Fettes Douglas first began to paint watercolours late in his career, when serious ill-health prevented him from working on large oil paintings. His watercolours feature a restrained palette of greys and browns, and rely on simple, subdued compositions. Fettes Douglas visited Holland and Belgium in 1878, and was greatly influenced by the atmospheric works of The Hague School. Their use of low-key colours and sombre tones to depict flat, panoramic landscapes, is evident in this atmospheric watercolour. The distant breaking waves of the sea can just be seen on the far right of the picture, a reminder that the enormous swathe of exposed sand is momentary: the sea will return and cover it again.