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Now and again I revisit this offering of nature, take photos and with only simple editing, reveal the wonderful delicacy and dreamlike images of these patterns in the sand created by the retreating tide. Nuff said. Please enjoy the images.














trees in forest



For more of these images, please visit my sand paintings page on my website:–photos-





Shimmering Light, Ventry Beach


Bright sunlight shimmering on the water and the wet sand ripples at low tide on Ventry Beach, Dingle Peninsula, West Kerry, Ireland. More on my website,

Pattern and Rhythm

Cliffs of Moher
The famous Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. The forms of the cliffs running into the distance create a rhythmic aspect to the composition, and I have attempted to express the richness of the patterns in each area of the picture.

Have you ever thought about how much your life is affected, governed, controlled by patterns and rhythms. Rhythms are intrinsic to our existence. Our bodies have rhythms; the earth has rhythms; seasons are rhythmic. Rhythms are all around us in our environment.  We seem to have a basic need to organise our life and working spaces into rhythms and patterns. Without this organisation we would have chaos.

Rural farming landscape in the hills of Northern Thailand

The furrows in the field, the trees in the distance and the banana trees in the foreground all offer variety and interest to the rhythms and patterns of this composition. I also use fast flowing strokes to further contribute to the rhythms and movement in the picture.

Small wonder that works of art are often designed with the use of clearly defined areas of rhythms and patterns, which are important aspects to the composition.

Rough Sea with Sleeping Giant

Stormy Sea on Clogher Beach with Inis Tuaisceart (also known as the Sleeping Giant) in the background. The sea provides endless possibilities for the expression of rhythms and patterns.

Patterns in nature are free and random, while still maintaining a sense of organisation. Rhythms and patterns are to be found in many art forms.

Fermoyle Beach, on the north side of the dingle peninsula, West Kerry

The rhythm of the waves on the sea,rolling into the beach, an endless rhythm, random, yet repetitive, maintaining an irresistible visual excitement.

It seems our artistic sensibilities and responses are, in many cases, strongly influenced and encouraged by our need for rhythm and patterns. Often, in visual art, it is impossible to clearly define the difference between rhythms and patterns, but you know – it doesn’t really matter.

Wood Shed in the forest, by the River Wye

The wood pile, the corrugated roof, all framed by the rich foliage provided a wonderful opportunity to express the wonder of nature in its fabulous varieties of patterns

Of course there are many other aspects to a work of art, but for this post I am focusing on pattern and rhythm. I have selected some of my paintings and photos that have examples of pattern in the composition.

Villages and Terraces in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Mountain terraces and village houses offer fascinating sources of patterns in the landscape, in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco


ventry sand patterns 2
The retreating tide leaves patterns in the sand, enhanced by the golden light of the setting sun
Sunset at Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, with the Blasket Islands in view

Without the pattern in these clouds, there would be limited visual interest

In a pond beside Tralee Ship Canal, two swans negotiate a film of ice around the edge.

There is a hint of rhythm created by the two swans, working with the grasses in the foreground. The pattern on the water in the background contrasts with the smooth surface of the ice around the edge.

Evening clouds on Ventry Beach, Dingle Peninsula

Clouds are a wonderful source of nature’s patterns

The setting sun reflects on the fishing boats in Dingle harbor

The visual rhythm created by the row of boats is enhanced by the strong golden evening sunlight, and their colours are unified. The composition gains further interest by the patterns in the clouds, water and stone wall etc.

Nature has taken root in the walls of this old building

Reduced to black and white, we are encouraged to appreciate the details of the patterns in the wall and nature’s growth from the crevices.

The ruin of the schoolhouse used in the movie 'Ryan's Daughter'

In this old skeleton of a ruin of the schoolhouse used in the movie Ryan’s Daughter, over thirty years ago, the sunlight shining through provides interesting rhythms of light and dark.

Beach Walking – Ventry Beach

Ventry Beach

Beach walking in Kerry is one of the many privileges available to those who live here. Kerry has several beautiful beaches, many of them absolutely stunning – long, short, rough, refined, friendly and not so friendly, but all of them a real joy to experience.


On Ventry Beach, Dingle Peninsula, bathed in a beautiful warm coloured afternoon light on a winter’s day, with a view of the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula across the bay.

Ventry Beach, on the Dingle Peninsula, about 5 miles from Dingle town, is one of the many, much loved blue flag beaches. At about 3 miles long it makes a perfect distance for a regular walk.


The sunlight glistening on the water at Ventry Beach

Ventry Beach 204

In this view the snow can be seen is on the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula in South Kerry


The sea is not so rough here as a general rule, being quite sheltered and it’s a popular beach for swimmers. Observing the long, gentle, uniform waves breaking on the beach is a marvellous meditation. At certain times on a sunny day the sunlight glistens and gleams on the frothy foamy breakers and swirling, swishing, whispering sudsy water.

From the beach can be seen the Iveragh Peninsula (South Kerry), famous for many things, notably the Ring of Kerry route around the peninsula, a popular tourist route, and also for Mount Carrantuohill, (the highest peak in Ireland), which can be seen from here. It’s particularly beautiful on a clear evening, or a winter’s day when snow covered – not a very frequent event.


On one end of the beach can be seen the village of Ventry, appealingly nestling on the gently sloping hillside, and depending on your viewpoint, Mount Eagle and Cruach Mharhain can be seen and at the other side is Mount Brandon – all beautiful walks for another day.

Birdlife is plentiful here, although numbers appeared to diminish after our two bitterly cold winters. We are now almost through the second milder winter since then, and things may be starting to recover.

On some occasions the clouds may form a blanket-like layer – more like a fluffy white duvet descending over the entire area – an event which, if one painted, nobody could believe it to be real or possible.


A duvet-like blanket of cloud descends over the hills around Ventry Beach

Sand comes mainly in two shades here – dark and light. This enables the creation of a striking wavy repeat pattern all over the beach in low tide, as the retreating water drags the two different colours while separating them, towards the sea. Also, the receding water creates exquisite rivulets in the sand, enhanced by the contrasting tones. See:


A pattern created in the sand on Ventry Beach as the tide drops and the two shades of sand separate, dragged by the retreating water.


Another picture of sand patterns on Ventry Beach


Retreating Tide on Ventry Beach

The persistent rough weather this winter has ravaged the sand dunes, but I have seen this happen before. Nature has a way of destroying and renewing. By the end of the summer you won’t even notice the damage.

More images of Ventry and other places on the Dingle Peninsula can be seen on my website at