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creature of habit

A new canvas is prepared on my easel and ancient Corfe Castle stands proud, waiting for my brush. A friend pops in with a purple carrying crate for my new puppy. Adorable Sunny is now the biggest in the mischievous, chaotic litter. He´s got all kinds of exciting presents waiting for him, including a swimming pool for the summer.

She rolls her eyes: Again? Don´t you ever get fed up with painting the same pictures? This stops me in my tracks. As I take a sip of my morning coffee, I confess that I´d go and make another cup if it didn´t taste the same as it always does. But it isn´t like that with painting at all.

I live on the spectacular Jurassic coast where there are so many incredible, iconic landmarks which seem to me to be always, yet never the same. When a painting is finished and ready to go out into the world, I´m happy to let it go, to fulfil the purpose for which it was created: to bring joy. But for some reason, I want these amazing places in my collection so I paint them again, and again..

This new painting and the colours I select from a limited palette will reflect my mood, what´s going on around me in the moment. I might add more texture, use my palette knife for the rocks and and hills, or give it a more abstract or impressionistic feel.

Unlike my mother´s heavenly apple tart which unfailingly tasted the same every time she made it, I´ve never painted Corfe Castle in precisely the same way. I´m not sure I could. I have stopped my car to wonder at a rape field, a carpet of colour so beautiful I must go straight home and paint it. But I don´t experience any connection with this landscape beyond the beauty of the moment.

The landmarks I seem to need in my collection call me at a deeper level. Mystical Stonehenge under a stormy sky, or a summer solstice sunrise in gold leaf, the tranquil horseshoe sweep of Lulworth Cove painted from the west at sunrise, brooding Hengistbury Head where the wind can lift you off your feet as the waves crash on the shore. Durdle Door is on my list for the stunning sunsets and the stark white rock set against the sparkling turquoise sea. I feel the powerful majesty of Corfe Castle and Glastonbury Tor at my core.

My friend´s casual remark prompts me to revisit these places this summer.I haven´t seen them for a while and I wonder if they would feel different today.I suspect not. I can introduce Sunny! These landmarks, some over a thousand years old, are constants in my life. Perhaps they are particularly important to me now because we are experiencing life on shifting sands, obliged to live in the moment, and I´m thankful for the constants.

On a wild day when it´s supposed to be summer, and the hailstones clatter against my window, my favourite coffee brings warmth and comfort. Whatever the weather or world events, these stunning, historic, landmarks exude strength and endurance today just as they always have.

Always yet never the same.

Marja Brown

Landscape Artist

Original paintings and prints in this blog are available from my website. Commissions accepted with joy.

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