Some sounds evoke a happy place, don’t they? Perhaps a particular noise reminds us of joyful springtime, a lazy summer day or a cosy moment during winter?

I painted Smoothing to capture the mesmerising sound of pebbles on Shakespeare Beach in Dover.

Smoothing – watercolour painting by Donna McLuskie

As I stood there watching at the shoreline, each swash of incoming sea pushed pebbles, along with a rush of water, up the gently sloping beach. Then, with the inevitable backwash flow to offshore, those pebbles tumbled downwards too.

It’s not an especially scenic beach, with busy Dover harbour and transport industry nearby. Nevertheless, as I stood on the shoreline admiring the relentless movement of pebbles, this sublime repetitive event encouraged mindful meditation. It was as soothing to me as it was smoothing for those small stones.

Moving upwards, they more-or-less floated on the forewash. I heard light clinks whenever two stones touched in their gentle ascent up the beach slope. This was a surprise opportunity for movement of inanimate objects. A delight.

The stones’ unavoidable descent back down, however, as each little rush of water receded, produced a noisy traffic jam, with uncomfortable clanking together where two paths crossed. A dismay.

Delight and dismay, delight and dismay seems rather like the current of life sometimes, well, to me anyway. In the process of being shifted about, those stones smoothed into beautiful pebbles that twinkled in amongst an everchanging froth of sea on the beach.

The way down to Shakespeare Beach is scenic in itself. I drew these images of picturesque Langdon Stairs, accessible via Langdon Hole, to also commemorate my visit there.

Heading down Langdon Stairs – pen and ink drawing by Donna McLuskie
On Langdon Stairs – pen and ink drawing by Donna McLuskie

My rendering of the stones in Smoothing is a nod to Scottish Arts and Crafts era architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s stylised interpretations of nature.

The Rocks watercolour painting by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 1927. Courtesy of M. Davidson

Fine art giclée prints of Smoothing are available now. Each print will be signed by the artist, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and individually numbered in a limited edition of 50 only. This 12” x 16” giclée print, which is full size from my original watercolour painting, is suitable for 16” x 20” or 40cm x 50cm framing.

Smoothing – watercolour painting by Donna McLuskie

If you’d like to own one of these limited-edition prints, here’s the place to visit:

Watercolour Paintings

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