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 Bill Bernbeck
  Bio  Artist Statement  Journal Gallery 

Walkabout Journal

La Mar

I go to the shore almost every day. I admit to being a daydreamer. Daydreams awaken even more when close to the ocean. Wintering on Nantucket gives me daily opportunities to visit the ocean and experience a little more of the entity that is all around it.

Sea and Sky - Bill BernbeckThe sea surrounding the island has a pulse that beckons. It is fascinating in any of its moods. The tranquility of its still water lulls you. Its stormy outbursts grip with an intensity that horrifies and fascinates. The ocean is never completely at rest. There is always movement. Wavelets still come to shore on its calmest days.

I am a born-again beachcomber. Everything the sea chooses to send ashore has a story to tell. The shells of countless creatures provide a unique mosaic set into the sand.  Driftwood becomes sculpture, the salty brine washing it into a pleasing shade of gray. Quartz pebbles tumble into perfect white gems. Stones at the water’s edge form a parabolic signature tracking back into the water.

I frequently photograph scenes that contain only water and sky. The shimmer of light reflected off the water mesmerizes as it plays from the distant horizon all the way into the foamy wash at the shore.  I watch how the waves crest and curl before breaking. The water at the top of the curl turns a translucent green as it flows up and over itself. No matter how many pictures I have made, I continue to capture these scenes again and yet again. The rhythm is endless. The variations are infinite.

In “The Old Man and the Sea”, Ernest Hemingway described the ocean through old Santiago’s eyes.

La Mar by Bill Burnbeck

He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her.  Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman.  Some of the younger fishermen …spoke of her as el mar which is masculine.  They spoke of her as a contest or a place or even as an enemy.  But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them…”


A frequent visitor to the island, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was inspired to note in his journal...

            On the seashore of Nantucket I saw the play of the Atlantic with the coast … Ah what freedom & grace & beauty with all this might.  The wind blew back the foam from the top of each billow as it rolled in, like the hair of a woman in the wind… We should not have dared to believe that this existed…

Like Santiago and Emerson, I let myself be captive to her. She nurtures my imagination. She cradles my inspiration. She gives me beauty to enjoy. I am infatuated with her.

Sunrays by Bill Bernbeck

And I will always want to return.

Bill Bernbeck

April 2008

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All images and writings Copyright Bill Bernbeck


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