I recently took a trip up the causeway coast to work on a commission and do some sketching. It had been a while since I’d been to that part of the world. Long enough for me to forget just how spectacular the scenery is up there. From Carnlough at the southern end of the causeway coast to Portstewart at the County Derry end, me and my companion were often stunned to silence by the scenery along our journey.
The drive through the Antrim Glens with their winding roads and imposing bright green mountains gave way to miles of bog-land, reminding me of journeys around Mount Errigle on the way to the Donegal Gaeltacht. Then as we approached Ballycastle, the sea came up over the hill and a whole panorama of cliffs and islands stretched out in front – Rathlin and across to the Mull of Kintyre.
The thing that draws the visitor to the coast, or the hill walker to the top of a mountain is the same thing that draws the landscape artist – that magic we feel when we stand on the cliffs above the Giant’s Causeway or watch the sun set in the sea off Ballintoy Harbour. Maybe it’s the timeless quality of it. And the connection with our ancestors who stood and watched the very same thing.
An eye on the weather
Twelve years ago I took a trip to Cyprus, my first to that part of the world. During a drive in the countryside around Limassol, my guide asked me what I thought of the scenery. I told them that it wasn’t what I’d imagined – that it was a lot more parched and less green than I had thought (and had seen in the adverts). They sighed and I was surprised by their response – that the land used to be much more green and fertile, but that Cyprus was becoming less and less green because of climate change. These changes had taken place over a period of about twenty years. A very short time I thought for a whole landscape to be transformed by the weather.
Because of the nature of our work, landscape artists always keep an eye on the weather. And like other artists, I too have noticed the changes in our own climate over the decades.
My recent trip up the coast reminded me of what we have. Visitors to our shores are never shy to tell us how impressive our environment is. The makers of Game of Thrones and Star Wars recognised the other-worldly quality of our coast, glens and wildlife. It’s vital we do our utmost to protect it and support those working and campaigning to do so.
More of Martin’s coastal artwork can be seen here: http://martincampbellart.com/gallery/