Rocks at Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

The rocks in Cornwall are certainly different from any that I’ve seen before. Generally speaking, they are mostly igneous and metamorphic in type. Often the igneous rocks themselves have been metamorphosed. The rocks shown here were seen on the beach at Porthmeor and adjacent to The Island at St Ives. They lie below a thick layer of rusty-coloured superficial deposit of glacial till. I am not absolutely certain what the bedrock is. There are a number of rock types described by the British Geological Survey in their Geology of Britain Viewer in close proximity to each other, and it is rather difficult for an amateur to decide which is which. However, this particular outcrop reminds me of basalt which I saw on the shoreline of Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy in Canada. So, I am going to suggest that it is an un-named mafic igneous rock formed of silica-poor magma that intruded into the earth’s crust in the Devonian Period between 359 and 416 million years ago. When the magma cooled, it formed an intrusion of fine to medium crystalline rock, often as basaltic dykes and sills.

On the other hand, I could be wrong, and it might be an un-named igneous intrusion of Metagabbro and Metamicrogabbro; or even Mylor Slate Formation with Hornfelsed Slate and Hornfelsed Siltstone.

Leaves & Light

Copper beech tree with new leavesThe last rays of this evening’s sun, shining through the translucent new leaves on the copper beech tree that I see from my window, reveal transitioning shades of red and green with intricate networks of veins. In close-up, it seems that you can almost see the individual cells.

Earth and Rock: Frances Hatch, Jan Walker, Robin Welch until 31 May


I loved this exhibition. The artists, with their different approaches, capture so expertly and with such innovative styles, all that delights me about the rocky Dorset coastline. It is well worth a visit.

Originally posted on Sladers Yard:

Earth and Rock

paintings by Frances Hatch and Jan Walker

ceramics by Robin Welch

furniture by Petter Southall

18 April to 31 May 2015

Portland West Side 35cm x 100cm Acrylic on canvas JAN WALKER

ARTISTS’ TALK with Frances Hatch and Jan Walker Friday 8 May.  Tickets: £10 or £25 with buffet dinner to follow. More…

LAND MARKS WALK WITH FRANCES HATCH Saturday 16 May 10am – 3pm  Walk and make artworks with gathered materials followed by a light lunch and informal review. Tickets: £25  More…

Frances Hatch  St Lucas' Leap (along the low tide line towards Old Harry) 2013  cliff materials on Khadi paper 49 x 136 cm  £1800

To book tickets for events please telephone: 01308 459511.

Illustrated catalogues: Earth by Frances Hatch with a foreword by Professor Simon Olding and Rock by Jan Walker with a foreword by John Hubbard are available to buy (£8 each or download free.  Please follow links to the artists’ pages.

Robin Welch 12 Oval Vase pink flush 25 x 17 x 13cm £460

This exhibition draws attention to the ground beneath our feet, celebrating the stuff of landscape and its extraordinary potential in the hands of very skillful artists. Looking with…

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By the River Bank 2

View looking north along the river in the Cerne Valley

The Cerne Valley is becoming lush. April has seen prolonged periods of sun and warmth spurring on plant growth. The catkins have fallen and all trees are starting to flower and come into leaf. Along the river banks, the low-growing Butterbur that had been clustered on bare dredged-out chalk heaps are now concealed by dock, stinging nettle, and flowering Comfrey. Iris and Sweet Flag stand flowerless with their roots in the water. An isolated leaf curves downwards to trail its point in the river flow, creating fantastical patterns of reflected light, while the birds sing their hearts out and bees buzz lazily by.

Stand of Yellow Flag leaves on the riverside

Leaf of Yellow Flag trailing in the water flow

Macro-photograph of reflection patterns made by a trailing leaf in a small river

Macro-photograph of reflection patterns made by a trailing leaf in a small river

View looking south along the banks of the River Cerne

Rocks at Fermoyle on the Dingle Peninsula

Red Devonian sandstone rocks at the beach with fucoid seaweeds

The place where I took these photographs is marked on the map as an island but it is actually just a tiny promontory near to the village of Fermoyle, along the Dingle Way, on the north coast of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. I am sure that most people visit the location for its wonderful long unsullied sandy beach. However, I was drawn to this particular part, at the extreme western end of the beach, because of its fascinating geomorphology. The rocks are sandstones and conglomerates (mostly but not exclusively red) of the Glengarriff Harbour Group from the Devonian Period. The bright olive, lime, yellow and orange colours of the seaweeds, and the black, yellow and white of encrusting lichens, clash garishly with the red rocks. The rock strata are clearly defined: sometimes on-end, sometimes as flat bedding planes, and in one place a dome of strata lies cut-away and exposed. Beach stones rather than pebbles cover a portion of this area; and there are also occasional huge boulders composed of conglomerate scattered along the shore nearest the inlet from Brandon Bay.