Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday 10th September: Cape Cod National Seashore

The Path to Nauset Beach 10.09.06. 5.50pm
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Sunday morning I drove 130 miles down the 495 to Chatham on Cape Cod where the Sally Strand Pastel Workshop was to be held, starting on Monday.

Driving in a new place is quite exciting but can sometimes be very slow. Once over the bridge to Cape Cod, I drove south to Hyannis and tried to drive along what looked like a coast road but wasn't. It was also more touristy than I was expecting and when I turned nearer the coast I found out very quickly just how easy it is to get mixed up and lost on Cape Cod. There are endless small roads that twist and turn and I was very glad I'd borrowed my cousin's map of the Cape Cod area as I'd have been well and truly driving round in circles for hours without it! And I'm used to roads that aren't on a grid systems and don't go in a straight line!

Once I'd got to where I was staying in North Chatham and unloaded my 'stuff' I drove north up the Cape - to the Lower Cape (which is furthest from the bridges even if it's further north on the maps) through Orleans and Eastham (stopping to take a quick look at the outside art exhibition) to visit some of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
"A man may stand there and put all America behind him."
Henry David Thoreau
I'd bought Thoreau's Cape Cod the previous day at the Concord Museum and on Sunday evening after my visit to the foreshore read about The Nauset Plains and The Beach.

On early Sunday evening, the sea was looking an incredible navy blue colour and I wondered whether this was anything to do with Hurricane Ernesto which had been winding down and moving north the previous week. Nauset Beach has suffered very badly from coastal erosion in the past particularly after heavy seas associated with hurricanes. According to the website of the Nauset Light Preservation Society.....
"...the average natural erosion rate on the Atlantic Ocean side of Cape Cod had been 3.8 feet a year. However, in the area of Nauset Light, the average for the period 1987-1994 has accelerated to 5.8 feet. There may be little or no erosion in some years, and more than fifteen feet in other years."
In fact, the Nauset Light (see sketch below) has had to be rescued and moved 300 feet further inland to avoid it falling into the sea. The shoreline and glacial scarp cliff reminded me a lot of the area around Dunwich in Suffolk which is one of favourite places in the UK. The old town of Dunwich fell into the sea due to coastal erosion - and only a few cottages and a pub remain.

Nauset Light , Cape Cod (10.09.06. 6.40pm)
8" x 10", pencil and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Prior to the above sketch I had sketched the boardwalk path down to the lookout platform and wooden steps down to Nauset Beach (see top). The early evening light was giving a marvellous colour to the grasses and beach roses and the shadow of the fence was making interesting coloured patterns on the path and in the grasses. This one is definitely going to be developed into a more finished work - possibly in pastel.

That evening I sketched during dinner at the Academy Ocean Grill in Orleans. The main course was well prepared and very nice but the chap preparing the dessert 'special' went overboard with the gelatine and it was inedible! And so I retired to bed to get my kit sorted for the workshop starting in the morning and to read Thoreau!

The Academy Ocean Grill, Orleans (10.9.06. 9pm)
8" x10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in a Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
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