Coastal Images of America: At the Water's Edge by Ray Ellis, Robert D. Ballard |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Coastal Images of America: At the Water's Edge

Coastal Images of America: At the Water's Edge

by Ray Ellis, Robert D. Ballard
     
 
With masterly paintings by Ray Ellis and an authoritative text by Robert Ballard, this captivating book portrays the beauty, majesty, and diversity of America's Atlantic and Pacific coastlines.

With masterly paintings by Ray Ellis, representing more than two decades of work, and an authoritative text by Robert Ballard, an intrepid undersea explorer and scientist,

Overview

With masterly paintings by Ray Ellis and an authoritative text by Robert Ballard, this captivating book portrays the beauty, majesty, and diversity of America's Atlantic and Pacific coastlines.

With masterly paintings by Ray Ellis, representing more than two decades of work, and an authoritative text by Robert Ballard, an intrepid undersea explorer and scientist, this captivating book portrays the beauty, majesty, and diversity of America's Atlantic and Pacific coastlines.

Ray Ellis depicts the full sweep of the coasts in his highly praised, impressionistic style, from the Maine shoreline to the Florida Keys and from the Northwest's inland waters to Baja, California. This unsurpassed collection of oils and watercolors includes views of New England's rocky shores and sandy beaches, Chesapeake Bay oystermen caught in a squall, South Carolina's haunting Low Country, the rugged Oregon coast where Lewis and Clark first sighted the Pacific Ocean, the spirit of sailing across San Francisco Bay, and the expanse and loveliness of Big Sur. His paintings are as varied as the water's edge itself, encompassing landscapes and seascapes, as well as lighthouses, marine creatures, sailors, and beachcombers. In Walter Cronkite's words, Ellis "has the ability to see beauty in almost anything."

Robert Ballard's knowledgeable text, complementing Ray Ellis's paintings and captions, is a fascinating kaleidoscope of coastal history and natural history and provides an account of how the shoreline was formed and its condition today as well as stories of early settlers and present-day residents. The author is a foremost authority on the sea, having organized and conducted more than one hundreddeep-sea expeditions, including those that located the Titanic and the Bismarck and more recently Roman ships in the Mediterranean.

This is an ideal gift book for anyone who enjoys living, boating, or vacationing along the seacoasts.

Other Details: 163 full-color illustrations 196 pages 9 7/8 x 9 7/8" Published 1998

remnants. The granite heart of the mountains was further subjected to weathering and subsequent erosion as torn fragments of those tall peaks were washed down rivers toward the sea and formed the beautiful sandy beaches of the Atlantic that dip gently beneath the ocean waves. The geologic forces that wrenched the earth apart to form the Atlantic are dormant now, although perhaps they will awaken again at some point in the distant future.

In the West, on the other hand, geologic disruptions still effect change as the Pacific Ocean floor continues to either crash into or glide past the edge of the continent, causing frequent earthquakes and such periodic volcanic eruptions as the deadly explosion of Mount St. Helens. Within sight of western shores, tall snow-covered mountains rise skyward, a stark contrast to the low-lying coastal plains of the East.

The difference in character between east and west coasts can be seen not only in the rocky surfaces that underpin their shorelines, but also in their contrasting climatic forces. The winds that lash the west coast blow in from the sea, but not before they race across the vast Pacific Ocean, building up truly gigantic waves that lose little of their energy before they crash against the rocky western shorelines. Wave heights of up to ninety-five feet (29 m) have been recorded along these coasts. Of course eastern shorelines can be dramatic in terms of wave action as well-notably during hurricane season, or in winter when nor'easters slam onto shore. But hurricanes and nor'easters quickly come and go, whereas in the West the powerful, pulverizing action of waves is relentless.

Although the west coast surpasses the east in terms of the energy of its waves, the East experiences far greater extremes of weather. Both coasts have weather systems dominated by the westerly flow of air. Western shores benefit from moisture-laden winds that have traveled across a sea surface having relatively moderate temperatures year-round. Up to 200 inches (508 cm) of rain fall each year in the Pacific Northwest, giving that region the heaviest continental precipitation north of the rain forests of Guatemala. As the winds journey east, however, they travel across the North American continent heated in summer and cooled in winter by more extreme land temperatures, resulting in equally extreme weather patterns. Along eastern coasts, August days are typically humid and sultry. In February, by contrast, sea ice is driven onto frozen beaches while rain forests along the north coast of North America testify to its mild temperatures year-round.

And finally, to this mix we add ourselves and our ability to change the natural character of the water's edge. The first people to inhabit our shores crossed the Bering Strait during the last ice age when the sea's surface dropped and a land bridge was created. As it supplied water to the advancing continental ice sheets, the sea drew back its watery apron to provide a footpath for our wandering relatives, who crossed from Siberia to Alaska and then made their way down along the west coast. These first inhabitants did little to modify or mold the landscape of the West, choosing instead to live in harmony with nature. Not until the seventeenth century, when the Europeans arrived, did human activity begin to rapidly transform shoreline habitats. Cutting down the beautiful virgin forests to build and heat their homes and to support a growing maritime commerce, the Europeans began to make changes that have continued and accelerated to this day.

Still, despite man's often harmful tampering, our shorelines continue to provide homes and refuges to humans and animals alike. But few of us have been lucky enough to have much time to walk along the watery boundary of our great country-to see, touch, hear, smell, and taste its unique character. Now, thanks to the skillful eye and artful hand of Ray Ellis, we can all make this journey time and time again as we walk along the water's edge through the wonderful paintings exhibited here.

Robert D. Ballard

Previous Praise for Martha's Vineyard: An Affectionate Memoir

"The watercolors make you feel as if you're holding a piece of a Vineyard afternoon in your hands. . . . This is the best introduction to the Island of Martha's Vineyard now in print." --The Vineyard Gazette"

"Ray Ellis is a master painter of the Vineyard in all her seasons and moods. . . . This is a lovely book, an Island summer of a book. . . ." --The Martha's Vineyard Times

"Ray Ellis has the ability to see the beauty of almost anything and capture it in his paintings." --Walter Cronkite

Author Biography: Ray Ellis is an award-winning artist whose paintings are widely exhibited throughout the U.S. and London. He has contributed paintings to seven books including Martha's Vineyard: An Affectionate Memoir. He currently resides in Martha's Vineyard.

Robert Ballard is the President of the Institute for Exploration. He has written The Discovery of the Titanic and The Discovery of the Bismarck, among other books. He and his family live in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Represents more than two decades of Ellis's paintings which depict the full sweep of both coasts and encompass landscapes and seascapes, lighthouses, marine creatures, sailors, and beachcombers. The color reproductions, together with Ballard's text, provide a kaleidoscope of coastal and natural history, an account of how the shoreline was formed and its condition today, and stories of early settlers and present-day residents. Oversize: 10.25x10.25". Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789203137
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Pages:
196
Product dimensions:
10.21(w) x 10.25(h) x 1.05(d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

I'm delighted that the superb paintings and watercolors that Ray Ellis did originally for our series of books on America's coasts have found a home in a single volume along with a number of fascinating new pictures.

The achievement is considerably augmented by the new text by our mutual friend, Bob Ballard--certainly the most adventuresome and successful deep sea explorer of the twentieth century.

This volume will be a treasure to read and a treasure to keep.

Walter Cronkite

Foreword

After a voyage to Antarctica several years ago, I realized that I had experienced the good fortune of painting on all seven continents. My life has been rich with travel, but the thought occurs to me as I enter my 77th year that the places I love the best are right here in the United States, in particular our shoreline areas.

People so often ask me which is my favorite part of the coasts or which are my favorite paintings. That is like asking who my favorite child is. Each has its own special qualities-the endless marshes, waterways, and wildlife of the southeast coast; the great ruggedness of the Maine coast and the hundreds of islands offshore; the wide sandy beaches of the middle and south Atlantic; the long spectacular coastline of California's Big Sur; and the larger than life monoliths that dot the northwest coast. All of these inspired many paintings. To name a specific area or a favorite painting would be impossible.

With Coastal Images of America, Abbeville Press has taken the best of my paintings of America's coasts from the three books I did with Walter Cronkite and added many new ones. Bob Ballard's fascinating text is the icing on the cake. I am thrilled toleave this legacy of the country I love so much.

Ray Ellis

Introduction

The Water's Edge

The water's edge by the sea is where all the elements of our planet, which make it unique, come together. Blending like paints on an artist's canvas, they create scenes of vast diversity. To walk along the shores of America from the rocky coast of Maine to the coral sands of Key West, from the deep blue-green waters of Puget Sound to the rolling surf off San Diego, is to experience spectacular beauty as well as the volatile side of Mother Nature.

Along some of our shores violent waves crash into rocky outcrops like cannonballs against a castle's stone buttresses, while at other times in other places the ocean is serene and gentle, its waves of frothy foam rushing up sandy beaches then disappearing beneath the surface without a trace. The heartiest of creatures live here and many more come to feed upon them, their shells designed to weather either assault.

Since mankind first walked the surface of the planet, he must have been drawn to its craggy shores and sandy beaches, attracted by a symphony of sounds, by wondrous smells, and by the lure of surprise and mystery. When the first settlers reached the shores of America, they were impatient to head inland in hopes of finding land to claim as their own. But in recent years that migration has reversed itself as more and more Americans are preferring to live at the water's edge.

Like the country itself, our east and west coasts have distinct characteristics. The East is old and subdued while the West is young and full of energy. The origins of this difference can be traced to our continent's prehistoric past.

The east coast was born many millions of years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, leaving their footprints in the red sands of the Connecticut Valley. As the Americas and Africa separated-eventually to form the Atlantic Ocean-seawater began flowing into the giant rift in the earth's outer skin. The separation of North America and Africa tore open and exposed the roots of the ancient Appalachian Mountains, which had been created eons earlier by the collision of those same continental giants.

In the course of millions of years after the Atlantic Ocean was created, countless rainstorms and mighty glaciers scoured the land, reducing once-tall mountains to worn remnants. The granite heart of the mountains was further subjected to weathering and subsequent erosion as torn fragments of those tall peaks were washed down rivers toward the sea and formed the beautiful sandy beaches of the Atlantic that dip gently beneath the ocean waves. The geologic forces that wrenched the earth apart to form the Atlantic are dormant now, although perhaps they will awaken again at some point in the distant future.

In the West, on the other hand, geologic disruptions still effect change as the Pacific Ocean floor continues to either crash into or glide past the edge of the continent, causing frequent earthquakes and such periodic volcanic eruptions as the deadly explosion of Mount St. Helens. Within sight of western shores, tall snow-covered mountains rise skyward, a stark contrast to the low-lying coastal plains of the East.

The difference in character between east and west coasts can be seen not only in the rocky surfaces that underpin their shorelines, but also in their contrasting climatic forces. The winds that lash the west coast blow in from the sea, but not before they race across the vast Pacific Ocean, building up truly gigantic waves that lose little of their energy before they crash against the rocky western shorelines. Wave heights of up to ninety-five feet (29 m) have been recorded along these coasts. Of course eastern shorelines can be dramatic in terms of wave action as well-notably during hurricane season, or in winter when nor'easters slam onto shore. But hurricanes and nor'easters quickly come and go, whereas in the West the powerful, pulverizing action of waves is relentless.

Although the west coast surpasses the east in terms of the energy of its waves, the East experiences far greater extremes of weather. Both coasts have weather systems dominated by the westerly flow of air. Western shores benefit from moisture-laden winds that have traveled across a sea surface having relatively moderate temperatures year-round. Up to 200 inches (508 cm) of rain fall each year in the Pacific Northwest, giving that region the heaviest continental precipitation north of the rain forests of Guatemala. As the winds journey east, however, they travel across the North American continent heated in summer and cooled in winter by more extreme land temperatures, resulting in equally extreme weather patterns. Along eastern coasts, August days are typically humid and sultry. In February, by contrast, sea ice is driven onto frozen beaches while rain forests along the north coast of North America testify to its mild temperatures year-round.

And finally, to this mix we add ourselves and our ability to change the natural character of the water's edge. The first people to inhabit our shores crossed the Bering Strait during the last ice age when the sea's surface dropped and a land bridge was created. As it supplied water to the advancing continental ice sheets, the sea drew back its watery apron to provide a footpath for our wandering relatives, who crossed from Siberia to Alaska and then made their way down along the west coast. These first inhabitants did little to modify or mold the landscape of the West, choosing instead to live in harmony with nature. Not until the seventeenth century, when the Europeans arrived, did human activity begin to rapidly transform shoreline habitats. Cutting down the beautiful virgin forests to build and heat their homes and to support a growing maritime commerce, the Europeans began to make changes that have continued and accelerated to this day.

Still, despite man's often harmful tampering, our shorelines continue to provide homes and refuges to humans and animals alike. But few of us have been lucky enough to have much time to walk along the watery boundary of our great country-to see, touch, hear, smell, and taste its unique character. Now, thanks to the skillful eye and artful hand of Ray Ellis, we can all make this journey time and time again as we walk along the water's edge through the wonderful paintings exhibited here.

Robert D. Ballard

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