Artist EMMA CARTER on how the magical seascapes surrounding South Devon's Burgh Island inspire her work. Interview Anna Turns.
My connection to this island began as a three-year-old girl when I first started exploring these secluded coves, rockpools and rugged cliffs during holiday visits from London. I’m lucky that my family have owned a cottage here for 30 years, since I was 12. Now I live by the sea in Torbay with my son Luke, 12, and daughter Lani, 10, and we come here every few days throughout the year.
It’s a special place to escape to and a huge source of inspiration for my work as a contemporary artist. I paint acrylic seascapes, sometimes using iridescent paints to give the impression of sunlight reflecting from the water’s surface. The ocean has so many moods and being here really grounds me. My favourite time is at the end of a summer’s day when the tide is in and day-trippers have gone home; the calm ocean glistens in the warm light.
Burgh Island gets cut off from the mainland twice daily by the tide, so a sea tractor takes visitors across in calm weather. In rough weather, everyone’s at the mercy of the tide, and that’s a great leveller; if you get stranded, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re in the hands of the elements.
My perfect day involves hanging out at the cottage with my family and friends, taking an early morning swim, having a beach fire and cooking up freshly-caught spider crab or mackerel. I love making up stories with my children about pirates and mermaids, inspired by smuggler tales that are intertwined with the history of Burgh Island. It gives them space to let their, and my, imagination run wild.
For more information, visit emmasisland.com
Originally published in the March 2015 issue of Coast
"My perfect day involves hanging out at the cottage with my family and friends, taking an early morning swim, having a beach fire and cooking up freshly-caught spider crab or mackerel."