The Paradise beach by Knäbäckshusen, Österlen.

Paradise lost

The “tropical” beach at Knäbäckshusen in Österlen has been voted the most beautiful beach in Sweden.

September 9th last year came in a hot spell of indian summer. It was even warm enough for a dip in the ocean, a rarity in these waters. In the afternoon, the still lush green forest began to cast its long shadows on the powdery white sand.

Slipping into early “golden hours”, the light became warm and vibrant in the moist atmosphere. People seemed drousy, contemplative, perhaps awestruck. A moment in paradise.

What I did not know, was that this was the last chance in a long while to enjoy this haven.

The next month, all hell broke loose. The pristine beach was destroyed in the storm Babet. Trees fell, the cliff was hollowed out by high waves and the sand was covered with large rocks. The long stairway leading down to the beach was massacred by the huge waves and will not be replaced until the summer of 2025. The beach is expected to be closed for the rest of the year.

This painting is an attempt to recreate my experience of this late summer day before Babet.

In the background the chapel and the old stairway. The affectionate couple in the sun, the tall figure in the shadow and the woman with her kid by the water. They all seem to be waiting, looking for something out there. A storm, the end of summer, or something else.

“Before the storm”, oil on gesso primed board, 57×40 cm.

To see a larger version, click the image below: