I’m very happy to be living at the coast and enjoying a daily walk along the shoreline with the time to look and think. I don’t feel isolated, as it is common for people who work ‘creatively’ to work alone.

Sometimes being by the sea I sense that I am on the edge of the earth, standing on ancient rocks and looking across an ocean full of life with a challenging ever changing surface.

I’m curious about how others respond to being on this edge in whatever medium they chose, and know the challenge of making something that expresses a response to experience. I am lucky enough to own a very good oil painting by John Falconer Slater who lived and worked close to my home 100 years ago. It’s of a stormy cold North Sea probably of Browns Bay, a favourite location of mine, set between Whitley Bay and Cullercoats. Browns Bay is where 10,000 year old Stone Age tools have been found, and is a short distance from a massive crack in the earth called the Ninety Fathom Fault. So while my camera records an image in a split second to capture shadows of what I see, the experience of place is more than just that moment.

Slater’s Painting reflects something of his sense of place, it is exceptional in the way it expresses his careful observation of colour and movement and the challenge of communicating the experience of being there. It is timeless.

It’s been many years since I have painted, but have taken hundreds of photographs as source material and I begin drawing again this week. I won’t follow Slater’s way working or style but try extract my own marks from experience, that’s my challenge in isolation and maybe I’ll make something of it.

Mike Tilley