During the summer of 1958 Mark Rothko visited Feiler in Kerris. The Russian American painter's trip made a lasting impression and towards the end of the decade Feiler's paintings were becoming much more abstracted. His Atlantic seascapes on the Cornish Coast were often dominated by thick expanses of white paint struck through with slabs of dark, sometimes black pigment. Works from this period were designated by the names of features on the Cornish Coast. Porthledden (May 1960), named after the bay below Cape Cornwall, is such a work.
I met with Paul Feiler and Catharine Armitage in the presence of this work a few years before Paul died. Whilst Feiler proffered no explanation nor interpretation of the piece he did gift one insight. Just above Porthledden bay rises Cape Cornwall, England's only cape. A mile off the Cape lie the Brisons but just metres off the Cape are some equally striking rock formations that can only be observed from the end of the Cape. Within these dark rocks is a natural cut-out rectangle of space which appears to frame the ocean and crashing waves beyond. It was the vision of this natural wonder in the 1950s, when a friend took Feiler to the spot, that in a moment fixed in his mind this part of West Penwith as where he must live and work.
Feiler painted a series of at least 4 Porthledden paintings of which this is the original work.