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Back on the Harbourside

On Irvine Harbourside

"On Irvine Harbourside"

You know, it really is good to be back on the Harbourside. Over the last week I have seen it under a great variety of conditions. Summer is definitely on the way out here and we have had the first of the autumn gales. What makes it extra special at this time of year are the big tides.

With my studio set just the width of the road and the old wooden quay away from the river, I am in a prime location to watch the changing seasons and conditions. On Friday it was a beautiful day here – bright skies, white clouds and the afternoon sun bringing out all the late summer colours of the saltings that lie between the River Irvine and the River Garnock. It was so good that I had to down brushes for a bit and just stand in my studio doorway, taking it all in. There were the ever present calls of curlews, oyster catchers and gulls…it was just great.

By Monday though, it was all change. I walked up the Harbourside to my studio, head down against the wind and rain and with all the usual views across the saltings completely gone – shrouded in a thick murk that was blowing in from the sea. It was great! – well, it was once I’d reached my studio and could watch it from my doorway. We have these old fashioned little street lights along the front of the harbour and for some reason, when there is a gale blowing, many of them create an eerie, but very atmospheric, whistling sound. Even in these conditions though, the light is still very special. Added to this, was a very high tide and as the day went by, the water rose, covering nearly all of the saltings and leaving just a narrow spit of mud and grass between the two rivers. I didn’t have my monocular this day, but normally, in these conditions, the birds congregate in an ever tighter group as the water rises. On this occasion, it didn’t completely cover the narrow strip of land, so I guess their feet stayed dry!

Harbourside, Irvine

"Harbourside, Irvine"


Anyway, after spending the summer painting the buildings in Speyer, it has got me thinking that it might be quite nice to do some work once again, based on the harbourside. When I first moved to the studios back in 2003, I did a number of paintings and drawings based on the buildings and river here. I am not quite sure how I would tackle it now, but here are a few of those earlier attempts.