Augustus and Stuart

We were both sitting on the beach at St Margaret’s Bay on what was likely to be the last hot day of the summer of 2017

A sea haze had obscured France and we both watched as the Dover ferries disappeared slowly into the heavy mists

I looked at the artist who was sketching Noel Cowards former home

Do you think that on a day as benign as this that we really understand the sea?

It all depends if there is anything to understand in the first place

You may have a point

Do not believe me young man

Make up your own mind

No artist has in my view has ever captured the sea



Turner captured the light  

If you can paint what you can see and not what you think you can see then then maybe you have commenced your journey thats all

But who am I to discuss this with you

I wish that she would keep still


The girl who is walking at the water’s edge   

I looked into the strong sunlight and saw a girl walking her dog

Occasionally she would throw a piece of wood into the sea for the dog to retrieve

Offer her a pound to sit for me  

That does not happen anymore

She would think that we are both strange fellows

Artists can be quite strange

I looked at Augustus’s pad

It was full of rapid charcoal sketches of both the girl and the house behind us

Each of us has a different understanding of things

It would not do to be the same

Are you going to paint later?

No I painted for a number of hours this morning

What was your subject?

The sea of course

I painted the sea



An account of an imaginary conversation between Augustus John and the author at St Margaret’s Bay Kent on August 29th 2017