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Sketching again

Sketch of Pentire Headland

In a previous post I talked about my recent eye surgery however I am delighted to report that I am sketching again!

A few weeks ago it was a gloriously sunny day, Mark had made pasties so we packed them up and headed up to West Pentire. The view from the car park was just stunning – gosh I do love Cornwall.

I decided to have a go at a quick sketch looking across to Pentire Headland. The tide was coming in and there were great surfing conditions. I did struggle a bit using my one good eye, which made it quite hard to work out the exactly how far away the paper was! We also had a walk around where I was able to get some good reference photos for future sketches.

Looking towards Crantock beach

As the car park was rather expensive, we only stayed for an hour and drove up to Pentire Headland. Thanks to Cornwall Council offering free car parking during the winter in some places, we could stay as long as we liked.

The tide had been coming in fast and looking across to Crantock beach, the sand was almost covered.

Sketch of Crantock beach with tide coming in

I didn’t think I did too bad a job until I realised I forgot to paint the sky! 

Not sure how the sketching went, painting with one eye is not easy but I did enjoy our beautiful scenery. 

Sketching at home

Back at home I decided more practice needed and as I had been asked if I had any small paintings of the Newquay area, so I some more sketching from my ol photos.

I started with my little sketches of Holywell Bay, Newquay Harbour and the views across Fistral Bay.

This was very successful annd I am pleased with the results. Even better I turned 5 of them into cards and 3 were sold within a few days! I definitely will be sketching more locations around Newquay.

Chapel Porth

Drawing of Wheal Coates

I know feel inspired to get sketching again and Chapel Porth is next on the list! This and I love this scene.

I have lots more ideas for future cards, mainly painting scenes like Chapel Porth above that are always popular. Also on my list are Kynance Cove, St Michaels Mount, as well as different locations like Porthgwarra, Housel Bay, Lands End … to mention but a few!

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I wish I could paint like you


Someone recently said to me “I wish I could paint like you”, which was a lovely compliment but I thought you should see some of my earlier work! So I have decided to show you my earlier work, and tell you more of my story about how I got started.

Painting in Menorca

We were on holiday in Menorca during August, and it can get very hot, so whilst having a Siesta I decided to use the sketch books and watercolour pencils that my daughter Siobhan had brought with us (she wanted to go to Art College).

Illustration: S'Algar

These were painted at our favourite spot in a little place called S’Algar and whilst I found it extremely relaxing and I enjoyed it, I was also frustrated because I couldn’t achieve the results I wanted, it all looked a bit flat. Actually it is a lot worse than being a bit flat, there are so many other trhings wrong with it! The perspective is totally wrong, not to mention the field of depth. The lighthouse (the red and white striped building), is many miles away, the watchtower, sat on the rocks is a bit closer, but it feels very close. And talking of rocks did you realise it was rocks? I could go on …


I won’t post all of my paintings from that holiday but I feel happier with this pot. It was a decorative feature in front of the holiday bungalow we were staying in. This time I didn’t have to worry about perspective or depth of field and as a consequence is a lot more successful. This gave me hope that I could improve I just needed to learn new skills.

Attend evening class

Whilst at school I was good at drawing, and in fact my best O Level was Art (yes I am that old that I did O Levels). So on returm from our holiday I decided to attend a local evening class for Beginners in Watercolours. My tutor was Rachael Phillips, an excellent teacher and I owe so much to her.

Illustration: Lemons

Within three weeks I produced this still life drawing of lemons — already looking better I think. I had learnt how to use the paint and blend it much better. The image at the top of a Fuschia, another still life, learning a technique called “wet on wet”, was also from those early lessons. I was really getting into this and enjoying painting.


Won an award!

By the end of the first year I painted this seascape of a wave splashing against the rocks at Godrevy. This is still one of my favourite paintings and I won an award for it!

But what about my daughter Siobhan? She did go to Art College and trained as a Graphic Designer. She is currently working as Art Director for a major book publisher, with millions seeing her book covers! So win win.

I would encourage anyone to go out and try what you want to do, who knows where it might lead.

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A5 printed cards

A5 printed cards of watercolour paintings from West Cornwall

I have introduced a new product line – A5 printed cards. I already have a range of greeting cards , in various sizes including A6, A5 and square cards that I produce myself, using original watercolours. These are very popular as it is an inexpensive way of owning a piece of original artwork. You can also make them into inexpensive presents by purchasing a frame.

As mentioned in my previous post, I am struggling to paint at the moment due to recent eye surgery. That has meant I am struggling to keep up with demand, although I have managed to paint a few of these little paintings. So I decided to get some A5 printed cards of my most popular paintings to help meet demand.

Initially I have chosen 8 paintings, 4 in portrait format, and 4 in landscape format, to gauge the amount of interest. If they prove popular I will get more paintings/designs printed.

They will be available individually, as well as in a 4 and 8 packs. There are two 4 pack cards – one features West Cornwall beaches.

West Cornwall beaches

These beaches are all from St Ives Bay – such a glorious location and a clear favourite with people. There are two of Godrevy beach, one with the lighthouse and one focusing on the water; looking down on Hayle beach from the Towans and the harbour beach at St Ives, looking across to Smeaton’s Tower. Other beaches that spring to mind for future cards are Sennen and Porthcurno.

West Cornwall coast scenes

This 4 pack includes coastal scenes from around the West Cornwall area. The cards include the iconic Engine House at Wheal Coates, Chapel Porth; boats resting in St Ives Harbour, waves crashing against the rocks at Godrevy and low tide at Marazion, looking towards St Michael’s Mount.

They have been printed by St Austell Printing Company on Premium 300gsm FSC card from sustainable sources, the inside is blank for your own message. Each card will be supplied with a quality white C5 envelope. I can’t wait to see how popular they are.

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Pen and Ink — with colour or without?


I like to experiment with different techniques and I have tried adding some colour to some pen and ink drawings that I have drawn previously.

Does it look better in colour or do you prefer the black and white originals?

Wheal Francis

Wheal Francis pen and ink drawing
Marriots Shaft at Wheal Francis mine, painted in watercolour

Wheal Francis Mine Workings, on the Great Flat Lode just outside of Piece. On this one I like it as a drawing, I feel it captures more of the essence of the place, and the atmoshere of the disused mine buildings.


Frigiliana pen and ink drawing
Frigiliana alley painted using watercolour

A courtyard in Frigliana, Spain – and whilst I really enjoyed using pen and ink to draw this, I think it looks better with a little bit of colour. The colour of the plants, and subtle paving, adds a splash of colour against the white spanish buildings. Buildings definitely look better having the original drawing in ink, so that the structure of the buildings are clearly defined.


Venice pen and ink drawing
Venice pen and ink drawing, with added colour

My pen and ink drawing of Venice looks ok, especially for the buildings in the foreground. However the inclusion of colour to my painting of Venice definitely looks better in colour, especially with that dramatic sky.

I asked whether it looked better in black and white or colour on my Facebook page I have had some good feedback. It seems the general feeling is that, whilst the pen and ink drawings are good, that people prefer the ones with colour.

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Eye surgery

jane lying face down after eye surgery

I have been diagnosed with a Macular Hole in my left eye and I needed eye surgery to fix it. Having a macular hole means i am losing my central vision . My vision is blurred, straight lines become wavy and distorted and I have difficulty in reading. I have attached some images below to try and explain what I see!

From normal, to what I see with both eyes and just left eye. Anyway the good news is that I can have surgery to help it.

In the meantime, my husband Mark has been looking after any Orders, so that isn’t a problem. However I should warn that at the moment – “once it is gone it is gone”, as I won’t be painting for a while!

I will spare you the gory details of my eye surgery, but I had complications that resulted in a second emergency operation the following day! Followed by several procedures in clinic the day after that, all related to raised pressure in my eye. They are now waiting for the gas in my eye to dissipate to see how it settles but I may require another small op.

It has been very difficult and having to lie face down for 24 hours a day for 7 days was, to be honest, awful. During the day I alternated between resting on the ironing and sunbed that had a “breathing” hole!

I am now slowly on the mend but reading and writing makes me feel very nauseous so responses, not to mention using computers! Hopefully in February I will be given the all clear and I can order some new glasses, all ready to start painting again.

Progress update on eye surgery

I first posted this in January and it is now mid February and here is the latest information. The gas in my eye has now gone but I still have problems relating to the new lens they inserted. As a result I will need laser surgery and I am still using eye drops to help with the ocular hypertension. I will have to wait at least 6 months until it all settles down before I have the laser surgery.

So please excuse any typos that you see on this website, as I still have distorted vision and also my style of painting may be a little looser! Which could be good or perhaps not!

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Seascape Watercolour Workshop

seascape workshop

I attended a great seascape watercolour worksho. I love painting seascapes, but there is always something new you can learn and I definitely did at this workshop.

The idea was to combine photographs to create the image that you want. Paintings are not intended to be a photographs, so we can paint the image we want to!

I love St Ives harbour, but on some photographs you can end up with a lot of seaweed and the sand can look rather “dirty”. This is especially true in the harbour area where there is probably fuel spillage from the boats. The idea was to take the scene I wanted to paint and use the colours from a photograph of the sea at Porthminster beach, where the sea is a beautiful shade of blue and the sand very white.

seascape tests

However what to leave it and what to add? I started by painting a couple of quick thumbprint sketches, so I could work out what would work. The sky worked having it relatively clear and to have a little bit of seaweed near the shoreline.

Low tide at St Ives with texture

I decided to work with just three colours and I choose Windsor Blue (Red), Naples Yellow and Venetian Red as a cool palette. Whilst painting it I wasn’t altogether sure about the colours. As the Workshop was a full-day course I painted another one at the same time!

St Ives Harbour

I used the same colours, in different quantities, I think you can see the difference. I like them both and am delighted with the result.

All of the original paintings are now sold so I have the painting above printed and it is now available to buy as an A5 greeting cards.

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Painting of Godrevy

Chris, who used to live in Cornwall and comes back every year to visit, asked if I could do him a painting of Godrevy, one of his favourite spots. So here is the start

What do you mean it looks like a blank sheet of paper?

Start of Godrevy painting

Well nearly, because I need white bits on my paper for the surf I first have to start off with masking out the areas that need to remain white.  I have also used a white candle, which should transform into those little white bits you get on the waters edge as the tide goes out again. If you look closely you will see my rough pencil sketches and masking fluid.

Can’t wait to add some colour, most especially a new colour, Manganese Blue, which I think will show the beautiful blue sky and clear water.

Here is how the painting of Godrevy is progressing, to reassure anyone looking at the previous photo (especially if on Facebook), that it is not just a sheet of grey paper!

Godrevy in- progress

This is my first wash of colour, using the lovely Manganese Blue, a new colour for me and a very much appreciated Christmas present! The sand uses Naples Yellow Deep, another new colour, it has a hint of Burnt Sienna to take off the yellow. Much as we think our sand is golden yellow, in reality it is not.

Godrevy in progress, adding more blue
This is the second stage, where I have intensified the blue of the sea, but now starting to get some texture in the close up area, where the sea is so transparent you can see the sand below.

I am also using my new paint brush, purchased as a bargain at Arts and Graphics closing down sale for only £50 (it should have been £182), but it is wonderful at moving the paint around the paper and worth every penny!

Godrevy in progress, nearly there

The masking fluid and has been removed, the finishing touches added and my latest painting of Godrevy is now complete.

This is a painting done specfically for Chris and Trudy Stevens. Chris used to live in Cornwall and comes back with his family every year to visit as they love the County so much. They have fond memories of Godrevy beach, particularly one year as they stayed on the campsite just up the road.

Low Tide at Godrevy with Lighthouse

Hopefully every time Chris looks at this painting in his home it will transport him back to sunny Cornwall.

Because this painting has been so popular it is also now available as an A5 printed Greeting Card, so you can enjoy it as well as Chris.

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Turning sketches into cards

making greeting cards from my sketches

Looking around this website it may be apparent that I love sketching however it does mean that I end up with too many sketches. So I decided that I would turn my sketches into cards that people can buy.

Jane sketching at The Lizard

My sketches can include being in a beautiful spot in Cornwall, perhaps visiting Portreath or Godrevy. I love to sit down and capture the day with a little sketch.

It could be taken from one of my photographs, I love walking and taking photographs so I have a vast library of images that I would like to paint. Doing a little sketch also helps me decide whether to paint a full scale version of it.

wheal francis drawing

Sketch using pen and ink

Style wise, I have two different styles. One style uses a stippling effect, where the image is drawn using lots of dots. The other uses a free, quick sketch approach. The difference in these two techniques will depend on the subject matter is stippling tends to be a more accurate representation, wheras the free, quick sketch can be more dynamic, capturing the essence of a place.

The Crowns at Botallack Mine

The initial sketches can be when watching TV, as I find it a great way to unwind. I find stippling very relaxing. Then I will add the watercolour at a later date, perhaps sat in the garden or my summerhouse, which I particularly enjoy on a summers evening.

Low Tide at St Ives greeting card

I always like to revisit these sketches at a later date and decide which of these sketches other people may enjoy and I cut them down to size, around 90–100mm square and attach them to a blank card stock, usually a 6×6 inch card.

An inexpensive gift idea

Clear waters at Logan Rock-framed

The cards, which are blank inside for your own greeting, all have matching envelopes. Alternatively why not put them into a square frame. Most high street, and online retailers, have square frames that a 6×6 card will fit in. This creates an affordable framed painting to either have in your own home or give as a gift.

This is a Win Win situation, I love my sketching and you can enjoy owning an original piece of art – without breaking the bank. Have a look at the greeting cards that I currently have for sale.

Remember these cards are all originals and once they are gone I may never paint that scene again.

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Beaches in Cornwall

Selection of miniature paintings and drinks mats

One of the reasons I love my little, miniature acrylic paintings, is that I can paint them relatively quickly! My latest selection are of beaches in Cornwall.

selection of acrylic paintings

Three of them are my easel paintings, and they include looking from Porth Kidney Sands, across Hayle towards Godrevy; Portreath and also two of St Ives Harbour – one is the view from the bus station looking across to the Harbour and the other is of the Lighthouse that is at the entrance to the Harbour at low tide.

drinks mats of cornish beaches

Then I have had fun with my “drinks mats”, one is another painting of the Lighthouse and the other is Godrevy, which I just love painting!

Painted Pebbles

I also experimented with painting on stones! These are very random beach scenes, mainly because the stones are so tiny it is difficult to paint, but I thought they might make nice paperweights!

I used Gesso first to create a surface on which to paint. I quite like them!

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Sketches from Scotland

Illustration: Edinburgh Castle

Recently I was lucky enough to spend time in Scotland, mainly in Edinburgh and Oban, and as always I took my Moleskine Sketchbook, Pens and Paints so that I could capture the scenery, so here are my sketches from Scotland.


We started our holiday in Scotland, and it turned out to be quite a different experience from what we had been expecting as it coincided with the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The whole country then observed a period of mourning but as Her Majesty passed away whilst staying at Balmoral, Edinburgh led the way. This meant we were able to pass our respects in person when she came to Lie in State at St Giles Cathedral, something that living in Cornwall is not usually possible due to the distance in travelling to London. However it did mean that access to a lot of Buildings and Places were closed or restricted.

The weather was lovely during our stay, with a lot of blue skies and here are my sketches from Edinburgh.


We left Edinburgh and transferred to Oban, via Glasgow and the West Highland Railway. Our Flat had the most amazing view of Oban Harbour and Bay, looking towards the island of Kerrara, with the islands of Lismore and Mull in the distance. I could have just stayed in the flat and looked (and sketched) the wonderful view all the time.

Sadly the weather was not as good as Edinburgh, and although we avoided heavy rain it was mostly grey, so my sketches will include a lot of grey clouds. However I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Oban.

We flew from Newquay Airport to Edinburgh Airport with Loganair, which was highly recommended. We decided to travel around Scotland using local transport, mainly trains and because of the risk of train strikes we did restrict where we visited. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Scotland and I can’t wait to visit again visiting other places.