Hunstanton is a bit out of my way. I know it’s only a fifteen miles along the coast but it’s not a place a generally go out of my way to visit. However, recently I wanted to go and look at the stripy, white, red and orange chalk cliffs as research for a new piece of work.
These are the notes from my sketchbook:
‘Grey/white on top – brick red below.
Gulls nesting on ledges – croaking calls.
Grass – thin layer- on top.
The cliffs come to an abrupt and brutal end as they turn the corner.
Sharp ridges and ledges where the cliff face has fallen away.
Fissures diagonally across its face.
Underneath, brick red chalk holds up white chalk.
Large chalk boulders at the base of the cliff.
Smaller chalk stones and pebbles are washed away from the base of the cliff and have been dragged over the beach by the sea’s action.
Bleak, stark, uncared for.
North-west facing – dank, cold, damp.
I imagine the sun rarely reaches the cliff face and so never has the chance to dry out.
Green/grey coating to the white chalk.
Grass in all the crevices.
Large mossy stones on the beach.’
The looming cliffs cut out any warm southerly light; the beach is in shadow and the resulting cold and damp isn’t helped by a wintery day and a sharp northerly wind. I collect a few chalk pebbles to experiment with – they are freezing cold – and hurry back to the car. I need a cup of coffee …. perhaps it this place would feel more welcoming in the summer.