The Rocky Road is the path that everyone is on. Full of pitfalls but also hidden truths along the way.
My painting is of a view of part of Tout Quarry on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. This island juts out into the English Channel joined only by a shingle bank to the mainland – the world-famous Chesil Beach.
For those of you who don’t know, and my apologies to the rest, quarrying has been carried out on Portland since Roman times and the stone has been used in the construction of some of our greatest buildings since the 18th century, due to its unique character. St Paul’s Cathedral in London to name just one fine example.
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica the limestone was formed in a marine environment during the latter part of the Jurassic era, between 152.1 million and 145 million years ago.
Taking a walk in Tout Quarry one day I came across a path which, although forming a part of the Tout Quarry Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park, is still as it was left when the site was originally worked, without the sculptures which characterise the rest of the area. It was in the painting of this scene that the stones suddenly came to life for me and seemed to reflect to some extent the true nature of this Jurassic coastline. For me even the shadows thrown by the rocks held the key to some of Portland’s history.
There is a long-standing tradition of bad luck associated with the creatures who form their burrows in the workings of the quarries. This is deemed to be responsible for the occurrence of accidents and sometimes deadly landslides during the excavations.
Out of respect for the local people the makers of a Wallace and Gromit film showing on Portland changed their advertising posters to read “Something bunny is going on”. On the Island these creatures are not referred to by their given name but called “bunnies”, “underground mutton” or “them there furry things”.
When I discovered “a furry thing” in the painted shadows of my artwork I definitely thought that “something bunny” was “going on”. Only living four miles from the Island I’m not taking any chances!
I entered my work in an online American landscape art competition and was fortunate enough to be awarded in their special recognition category and added to their Gallery. https://www.lightspacetime.art