|Alan's first sketch from his list - the Hazelhurst Ruins and Putney Bay. An okay start!|
After breakfast with Adrian, Alan walked out to the path that begins practically outside the door. He had brought along an old watercolor set he used for traveling, and a scrap of paper Adrian gave him. (He'll venture to the art store in Skegness later!)
A sign at the trailhead said "Southwest Path" in large letters, then below, "Hazelhurst-Hooksands Section" then a list of destinations with distance in miles. He was pleased at how close his lodgings were to some of the places he needed to find.
It was still late morning, and the light, as Adrian predicted, wasn't quite right yet, so Alan decided to explore the ruins for a while. He figured this place must have been a smallish town, set on a low hill just above the beach. He wonders what they called it, what its name was. There were traces of stone streets or walkways, but the buildings are what caught his attention. They seemed like they could have been used by extended families or groups of families...each one had many rooms. He marveled at the tightly-fitted stonework, all very smooth on the surfaces. He looked for carvings or architectural ornament of some sort but found none. On the beach-side of the town, he noticed a roped-off section of several holes and dirt piles partly covered by a flimsy canvas-covered roof. Maybe this is where Mandrill had been working, probably looking for artifacts or bones or who knows what. There was no sign of activity now, that he could see.
Alan had read on the back of his road map that a civilization called the "Old People" had once lived all over this island for "several thousand years", up until about 800 years ago. This was fascinating to him. He wondered, Who were they? What happened to them?
Finally, as the afternoon sun cast a softer light and created better shadows, Alan sat down along the main path, not very far from his lodgings, pulled out his paint box, mixed up some colors, and started a small watercolor.
Well, here I am...Okay, I'll start with that line of sand dunes out there, and then the ocean...
He sketched in the ruins, the bay, the clouds and continued until he had roughed in the foreground, right up to where he was sitting.
It was a fine afternoon, and the sound of the surf and the soft, salty air seemed to soothe Alan's anxieties. He sat on a large rock out there for about two hours, and then spent another three at his kitchen table that evening to finish it...not too bad!