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Painting on holiday!

Paints ready for Holiday

If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I love painting on holiday! This can sometimes be a challenge, it can be difficult to paint if it is too cold, even too hot (I need some shade), if it is windy (stuff blows everywhere) but the most important thing is preparation before I go!

I have a compact painting kit that combines paints, mixing palette, brush, water bottle and container! It is brilliant, and then I combine that with a water brush, this is brilliant it saves taking water anywhere, then I have my pencil, pen, rubber etc. This is my essential pack that can fit in any of my bags.

choice of paints

However I do like to take a choice of other paint colours and for this I always use pans put together in two little tins. To me there is nothing more fun and exciting, than working out which paints I need to take for each trip. Whilst I can mix together colours from my compact kit, as it contains a range of all three primary colours, both warm and cool, sometimes when you are out and about it is quicker to use a pre-mixed paint. Then I need to think about whether there will be more trees, buildings or water, and then which colour!

Miniature paint brushes

I have other little compact bits I take, including my paint brushes. I have a great little compact paint brush case, where I have good quality brushes that sit inside, plus a few others I have picked up on the way.

other painting bits

Then I have my masking fluid; water bottle (an old baby feeding bottle); old rag; sponge; small mixing palette, paint brush, white gouache … the list goes on!

Painting bits

All of these help my to paint whilst on holiday and tend to have the priority when packing, and luckily all of this can fit into my cabin luggage as well.

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Snow in Cornwall

A selection of Christmas cards using original watercolour sketches

I have created a selection of Christmas Cards that featured my original watercolour sketches of snow in Cornwall. Except of course we don’t get snow very often in Cornwall, and when it comes you have to be quick to get out with your camera to catch it! Initially I did my little “dotty” drawings, whilst sat in the comfort of my armchair, before getting the paints out.

Clicking on the image will enable you to see it larger.

I start with West Penwith, I think it helps when you can see the snow has settled onto a hard surface and Lanyon Quoit, does the job quite well, with Ding Dong mine in the distance! I experimented with different colour blues for this, to see if it made a difference having a warm or cold palette, but I think both work.

The painting of snow covered Roughter, up on Bodmin Moor has to be my favourite, and again, it is the snow settling on the rock that makes it work

Then of course I do have a selection of Engine Houses — this first two are on the Great Flat Lode, a cycle track near Redruth that has lots of Engine Houses, here the snow is slowly started to melt. Another favourite is the Engine Houses at Wheal Peevor near Redruth, with other mine workings nearby.

Lastly we have Godrevy, looking towards the lighthouse, but if I am being honest it could just look like I haven’t finished the painting! So I tried including a rock, so you could see the snow settling on it, but again, it could be another unfinished painting!

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Prussia Cove and Perranuthnoe

Low tide Perranuthnoe

I have been inspired by the photography of Genius Loci to go and visit Prussia Cove and
Perranuthnoe, not along for a walk along our beautiful coastline but also to sit and do some paintings.

Despite the horrid weather we have had this some I was not disappointed and the sun came out. We hadn’t gone far on our walk when we came across the tiny little Fisherman’s Cottages at Prussia Cove, I had to stop straightaway and get my paints out! Mark wandered off and exploring with his camera.

old cottages at Prussia Cove

We had taken pasties with us and what better reward after our long walk to sit and eat them but on Perranuthnoe beach. It also gave me a good opportunity to get my paints out and capture part of our walk.

Perranunthnoe Beach
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Sketches from Switzerland


Here are my sketches from a holiday to Switzerland back in September 2016, when I travelled from Lucerne to Interlaken, then finally down to Montreux.

Sketches from my holiday to Switzerland back in September 2016, when I travelled from Lucerne to Interlaken, then onto Montreux.

Lucerne area

We caught the 7pm flight from Bristol airport, and after our 3 hour train transfer we arrived whilst it was enjoying a mini heatwave. We quickly unpacked, walked along
Matthias Luchsinger Platz, sat under a shady tree and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the lake with the mountains in the distance, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the sunshine.

Lake Lucerne

I kept the colours muted, as the sunshine created a heat haze however I wanted to focus on all the boats on the lake.

Next morning (Thursday) the weather broke and it was raining, luckily the showers didn’t last long. We decided to do the golden trip to Mount Pilatus, which included crossing the Lake on boat to Alphnachstad, where we ascending the moutain in the steepest cog railway. Sadly the weather was very changeable and whilst it didn’t rain the clouds were coming and going.

cloudy day on Mount Pilatus

This is me capturing the mountain summit with the little red train climbing up.

Lake Lucerne paddlesteamer

Friday and the weather was still quite cloudy but undeterred we set off on the Lake again. Whilst walking from Weggis to Vitznau I tried my fasted painting yet! This was capturing a paddle steamer as it sailed past.

Interlaken area

On Saturday we left beautiful Lucerne and travelled by train through the  Brünig pass to Interlaken, unfortunately by the time we arrived it was wet. Whilst we did do a little sightseeing I didn’t get my paints out.

Sunday and it was still raining but we headed off on the local bus to St. Beatus Hoehlen

St. Beatus Hoehlen

As it was raining I tried a little sketch from the side, which was a shame because it was just so unbelieavably beautiful. Waterfalls fell down the hillside and to me looked like Rivendell.

View from Murren

Monday and the sun decided to show its face and we ventured up to Murren. We were rewarded with stunning views of the mountain, waterfalls and valley.

View from Winteregg

We walked from Murren to Winteregg, which has a first class view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, although by this time the clouds were covering the top of the mountain.

Tuesday and we sent off to visit the sun on top of the Jungfrau, the sun shone and it was glorious but sorry no painting.

Lauterbrunnen valley

On our way back down from the mountain we visited Wengen, and that had a wonderful view down the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Montreux area

Wednesday and we are back on the train travelling to Montreux.

lone boat on lac leman

Our hotel was right by the Lake, so whilst it was a little cloudy it was so peaceful and I sat and did this little sketch.

Paddle steamer on Lake Geneva

Thursday and we enjoyed walking along the lake by Vevey, where I again tried to capture a passing Paddlesteamer!

Boats on Lake Geneva

Later on I ventured down to the lakeside. Montreux has a long promenade and it has little hidden spots with seating areas, just perfect for another sketch.

Chateau de Chillon

On Friday we walked along to the Chateau de Chillon.

cloudy lake leman

Saturday and time to come home, however our room had a wonderful view across the Lake so I had time for one last experimental painting, where I didn’t use pen and ink. I wanted to capture the mood of the mountains that kept disappearing into a heat haze as the day warmed up.

Well I hope you enjoyed my sketches from Switzerland, I love this country and visited three different locations, they all had a different personality, not to mention weather!

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Paintings of the Helford River

Helford River

In the space of just three months I had been asked whether I had paintings of Helford River, and the answer was no! So clearly I needed to do something about it.

The Helford River is quite different to my usual subjects, it involves a lot of green fields and trees. It is a beautiful area and I love to visit but I tend to shy away from any landscape that has a lot of green!

Paintings of Helford river

In this scene I felt I was “playing safe” because it had a beach in the foreground. However it also had grasses in the foreground of the photograph I was using and that wasn’t successful.

Ferryboat Inn

Lastly I decided to use my stippling style, so that I could get more detail. This is the Ferryboat Inn at Helford Passage, which is a favourite spot for families as it is safe for boating, and a lovely spot to sit and watch the world go by!

In the end I think the painting of The Ferryboat Inn was the most successful, but I will do some more as it has given me confidence to paint using green a little more!

I hope you enjoy them.

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Sketches from Mayrhofen, Tyrol

Looking towards Finkenberg and surrounding mountains

Here are some of my sketches from a holiday in Mayrhofen, during September in the beautiful Tyrol area of Austria, back when we were able to travel freely!

The weather was good during the first half of our week, and the second half was a bit intermittent with some damp in the air. That proved to be great fun trying to still be able to paint!

One of the, looking up the entrance of the Gerlostal valley, was painted whilst at the train station at Zell am Ziller. I had 25 minutes until the next train so I was a woman on a mission!

The last day I found a beautiful spot just on the outskirts of Mayrhofen, which was looking down towards Finkenberg and the surrounding mountains. Well it might have been spitting but I took cover under the trees and managed a quick sketch.

I hope you enjoy them as I enjoyed the holiday.

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London sketches

Hammersmith Bridge

We visit London on a fairly regular basis, and on this visit a few years ago in November, I did manage to squeeze in some sketching whilst sightseeing and here are my results.

The sketch above is of Richmond Bridge, we had planned to go to Hampton Court but hadn’t reckoned on the International Rugby match and the number of spectators, so we gave up en route and had lunch sat by the river at Richmond, where I painted this.

Thames footpath

We then walked along the Thames footpath, via Kew Gardens and came alongside Gunnersbury and sat outside a charming pub where I sketched this. Mind it was freezing that day!

London Tower Bridge

Previously we had gone on a river boat trip down to the Tower of London and I sat and sketched Tower Bridge, not one of my best! But it was exceedingly cold and I didn’t have my correct glasses on – whoops!

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Sketches of Vienna

Schonbrunn Palace from Gloriette

We have visited Vienna on two different occasions and the buildings were so magnificent, so grand and they are hard to grasp that in a tiny little sketch! On this occasion it was mid March and it was freezing cold, so it wasn’t easy to find the right spot to sit down to sketch, but that could be me making excuses! I was in two minds about whether I should post them or not, I don’t think they are my best work – anyway here they are …

The painting at the top shows my first attempt of the Schonbrunn Palace painted from the Gloriette, but I have got the proportions wrong.

Schonbrunn Palace

Then I tried a closer sketches, there weren’t any seats in the middle, so this is from the side

Schonbrunn Palace statue

Then I decided to focus on one of the many statues they had in the garden, plus by this time the gardeners had planted a few Pansies, which added some colour. But I still haven’t done this beautiful Palace justice.


We then visited Stadt Park and I was struck by the Kursalon, a place where Johann Strauss conducted Orchestra’s, and nowadays they hold concerts every day with a selection of his music. There is so much detail in their architecture, and again proportions are wrong.

Belvedere Orangery

It rained one day, so painting was definitely out that day, and the following day it was very cold, but I did manage to find a little spot at the Orangery at Belvedere Palace. This I feel was my most successful.

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Southampton Sketches

salt marshes on River Hamble

One of my daughters lives in the Southampton we have visited the area of many occasions but hadn’t really been down to the waterfront. On this particular visited we decided it was time to remedy that, of course I took my paints with me, this is my selection of Southampton Sketches.

It was beautifully peacefully walking through Manor Farm Country Park, in the upper reaches of the river Hamble but being early in the season there weren’t many boats about.

Weather wise it was a funny old day, warm when the sun was out but cold when the clouds came over, and as you can see from this painting dark clouds were gathering over Botley.

Boats at Burseldon

The following day we walked towards Bursledon, not quite as peaceful as the M27 runs overhead, but there more boats! Quite a lot were moored up at the boatyard whilst the owners were busy preparing them for the upcoming season’s sailing.

Walking back towards Hedge End there was a very high spring tide and the ground was quite boggy, it turns out it this area is a salt marsh. It was very pretty, but there was a cold wind, so this was painted quite quickly!

Southampton Water

The following day we did something a bit different and changed our usual mode of transport travelling back to Cornwall via boat! We did a mini cruise. It was quite an experience and it turns out I am not a good sailor! But the best bit was sailing through Southampton Water where I attempted to capture Royal Victoria Country Park but of course it was moving rapidly away from me!

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Cheesewring, Bodmin

Cheesewring Rocks

We had had some glorious weather recently, and it was just calling for me to get out in the sunshine and fresh air and do some painting. We decided a day out on Bodmin Moor would be a good idea, having never done any walking on the Moor. So we drove up to Minions, a lovely little village, parked the car up and went for a walk.

We walked up past the Hurler’s, where I realised I hadn’t packed my little painting stool! So onwards we trekked up the hill to the old Cheesewring Quarry and group of rocks perched on top of each other!


I managed to find a little spot out of the wind, and perched on a rock sat down to do a quick sketch. Then we had some lunch and I found another spot, and a slightly more comfortable rock and had another go.

I must admit to struggling a bit with rocks, I am happy with painting the sea and sand, but it was a record of the day, and it was lovely to be sat up there on such a sunny Cornish day.