Inspired by the Coast – Georgie Dowling

Continuing our Inspired by the Coast series, where we share the work of creatives who have found inspiration from the environment on and near the Coast Path, we introduce artist Georgie Dowling. Georgie enjoys nothing more than painting en plein air and immersing herself in the landscape.

My work is driven by my admiration of our landscape, with the South West Coast Path being my main source of inspiration. The possibilities feel endless with the incredible scenery whilst the practicality of the path to carry my equipment along allows me to truly immerse myself in the landscape.  The chance to get out and appreciate nature is so important to our well-being and the coast path provides a perfect starting point for exploring and adventure. The aim of my work is to celebrate not only the incredible views there are to discover but also the act of being out in and appreciating nature. 

Painting on the Coast Path overlooking Perranporth Beach

I split my time working between painting from life out in the landscape and painting from memory back in my studio. I work quite quickly and my marks are spontaneous and impulsive, I embrace happy accidents and enjoy the life that can be seen in a painting when the artist works instinctively. My en plein air paintings are a direct response to the landscape; I study the colours, forms and lines in the landscape that stand out to me to create a personal response to the landscape, it still amazes me how much more I see as I’m painting! While I’m working my focus isn’t on how much of a likeness I can achieve but more on an exploration of these elements that I’m drawn to. I find it so interesting to compare the outcome of my painting with the view I was studying, it’s a fascinating insight into what I appreciated most in the landscape.  Back in the studio I continue to explore the landscape but in a different way; here is where I revisit my emotional response to a place with my current focus being the beaches of Cornwall. Most of my time in Cornwall has been spent on breaks from real life on holiday with family, it has always been somewhere I’ve experienced a sense of serenity and rejuvenation. Back in the studio, I’ve been working from memories of looking out to sea from the beach, experimenting with ways to translate these feelings through paint.

My obsession with painting the sea began on a trip to Zennor near St Ives a few years ago. I was staying on a farm only a couple of fields walk away from the coast paths inspiring views. The light in this part of Cornwall is spectacular and painting in the fresh sea air with the sound of crashing waves in the background was a truly meditative experience. From this trip, the en plein air side of my practice began to flourish. I started the habit of venturing to the coast to paint as often as I could, each time I visit I take home with me not only a collection of paintings but fresh sources of information and inspiration to explore back in the studio.  

My first experience of painting en pleir air near Zennor

Spending time in the landscape and appreciating the benefits of being outdoors has to offer has always been important to me, however painting in the landscape has completely changed how I view the world around me. Since beginning my journey into painting en plein air along the coast path I feel like I see so much more now, it’s like I’ve found a new lens on life. I think that’s my favourite part of my journey on being a landscape painter so far; I now notice so many more details in the world around me. I find myself feeling continuously uplifted by the life and beauty of the landscape, it’s become a subconscious act to take the time to study and appreciate the details of my surroundings.  

Follow Georgie on Instagram and check out more of her works on her website:

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