The Outermost House and The House on Nauset Marsh – nature writing like no other


seagulls mission ETSY DARK 2014.jpg
I painted these gulls years ago in watercolour and it is only this week that I have found out their name – Laughing Gulls


Before you read any further would you like to just close your eyes and listen to the sounds of waves on a Cape Cod beach as seagulls and shorebirds call and sing in the sky. This will get you in the mood for this post which is inspired by the beauty of Cape Cod.

I have recently read the cult classic for coastal lovers “The Outermost House” by Henry Beston in 1928 and I didn’t want it to end.

It is a gentle and honest book with no edge to it. The love of the place is clear and the author makes you yearn to experience it too with painterly pictures of birds, beaches, lighthouses and marshes and tales of surf and sky.

He tells of a simpler and more innocent way of life – but one that was much closer to the elements. And that is what appealed to me. He has simple comforts in his wooden beach house which allows a closer connection with nature. To him this is what is lacking in the modern world – he was talking this way in 1927 – imagine how he would feel if he could see how cocooned the developed world now is – even further from nature’s effects.

In his words – “The world today is sick to its thin blood for lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water welling up from the earth, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot…”

His descriptions of birds inspired me to get out my pencil and sketch some – below are very quick sketches of between 5-15 minutes.

– my favourite is definitely the Laughing Gull with his distinctive head and tail feathers.

I eked out chapter after chapter – savouring each word as the descriptions of a year spent in a beach cottage back in the 1920’s came to life by the author —-brilliant descriptions.


EKM nautical 3
To view my nautically inspired animal watercolours please click this image.

seag.jpegThis is another pencil sketch – I love the way this yellowleg seagull’s head sinks down into his neck.



seagull draw.jpeg
In this pencil study I enjoyed focussing on his statuesque head and those incredible angles of his arched wings


Following on from The Outermost House I felt the need for more of the same and found The House on Nauset Marsh by Wyman Richardson. This writer has a dry witty style which had me laughing. His descriptions of animal antics along the Cape Cod shore are pricelsss but he too is a naturalist and underlying his narrative is a deep love and respect for the natural world.

I hope you enjoy reading these books if you decide to give them a try



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