Cape Cod's beaches have long inspired artists, probably for as long as there have been people around to enjoy them. What is it about the nearly 560 miles of coastline that invites creativity? Color, texture, heat, life, nature. Between happy dogs, beach joggers, and laughing children, there lies inspiration – and sand is often at the root of it!
Pick up a handful and you have about 2 million grains running through your fingers. Think back a million years or so, and that handful will have been a part of a rock face perhaps many miles from the coast. Weathered and eroded by wind and water, the rock cracks and breaks, and as it rolls down river and stream it gets smaller and smaller as it goes, until arriving at the coast. The tiny rock particles are now sand. The journey carried on as the sand is pulled into the ocean and—along with everything else—is compressed, gradually turning back into rock. These are not transient in our minds, but permanent and fixed places of beauty and inspiration.
Now think of artists gaining inspiration from these grains of beach and sea, dissembling it into the imaginative impulse, and reassembling it into a work of art. Artists like Edward Hopper, Mary Oliver, Cynthia Packard, and Stanley Kunitz have all been inspired by Cape Cod's beaches.
So the next time you are walking across a sandy beach, looking over one to the ocean, or just relaxing on one in the sun, ponder those centuries of books, photographs, songs, or paintings that are inspired by those tiny particles of rocks. Think about the miraculous link between the extraordinary process of nature that brought it to us, and art that we create in return.