are no longer married we remain close friends and are very much a team. He was, (and still is) a surfer through and through and also had a car! A big deal when most of us didn’t!
He introduced me to many of the most beautiful surfing spots and beaches in Cornwall but despite his best efforts he didn’t manage to convert me to the sport. Instead I preferred stomping the coastal paths, watching the nature, seabirds, flowers and finding out what lay around the next corner.
Fast forward to my new life with my lovely new partner. He also has a very strong affinity to the sea. From Scotland originally, he comes from a long line of fishermen. His family home is harbour-side and we have pictures of his family boats adorning our walls. When visiting his hometown of Eyemouth I love watching the fishing boats and lifeboat cruising in and out of the harbour from the bedroom windows. He still works within the fishing industry, and although he doesn’t go out on the boats, is passionate about fish, the oceans and the traditions. I’ve been lucky enough to accompany him on fact finding missions about canneries in Brittany, watch the fishing fleets at work and admire the incredible packaging of their tinned fish. Since then we have met wonderful people in the Basque region of Spain who have, in turn, introduced us to their amazing products and representative artwork surrounding sardine canning.
Finally my little men. My boys. Water-babies from the start! Bundles of energy! With their dad a keen surfer, mum a happy beach dweller and soon-to-be step-dad happy to be in or on the water in anyway possible, it was going to happen. Both have swum competitively and both are very active within our local Surf Life Saving Club, and when not surfing you’ll find them snorkelling, paddle boarding, swimming or Ringo-ing if they’re lucky enough to get the opportunity, with me transporting or facilitating their whims.
So, you can probably imagine that my home and world is saturated with the influences of coastal living. From pictures, food and colour choices within my home, it was fairly inevitable that my worlds would collide and my subject matter and colour selections would reflect the big influences in my life. To see exactly how, pop over and have a look at my coastal ranges.