Abstract Painting by Nature

Article text
Spurn Head 1999. Stephen Riley
In keeping with my plan to post photographs whilst I am temporarily unable to paint, here is one from way back. I decided that I did not just want to show what I shot last week - though I'll do that too - I wanted to show anything that came to mind (or eye).

This was Spurn Head (that's that odd, long, pointy bit that pokes out into the North Sea near Hull) in 1999. The wind shifts the sand constantly there. World War Two gun emplacements are now in entirely the wrong place because the landscape around them has shifted. Here you see the surface being shifted on a much smaller scale, and pebbles making tiny windbreaks that sculpt the sand into shapes of their choosing, and sharp shadows adding to the effect by throwing the whole into deep relief.

It's one of those tedious philistine claims, on seeing abstract art, that a child or a monkey could do that. Actually, it doesn't even need them; the wind can do it. Though it does need an artist's mind to see it.