Rhossili Bay is the most breathtakingly beautiful amongst all the Gower landscapes. The sandy beach is three miles long. This beach regularly features in national newspapers’ lists of top 10 top beaches in the UK, Europe, and even the world. It was voted Wales’ Best Beach 2017 and one of the UK’s Top 10 Beaches for five years running in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. The wonderful thing about the beach is that it is so massive that it is never the slightest bit crowded. The National Trust car park at Rhossili might be crowded and the lanes from the village of Llangennith to the beach might be jammed with surfers’ vans, but there is always plenty of room on the beach!
It is quite a challenge painting somewhere as well-known and as beautiful as Rhossili Bay. The sheer size of the bay means that the beach and Rhossili Down, the hill that rises up above it, often seems to “shrink” in pictures. The dunes beyond Llangennith Beach are an interesting feature to paint, as well as the hint of Llanelli in the distance, on the shore opposite the peninsula that peeps round the corner of Hillend Burrows. I usually prefer to paint the bay in the late autumn or in winter when the bracken on the Down has turned a fantastic rusty red. The darker greens of high summer are less interesting to me, so my main focus of interest with this painting was the lines of waves on the beach and the changing colour of the sea. I consciously chose a “flatter” more graphic approach to painting the beach and sea in the landscape. As an artist, I am always exploring different ways to approach a painting a scene. Sometimes I use a looser, painterly style, others a more graphic style. I think that element of exploration and challenge keeps me interested in what I am doing and keeps my work “fresh”.
© Emma Cownie 2017
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