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That Holiday Feeling

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

I was wondering what to do with my day when my daughter phoned out of the blue. What a lovely surprise to spend a warm, happy day painting with my amazing Sam, the first time we´d done that together. Although I’ve often enjoyed painting alongside other artists, this day was particularly special, not least because art often whispers what cannot be expressed in words. It was wonderful to share canvas, brushes, and coffee with Sam. Because we love beach huts, we chose to paint the same image, selected our colours and our paintings turned out quite different, of course. Such is the freedom of artistic expression. I´m lucky to live close to the stunning Dorset coast. I walk there often and it seems we´re all nuts about beach huts!

Colourful, optimistic rows looking cheerfully out to sea, huddled together against the winter cold when bitter winds batter the shore, waiting patiently for the summer holidaymakers to arrive with all the paraphernalia essential for a family day at the beach. Captain seagull perches on the roof, strutting around occasionally, keeping a watchful eye out for chips. Although there are beach huts in other countries, for me they represent a traditional, quintessentially British seaside holiday, like buckets and spades, sandcastles, and ice-cream. They conjure warm summer memories, and fascinate me at the same time, as I stroll along the promenade.

It´s as if a family has opened their living room to the public, oblivious to the crowds walking by, trying not to stare. Grandpa snoozes in his chair, auntie wriggles out of her wet swimsuit, unaware that the towel doesn´t quite reach round the back, the kettle´s boiling. Mum´s doing the crossword, Dad´s on his phone and happy, sandy children dart back and forth. Bonnie would smell the barbecue long before I did, and vanished into the crowd. I searched frantically until I heard someone shout: "Hey You! Get out of here!", and she reappeared with her stolen sausage, looking guilty.

There´s something about beach huts that lets down your guard. Freedom. That carefree holiday feeling.

Talking of letting your guard drop, I´m enjoying my course in abstract art. I love a challenge, moving out of my comfort zone. Reproducing the same painting in the same way, over and over again is a highly skilled craft, but moving beyond your comfort zone to create something new becomes art. Today´s course assignment is to let go of any intention, to just make marks for the fun of it using any materials or tools which come to mind. It invites me to dig deep into my imagination for the source of creativity, joy and passion, to set aside my ideas of what is right, my perfectionism. The result surprises me.

This is a new way of painting, purely for expression, rather than creating an image for others to look at.

A quick Pupdate: Sunny tips the scales at just over 2kg now and I´m not sure if he´s a cockapoo or a lion cub. He lollops around on giant paws and has such a handsome mane around his expressive amber eyes. He ´s all curiosity, adventure and new experiences.

My abstract is all about the uninhibited freedom of the present moment.

Rather like beach huts perhaps.

Marja Brown

Landscape Artist

Original paintings and prints available from my website, commissions accepted with joy.

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