Wednesday, 30 May 2012


It is getting warmer, not sandal weather yet for me (April when I took these), but time for wandering on the beach. A recent walk took me along the shoreline in search of driftwood and other items of interest on the beach and foreshore to share with you.

Driftwood is usually wood that has been washed up on the shore by waves and wind and grounded there. It can be small pieces of wood, logs that have escaped from booms, or wood (trees) washed off the shore by the action of wind and water, man made wooden objects discarded into the water from the shore (flotsam), objects lost from boats (jetsam) and the remains of shipwrecked wooden boats and ships.

Some driftwood seems to have arrived fairly recently while other pieces seem ancient.

On the local beaches it collects through the year and is sorted and distributed along the beach as shelter for sunbathers and picnickers; the extra wood is usually left for people to cut up and take away as firewood or cut up for making of carvings and table tops. Driftwood also serves as protection for birds and small animals and invertebrates and a place for lichens, moss, and plants to grow.

This seagull surveys its domain.

A beachcomber then is a person who searches or combs the the beach looking for useful things, items of interest and of value, I guess that makes me a beachcomber.

"The first appearance of the word "beachcombers" in print was in Herman Melville's Omoo (1847). It described a population of Europeans who lived in South Pacific islands, "combing" the beach and nearby water for flotsam, jetsam, or anything else they could use or trade. When a beachcomber became totally dependent upon coastal fishing for his sustenance, or abandoned his original culture and set of values, then the term "beachcomber" was synonymous with a criminal, a drifter, or a bum. The vast majority of beachcombers however, were simply unemployed sailors like Herman Melville in Typee, or Harry Franck in the book Vagabonding Around the World."  (Wikipedia)

Ancient nails, wire and bolts from some past use.

Driftwood comes in an endless variety of shapes and sizes, textures and patterns.

I like to look for interesting and recognizable forms in the driftwood. I see animal heads, faces, monsters and some pieces that are interesting to look at but just that; and I just let my mind wander.

An eye?

An octopus?

A face?

A sea monster?

A yawning face? (seen vertically below)

Narwhale, unicorn?

A birds head?

Another eye, maybe with a seaweed teardrop?

This piece of driftwood has captured shells in its outer layer at some point in its journey.

This piece offers us a unique perspective on the harbour.

A soft Sea washed around the House by Emily Dickinson:
A soft Sea washed around the House
A Sea of Summer Air
And rose and fell the magic Planks
That sailed without a care --
For Captain was the Butterfly
For Helmsman was the Bee
And an entire universe
For the delighted crew.

Well that was my beachcombing adventure, some interesting sightings, some fresh salt air to clear the mind and I'm ready for the next adventure.
Not many words today, this is another scheduled post since I am away from my desk travelling for a while yet. I am taking lots of pictures though which will be appearing here on my return. 
Here is a watercolour that I have recently finished called "Sedona Bell Tower":

Thank you for dropping by, Happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week ....


  1. beautiful bell painting! and thanks for letting us walk along on your beachcombing adventure. :)

  2. i love this collection of driftwood pictures Gillian. I grew up half a block from the beach and our family spent countless hours wandering along the shoreline looking at interesting rocks and driftwood. It's a wonderful place to be! Hope you're enjoying your travels!

  3. What a delightful sequence of shots. I've always loved driftwood and you have so many good examples of it.

  4. Such a great example of using ones imagination to see beyond the ordinary in an object! I saw a dolphin face, fish face, triceratop eating a log... what a fun post! :)

  5. The possibilities are endless, it seems, for free interpretation of the patterns found in the driftwood around us. The "yawning face" was especially interesting. I'm thinking you may have explored Jericho and Spanish Banks for your rich collection of beautiful examples to share with your happy readers. I enjoyed your painting as well, Gillian. You manage to pack a lot of art into your weeks. I hope you are having a wonderful trip! I'm really looking forward to the photos and to reading all about it.

  6. I love beachcombing and I always found the driftwood to be pretty. If you stare at a piece long enough, you can see all kinds of objects and faces. I love your watercolor, well done Gillian!

  7. I can only imagine all the many photos you are taking during your trip, Gillian! I look forward to seeing them when you return. Driftwood is art sculpted by nature and I believe actually illegal to remove from some beaches. The last photo of the hollow tree makes such a pretty frame for the seascape beyond. And the arch beautifully frames your watercolor bell.

  8. I love the driftwood photos and your painting! Have you taken a look at my blog today, driftwood on the beach?

  9. You've captured the magic of driftwood with your photos. But your painting is a big highlight in this post. I remember searching the beaches for driftwood as a child. It was haunting at times because wooden pieces from old sea vessels would come ashore on Lake Michigan. Your pics take me back to those days. Wonderfully done!

  10. I love driftwood! These are beautiful shots! You have a huge variety of wood and the detail is excellent!

  11. Wow - what wonderful beach art you've found and captured for us artistically.

  12. I just love you post today. How fun to find so many different types of drift wood. I must say I love walking on the beach and seeing what the sea has swept in. I just love to find Sea Glass. I really hardly ever find it. Just every now and then..


  13. Wowee, that is perfection, the detail, the truth, brilliant. The person behind the camera, Gillian, you are a great woman.

  14. Another beautiful piece!
    And your beachcombing adventure looked delightful!

  15. I am enriched by your flotsam and jetsam!

  16. You have such a wonderful artistic eye and a great imagination! ;)

  17. So wonderful to see Gillian.. fantastic images.

  18. What a wonderful time I just spent enjoying your driftwood exploration. You have such an artistic way of looking at these beauties. And your painting, as always is lovely.

  19. awesome post! love the pretty flowers