I have been taking Bims to Tentsmuir beach for a good run. we’ve met hardly anyone on the beach.

the dunes are full of pools and there’s a channel draining some of the water out to the beach. the first time we walked along it a kingfisher flew out and along the channel.

the early light on this east-facing beach is very special

it shelves very gradually and there’s a big sandbank at the other end, visible as chop and waves sometimes, marked Abertay on the site map.

silvery and reflective

we walk along to the Eden estuary, the other way, towards St Andrews.

there are large posts in the sand at our turning point

there are plantations behind the dunes, and in the dunes a lot of interesting flowers

this is sea rocket

in the summer there are orchids – northern purples – harebells and grass of parnassus, and many other special and rare things. there is salt marsh at the other end, I will have to check it out.

this tiny red toadstool, exquisite, something of a mystery (a book that’s currently in storage) but probably a scarlet waxcap.

these are probably earthballs

some paintings resulted, more about the forest than the beach

the local heath habitat penetrates between the pine trees

and there are birch and ferns, mounds of moss and heather

I’m enjoying using the gouache, it’s more versatile on paper than watercolour or acrylic.

catching Bims in full gallop on the beach

has brought out the dog-painter in me (it used to be painting horses, when I was a teenager) and coincidentally I discovered basil Blackshaw – in the first place for a wonderful loose landscape painting I saw on facebook, titled the Headland, it is mostly some gorgeous brilliant green brushstrokes full of paint. so I bought this book, and discovered his dogs.

here’s another.

which inspired me to go back to drawing Bims

in my little A5 sketchbook

both from life and from the photos of her on the beach

it’s a wonderful challenge, to combine the exact balance of what’s going on in the photo, and make an expressive painting of it.

anatomically correct this is not ….

sometimes the gouache just works

this afternoon I had several goes at this

working from the photo can be a bit inhibiting

a lot more practice at this to get the lightness of her frame

and the balance of her legs and head