Posted on 25 Comments

Morning on Mewslade

I am not well. I have a virus that makes me feel tired, my arms in particular feel heavy, my throat feels sore and I struggle with social interactions. The sense of illness ebbs and flows. I start off the day feeling rough but by the evening, I feel a bit better. Yesterday I felt terrible most of the day but strangely found myself defrosting the freezer at 8pm. I had fancied an ice lolly to ease my sore throat but I noticed that freezer door would not close. Obviously, the last person to use the freezer had not shut the door properly. So,  I cleared the freezer of its content, switched it off, and got the steam cleaner out. Forty-five minutes later all the ice was gone and the content was back inside neat frost-free drawers.

I have struggled to write this post. I deleted my first two attempts as I kept going off at tangents (see defrosting freezer above). Thankfully, illness hasn’t stopped me painting. I started this large painting (92×73 cm) of Mewslade Bay but I made slow progress. Mewslade Bay is just round the corner from Worms Head and Rhossili Bay. There is no beach to speak of at high tide. At low tide, however, the sandy beach can be reached if you scramble down over some slippery rocks, and thick beds of seaweed that have been washed up against rocks. I had got up at 5 am to drive down to Mewslade to catch it at low tide. Although the majority of the sky was clear there was a spattering of mackerel clouds just above the horizon. The light was hazy and I had wait 45 minutes before I got a blast of bright sunshine on the cliff face.


I think I should have started with darkest parts of the image, rather than the lightest parts. IMG_2809-001

As I had to go back and darken the rocks in the distance and in the shadow of the furthest peak.


Adding the beach and shadow under the cliffs helped “intensify” the dark part of the cliffs.

Oil painting Morning on Mewslade by Emma Cownie
Morning on Mewslade

Finally, adding the morning sky made sense of the blues and purple shadows on the east facing cliff faces. Some paintings seem to make sense straight away and with others, like this one, you have to wait until all the elements are in place. I particularly love the way the peak in the foreground casts its shadow on the second peak. It reminds me of a tiny Everest! The bright morning light makes the rock face look like a snow covered peak.


25 thoughts on “Morning on Mewslade

  1. I am sorry to hear that you are not well and I hope you’ll be feeling brighter soon.

    These series of images charting the evolution of this painting are fascinating. I am not a painter so I have no idea how such wonderful art works are produced but this was a really interesting insight. Thank you. Ceri

    1. Thanks, Ceri. I am very bored of being ill as it been going on for weeks now. Glad you like the work in progress photos. I don’t usually think to stop and take them.

  2. Stunning! You’ve really captured the morning light.

    1. Thank you, Annabelle.

  3. I hope you will feel much better soon! “Morning on Mewslade” looks wonderful finished, and your intermediate results helped me understand better the painter’s creative process.

  4. Wonderful painting! It reminds me of an ancient landscape in a fantasy world. Lovely! Hope you feel better soon.

    1. Thank you, its a very ancient landscape (aren’t they all, if humans don’t mess them up?)

      1. You are so right!

  5. Love the drama of the scene, Emma. 🙂 🙂 Hope that you start to feel better soon.

  6. awesome painting! you did great work.. thank you

  7. I live too far away to bring chicken soup and faxing it turned out to be messy. Sending my best wishes instead. Get better.

    1. I’m a veggie but I appreciate the thought, Ellen. Tomato soup has been consumed several times!

      1. I am too, but I make chicken soup occasionally when my partner’s sick. It’s an odd place to draw the line–I will cook meat but I won’t eat it–but life lands us in odd places, I find. Tomato sounds good.

      2. My husband’s a veggie too so there’s no danger of me ever cooking meat. The smell of cat/dog meat turns my stomach although I must say cat pate isn’t so bad so I know it must be good stuff!

  8. What a wonderful post.Hope you are better again.

    1. Thank you, Marylou!!

  9. I hope you feel better soon! A few years ago I was hit by something that drained all my energy and left my joints aching. The way you described how you’ve been feeling sounded familiar 🙁

    This is a powerful piece. It’s funny isn’t it, how some paintings don’t make sense at first? To you at any rate. I loved all of the stages that you shared here.

    1. Thanks, Melissa – thinking about it, it was a large canvas (or larger than I usually work on) and I did better with it when I went to the far side of the room to look at it!! Taking photos helped me “see” it too. I usually use a mirror to look at a painting as it progresses so I can get a proper sense of it.

      1. Oh, yes, I like to take a big step back too. Of course now that I need bifocals that has become interesting! 🙂

  10. Je kan niet alleen mooi schilderen maar weet ook alles boeiend neer te schtijven.Je bent dus een dame met veel verschillende talenten.

    1. Je bent heel vriendelijk, dank je, Marylou.

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