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As some of you know, our summer holidays as children were spent in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight where I now live. The other week I trundled round on my mobility scooter visiting my favourite haunts. This shot of Bembridge Lifeboat Station through the trees is just where the steps lead down to the beach and to the exact spot we invariably used for swimming.

It is true the original photograph is rather appealing and some of you on Facebook have already seen it as my header but true to form, I had to play.

I used two textures from Design Cuts — a yellow-based and a green-based one. I ran the photograph through Topaz Impression three or four times to produce different effects. I chose to layer ‘Cezanne 1’ and ’Cavedweller’ (as you do) and blended them with the textures to produce a digital painting. I hope it pleases you as much as it did me in its creation.

Part of a paper read to the Ladies of Shanklin Evening Institute, October 1951.

“It is quite possible that some among you are quite ignorant of everything connected with Lifeboat work […] I have no intention of going back into remote history, or to the founding of the Institution in 1824.  Moreover, I expect you will think that I have gone back quite far enough if I commence with the time of your grandfathers, and I select that particular time because it was then that the proud reputation of the Lifeboat Institution was built up, on the great hearts and stout muscles of the grand old men who served as crews for the small pulling and sailing lifeboats stationed round our coasts.  But to really understand the heroism of these grand old fellows, and to give them full credit for their marvellous rescues, and for their self-sacrificing efforts, one must be possessed of…” Bembridge Lifeboat

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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You have no idea just how peachy it has been to create a piece of art with my new vision after spending so many months re-blogging earlier pieces and promoting those which have sold. My heart and soul are leaping with joy. Just as well in view of the unconscionable state prevailing in the UK after a general election. I am reminded of my favourite quote from erstwhile US President Jimmy Carter (and there are many to choose from) which says it all when one thinks of Prime Minister Theresa May’s parentage: the daughter of a vicar no less. “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values because you don’t.’

The original is a photochrom from the Library of Congress of the entrance to the harbour at St. Malo in France taken between 1890 and 1900. I duplicated the image, ran the jpg through the Topaz Impressions Abstraction II filter, which I added as a third layer before topping with one of my yellow textures. I made use of a variety of Photoshop blends such as Darken, Lighter Colour and Screen.

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Sight update: I’m seeing the ophthalmologist at 9:30 am this morning!

Features / British Artists 30 March 2015 / The Group-Gallery of Art & Photography 13 March 2015 / Photoshop / Photograph by Fré Sonneveld at Unsplash / Textures from 2 Lil’ Owls /

DOVER BEACH — MATTHEW ARNOLD [1822-1888]

The sea is calm tonight. / The tide is full, the moon lies fair / Upon the straits; on the French coast the light / Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, / Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. / Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! / Only, from the long line of spray / Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, / Listen! you hear the grating roar / Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, / At their return, up the high strand, / Begin, and cease, and then again begin, / With tremulous cadence slow, and bring / The eternal note of sadness in. / Sophocles long ago / Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought / Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow / Of human misery; we / Find also in the sound a thought, / Hearing it by this distant northern sea. / The Sea of Faith / Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore / Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. / But now I only hear / Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, / Retreating, to the breath / Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear / And naked shingles of the world. / Ah, love, let us be true / To one another! for the world, which seems / To lie before us like a land of dreams, / So various, so beautiful, so new, / Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, / Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; / And we are here as on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, / Where ignorant armies clash by night. • Also buy this artwork on wall prints, apparel, kids clothes, and more.

Source: “The Lookout” Framed Prints by Sarah Vernon | Redbubble

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A selection of my art with a sea theme – Sarah Vernon

Source: “By The Sea” Calendars by Sarah Vernon | Redbubble


Beached Dinghy Framed Print by Sarah Vernon. All framed prints are professionally printed, framed, assembled, and shipped within 3 – 4 business days and delivered ready-to-hang on your wall. Choose from multiple print sizes and hundreds of frame and mat options.

Source: Beached Dinghy Framed Print by Sarah Vernon

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


This is a delightful vintage photograph from Wikimedia of the seafront at Southwold (not ‘Southwell’, as the site erroneously calls it) on the Suffolk coast, blended with several textures created out of my photographs. I adore the grainy, textured look. I feel it has a touch of John Atkinson Grimshaw about it…and another artist whose name escapes me. Are you reminded of any other artists? Not, I hasten to add, that I’m putting myself on that level! To enhance the whole, I did quite a deal of work on the tone, sharpness, brightness and contrast and so forth.

A Stroll Along the Seafront Throw Pillow
A Stroll Along the Seafront Throw Pillow by FirstNightDesign

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 14th March 2014

Photograph by Fré Sonneveld from Unsplash. Textures 2 Lil’ Owls.

Dover Beach — Matthew Arnold [1822-1888]

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the Fr…

Source: First Night Design | The Lookout | First Night Design


If you read my blog regularly, you can probably guess my thoughts this Bank Holiday!


“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.” ― Henry James

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas Crete anymore.” ― L. Frank Baum

“In the long run, the pessimist may be proved right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip.” — Daniel L. Reardon

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
(Little Gidding) ―  T.S. Eliot

“Sometimes losing everything is the only way to begin.”  (The Firebrand Legacy)
T.K. Kiser


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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE March 2015.
This is an adaptation of an old photochrom postcard circa 1895 from Wikimedia showing the beach at Ostend, Belgium. I have used textures from 2 Lil’ Owls to age it further, along with a French document, also from 2 Lil’ Owls, to add ‘a little something extra’…

Source: First Night Design | A Côté de la Mer or a Jolly Time was had by All!


As I’ve said before, there are various software applications by which you can turn a photograph into a digital painting. While they have their uses, I prefer to use textures to provide a more interesting and subtler creation than that created by algorithms (or however it’s done!).

I created Searching the Sands in Photoshop with a photograph by Chris Sardegna and a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls, I tweaked the colour balance, brightness and contrast in both images and enhanced or faded certain areas.


“I had a dream about you. We were running on the beach, holding hands. It was a nude beach, but we were the only ones wearing clothes. You wore a bikini, and I wore my dead grandma’s dress—with my grandma still in it.
”
Jarod Kintz, I had a dream about you 2


 


They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Edward Lear


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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! Here follows a post that has nothing to do with that celebration.

A new calendar for 2016 with this year’s creations based around oceans, beaches and boats.

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I combined two vintage beach photos from Flickr which I melted together so that the beach was no longer empty but contained two boys, one looking at the camera. There were originally three of them but the third lad didn’t quite work on the beach of the other photo. I adjusted him so that he was ankle-deep looking out to sea but I couldn’t make it look real so I drowned him! I favourited these photos on Flickr in the sure hope that I could go back to my ‘favourites’ and retrieve the web addresses to give credit. But they’re not there and I’ve searched high and low on Google Images to no avail. Frustrating. [Update 23-08-015 – discovered I sourced these images from Rijkstudio!]

beachboysblog

I used one of my own backgrounds and combined a texture from Kerstin Frank and from 2 Lil’ Owls. You know what it’s like — you’re about to paste the details of each image in ‘file info’ and then somebody interrupts and it never gets done. I have no idea which of these backgrounds I used. Irritating, to say the least.

textureblog

Talking of fossils, I recently finished reading Tracy Chevalier’s novel, Remarkable Creatures. If you’ve ever read Chevalier’s work, you will know that she writes about real people with extraordinary skill so that you feel you know something of what they were actually like.  Remarkable Creatures is the tale of two female fossil hunters, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpott, in the early 19th century when women’s status was not what it has become. Fossil hunters? Female? Whatever next! But their discovery of the first dinosaur was to change everything, not that they received any credit at the start.

If you thought fossils were boring, think again:

‘On a windswept English beach in the early 19th century, two women make discoveries that change the world. And in so doing find friendship, pride — and trouble.’ (Blurb)
Chevalier recently stated that making fossils sexy was one of her chief aims in writing Remarkable Creatures. She has certainly succeeded.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Historical figures have rarely been so cleverly used… A stunning story.’ The Guardian

I recommend the book highly. And if you want to buy the book, click the image above or its title and I’ll earn commission — every little helps! By the way, the same applies to any books or films I add to my posts.

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


E-type-carriage-train

Victorian E-type carriage [Wikimedia]


In the mid-to-late 1990s, I started writing a piece of fiction aimed at what is now referred to as a Young Adult audience. As I have started to look back at all my writing to see what can be continued and what might need to be updated, I thought I would give you a taster of The Railway Carriage and see whether it piques your interest enough to  want to know what happens. There are another two chapters which were written at the time, and the story is based around a converted Victorian railway carriage on the Isle of Wight which was owned by my grandmother and was where we spent all our summer holidays as children. If so many of my belongings were not still packed up in boxes from the move to Crete, I would be able to show you a photograph of that very carriage, which had been painted white. As it is, I give you something similar from Wikimedia.


Chapter One

“Why didn’t you tell me it was going to be so painful? If I’d known, I’m not so sure I’d have gone through with it.”

I had to grab the banister to stop myself from falling.  Mum didn’t know I’d heard. She didn’t know I was there.  She was on the phone to her friend Sheila and I guess she thought I was safely up in my room.

I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because there was too much noise inside my head.  It felt as if someone was drilling a hole in  my brain and pouring plenty of poison into it. So many questions.  Angry ones they were too.

Why?  Why hadn’t they told me?  What had I ever done to them that they should have kept something like that from me?  They’d been living a lie, pretending all the time.  Her and Dad.

Nothing made sense any more.  Apart from their love for Gabi.  No wonder they were so doting towards my baby sister.  Except that she wasn’t my sister, was she?  How can you have a proper sister when you’re adopted?  And what else could I be if Gabi was the first time Mum had gone through the pain of childbirth.

Looking back, I should have questioned Mum about it there and then. I should have walked on down the stairs, waited for her to hang up and asked to talk about it.  But I didn’t.  Then again, if I had, I wouldn’t have got to know Jakob and none of the other things would have happened.

Instead, I went back up to my room and lay on my bed for a good forty minutes.  It took that long for the pain behind my eyes to subside.  I couldn’t cry – I felt numb.

I couldn’t ring my best buddy, Sarah, because she was on holiday in France with her family. I didn’t even have a boyfriend who could give me some support because I’d given Johnny Lace the elbow when he forgot my birthday.  (A bit extreme, I suppose, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s etcetera.)  So I did what I always do when I need solace – I went down to the beach for a swim.

My swimming costume was getting too small for me but Mum had said that it would have to do me a little longer because they couldn’t afford to buy me a new one, what with all the stuff they’d had to buy for Gabi.  Second-best, that’s what I’d been in the weeks since Gabi was born.  Now I knew I’d always been second-best. Always would be.

It was mid-afternoon and the grockles were out in force but that didn’t bother me.  When you live somewhere that most people only go for a holiday, you learn to pretend the tourists aren’t there; either that or go mad.

It wasn’t the hottest day of the summer but it was pretty close and I stormed into the water not caring whom I splashed on the way.  You have to be careful of the rocks and seaweed but I’ve lived on the Isle of Wight all my life and I could draw a map of the rocks in Bembridge blindfold.

I suppose I swam up and down for about half an hour.  The tide was going out and when it was too shallow to swim without paddling miles out to sea, I went and sat on my towel.

A couple of children were trying to build a sandcastle nearby.  They didn’t have any spades or buckets so they weren’t getting very far but it was soothing to watch them.

Bembridge_beach_2

Bembridge beach, Isle of Wight [Wikimedia]

There was no-one on the beach that I knew apart from Mr. Rozen. And I didn’t really know him.  He lived next door to us in a converted Victorian railway carriage set at the bottom of a small, overgrown orchard.  He kept himself pretty much to himself as far as we were concerned so I didn’t really know what he was like.

I nodded at him when I saw him.  He was sitting further back near the wooden steps that led up towards Swains Lane, watching those same children with their sandcastle. He nodded in return and smiled.  He had one of those very lined faces: wrinkles in places you didn’t think people got wrinkles.

I was glad that we weren’t on anything more than nodding acquaintance.  Right at that moment I needed to be left in peace.  I didn’t have the energy for polite conversation.  How could I when my whole life was in crisis?

Eventually the children nearby were gathered up by their parents and taken off for ice creams and I lay down on the towel and closed my eyes.

I must have fallen asleep because when I next sat up, the tide was right out, almost as far as the fort.  On a really low tide, it’s possible to walk right up to it.  I stared at the fort for some time before the full import of what I’d learned hit me with renewed force.

Only then did the tears start. And I couldn’t stop them, they just kept rolling down my cheeks.  I neither knew nor cared who noticed.  I felt so alone.  I wonder if you know what that’s like. My world had turned upside down and inside out and I didn’t feel able to trust anyone or anything.  It’s a horrible, horrible feeling.

I did once hear someone say that we come into this world alone and we go out of it alone but I didn’t want to feel so alone at fourteen. Who does?

And the tears kept on coming.  My body didn’t judder and my head didn’t twitch but the tears continued to fall.

“Tell me to go away if you wish, but a happy lady you are not.”

I looked up to see Mr Rozen.  I wanted to say ‘piss off!’ but I couldn’t find the right words.

“Would you mind if I sat down?”  His English was slightly accented and rather formal.  I still couldn’t speak and he took that as a ‘yes’.

“Is it possible I could help?”

“I-”

“No matter.  You do not have to tell me.”

Why wouldn’t he go away?  Couldn’t he see my tears were none of his business?

“I cannot bear to see anyone cry.”

This made me cry even more.

“Olivia?  That is your name, isn’t it?  I’ve heard you being called in from the garden,” he added, as if not to explain would make it seem as if he had been spying on us.  “My name is Jakob.”

My body was shuddering now.  He put his hand on my shoulder but I was crying so hard that I was past caring about strange men on beaches.  In any case, he wasn’t a stranger, he wasn’t offering me sweets, and he lived next door.

It’s difficult to explain but the touch of his hand had a calming effect on me and the tears eventually stopped.   I told him that although my name was Olivia, everyone called me Mouse.

“Except when they are angry and calling you in for supper?” he suggested.  He was smiling now.  Really smiling.

“Yes,” I said, and couldn’t help smiling myself.

Happy_old_man

Happy old man on the beach [Wikimedia]

“No, no!” he cried when he saw me reach for a corner of my towel to wipe my face.  “You’ll get sand in your eyes.”  He pulled a wad of tissues out of his rucksack and handed me several.

“Thank you,” I said, and hiccupped.

“I have seen you many times swimming.  You are a strong swimmer.”

“I love it,” I said.  “It’s the only worthwhile thing in my life.”

“Oh now.  I am sure there are other things.  And whatever your problem may be, it will be sorted out.  I am certain.”

“How can it be?” I burst out.   “It’s awful!  I’ll never get over it, NEVER!”

“‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’  Come.  Let us go for a walk.”

And I found myself walking all the way round to the harbour with him and back again.  Not speaking.  Just companionable silence.  I will always be grateful for that.  He knew that was exactly what I needed.

Perhaps we made an odd couple because I noticed someone staring at us quite intently for a while.  I’m average height for my age but Mr Rozen was probably about the same as me in spite of being so much older.  I didn’t know how old he was then but I found out later that he was seventy-three.

He never questioned why I was called Mouse but I told him anyway as we walked back home along Swains Lane. “I don’t do a lot of talking but when I do…”

“…you make up for it!”  He stopped outside his gate and shook my hand.  “Perhaps we meet again for a swim, yes?”

I nodded.  “I’d like that, Mr Rozen.”  It would take a while before I felt happy calling him Jakob.

I watched him shut the gate and walk down the grassy drive.  He was incredibly upright and solid for his age and if it hadn’t been for his wrinkles, you’d have thought he was nearer to fifty.

As I turned in at our gate, a  red Volvo drew up opposite.  I thought it was my father’s until I saw the number plate.  The driver stayed where he was and as I closed the gate behind me, I was aware that he was staring at me.

Sarah Vernon © 27-05-15

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


This is an adaptation of an old photochrom postcard circa 1895 from Wikimedia showing the beach at Ostend, Belgium. I have used textures from 2 Lil’ Owls to age it further, along with a French document, also from 2 Lil’ Owls, to add ‘a little something extra’.


‘A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.’
Henry Grunwald



“…vicinity to the sea is desirable, because it is easier to do nothing by the sea than anywhere else, and because bathing and basking on the shore cannot be considered an employment but only an apotheosis of loafing. (“Expiation”)”
― E.F. BensonThe Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson


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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


“Tell you what we’ll do,” she said. “We’ll drive to town and get some pickles, and some bread, and we’ll eat the pickles in the car, and then we’ll go to the station and get Daddy, and then we’ll bring Daddy home and make him take us for a ride in the boat. You’ll have to help him carry the sails down. O.K.?”
― J.D. Salinger, Down at the Dinghy

Original photograph by Kiran Valipa from Unsplash.
Textures 2 Lil’ Owls

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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