I made some quick sea sketches in an effort to loosen up my painting and allow it to be more expressive. To this end, I chose coloured paper, acrylic paint, ink, charcoal and large brushes.
The subject matter is the sea, its dangers and its allures. I was thinking specifically about a stretch of sea between an island called ‘Inish Bofin’ (just off the coast at Cleggan, about seven miles from Clifden) and it’s neighbour ‘Inish Shark’.
Bofin has a population of about two hundred inhabitants while Shark was abandoned in the 1960’s, due to lack of support from the government of the day and also due to the hazardous waters around it. The two islands once shared life as sisters. The Shark people regularly made the journey over to Bofin, particularly on a Sunday, so that they could attend the church there. The stretch of water and most direct route between the two is known as ‘The Sound’ and is particularly dangerous due to a cross section of currents and shifting sands near the shore. The islanders rarely took this route because of the danger and some of the men that ran the risk, paid for it with their lives.
When looking over to Shark from Bofin, the waters of the Sound sometimes appear almost black and it meets the Bofin shore at a deceptively idyllic beach known as Tra Gheal ( which means bright or silver beach ).
The island is a tonic for the senses, everywhere you go the sea is just there, the sound, sight and smell of it. There is for me a wavering sense of awe and trepidation about this particular spot as the knowledge of those who perished there unsettles its astounding beauty.
I plan to continue working on a series of sketches about the Sound which may turn in to paintings later.