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Valentine’s Cards

Beach set inside a square card with a heart aperture

A new product line that is proving successful are Valentine’s Cards. These cards feature my watercolour paintings, set inside a plain white card (6 x 6 inch) with a heart aperture.

I tried it last year with one card on Etsy. I was so surprised, and very pleased, when it sold really quickly. In this painting I was experimenting with a vivid sky over a sandy beach. It looked really good inside the heart aperture and made a great Valentine Card. I was delighted to get this feedback from my customer.

Beautiful original card , it was the best valentine card that I have ever bought


I didn’t have time to make anymore last year but I put a few paintings to one side as possibilities for this year.

During the course of the year I have also painted some small paintings that I realised would be perfect for a Valentine’s Card.

The main consideration is finding a painting that fits inside the heart shape neatly, without losing anything important. For example – I wouldn’t want to “cut off” the top of St Michael’s Mount!

Generic paintings

A generic painting is the best choice. This one is a watercolour painting of the sun setting over the sea. The sunlight is glistening on the water. This could be anywhere.

I have other paintings, that have been painted whilst sat looking at the scene in Cornwall, however they could be anywhere. Her are a few examples.

This scene I painted whilst sat on Castle Beach at Falmouth looking towards the entrance to the Helford River. It was a gloriously sunny day. The sun was glistening on the sea and many boats were on the water making the most of the weather. Set inside the heart aperture it could be anywhere where boats are sailing on the sea.

Beach set inside a square card with a heart aperture

This one is very generic and similar to the card that sold last year. It is of a white sandy beach, with turquoise waters and white sand. This was inspired by the beach at Sennen and also on the Isles of Scilly. Again, this beach could be anywhere in the world that has the same turquoise sea colour and white sand. I am thinking of the Caribbean and the Maldives.

Cornish Coast

West Pentire Headland, set inside a square card with a heart aperture

This painting is a typical scene from along north Cornish coast of the beach and surf, with the cliffs and island in the background. The scene is is low tide at West Pentire, painted looking across from Pentire Headland, Newquay. However it could be any coastal scene in Cornwall, Devon or anywhere along the north coast.

This painting is a different view of Crantock beach, with West Pentire in the background. Crantock is a vast beach, and low tide reveals a big expanse of beach. However in this little painting, painted last January, whilst I was sat looking across from Pentire Headland, Newquay. It shows the tide slowly going out and the beach revealing itself. However it could be any coastal scene in Cornwall, Devon or anywhere along the north coast.

Godrevy Beach

We had a particularly warm June in 2023 and I visited Godrevy beach on a couple of occasions.

This was painted on a glorious sunny June day early on a Sunday morning. I had just been for a swim and was chilling, enjoying the view. It was very quiet and I had to get my paints out.

On another visit during this sunny June day I was visiting the beach with friends. We had enjoyed a lovely swim and we were sat chatting afterwards, enjoying the view. Again I had to get my paints out and capture the scene.

These cards have proved very popular and I will definitely have to start thinking about next year. If interested have a look at my Etsy page, but be quick because they are selling fast.

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St Mawes commission painting from photo

Painting St Mawes Harbour from Falmouth

I was recently asked if I had any paintings of St Mawes for sale. My potential customer was looking for the view of the harbour and the Ships and Castle Hotel. As I didn’t have that particular scene she asked if she could commission a painting from a photo.

I do love St Mawes, it is a stunning location, but there are a lot of buildings. The imposter syndrome kicked in again and I wasn’t sure if I could!

I had previously done a very loose sketch of St Mawes, which had been sold. My customer was delighted as it reminded her of many happy holidays in St Mawes.

The first step was to visit St Mawes and do some test sketches. Luckily the day I visited was a glorious sunny day with beautiful blue skies. Perfect sketching weather.

Tredenham Road has a couple of locations where they have wooden benches, just right to sit down and sketch. The view across the water towards the harbour and both castles is just lovely.

I choose two different places for my sketches but to be honest I was totally overwhelmed! There were just so many buildings …

My prospective client very kind sent through the photograph she had taken of this complex scene. I decided the only way I could tackle all those buildings would be to work from a grid.

Adding the grid made it more manageable and finally I felt happy to send to my client to see if it would do.

I am delighted, and more that a bit relieved, to report my client was very pleased. Even better it was an anniversary present for her parents as they honeymooned at St Mawes and they were overjoyed.

My working paintings are currently available for sale on my Etsy shop.

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Commission a painting of Sennen

Sennen lifeguard station overlooking Whitesands Bay, Sennen painting

A few months back I had an enquiry from someone who wanted to commision a painting of Sennen, Cornwall. The client wanted a special present for her relatives. They had spent many happy years on holiday in Sennen and wanted a remainder in their home.

Finding the right photograph

I have various paintings of Sennen available to buy but she wanted one that included the Lifeguard Hut. The Lifeguard Hut although in a raised position over the vast beach, sits almost hidden amongst the dunes. She had already purchased the frame so I had dimensions to work to.

The only problem was she didn’t have a photo of the actual scene. I love Sennen and have loads of photographs but Whitesands Bay is so wide that the scene can be mostly sky! Here are some of the images I could use

Whilst I loved the first photograph above, I felt there angle wasn’t right because the dunes were too prominent. The second photograph, although covering the whole bay, was a little dark. I really liked the third photograph and decided I could use that. The turquoise colour of the sea was looking splendid in the fourth photograph but it didn’t include the hut! I did have another photograph of the same scene that did include the lifeguard hut but not the whole bay. Clearly I needed to combine them in photoshop to create the right scene.

Initial paintings

I find it quite stressful accepting an enquity to commission a painting. To take the pressure off myself I always paint more than one. This way the customer has a choice and, in fact, can say no. I really don’t want anyone to be under any obligation to buy one of my paintings.

The process always starts with an small, initial painting, just so I can get the flow of how to paint it and also choosing the right colours.

Whilst the proportions of my first attempt look a bit distorted, I liked the scene, with the vast sweep of the bay and the lifeguard hut. I was reasonably happy with my initial paintings.

Full scale painting

It was time now for me to be brave. I decided that whilst I preferred the second version of my initial painting above, the rocks didn’t look right. However I had my reference material for my commission.

The first painting turned out to be successful. I felt I had captured the sea and its different shades of blue as the surf rolls on to the beach. You may notice that I decided not to add any people! My second painting wasn’t as successful. In my reference photo there was a lot of seaweed, showing as dark blue, but it didn’t look right in the painting. I tried adjusting it to make it less obvious.

Whitesands Bay, Sennen painting in a brown frame

Photoshop was used to demonstrate how the painting could look inside her frame. I uploaded it to Etsy and she loved it! More importantly, so did her recipients. She sent me this message.

Thank you I took the picture to my aunt and uncle over the weekend they were so pleased, tears of joy, it was very moving. 


At the time of writing this blog post, the other painting of Whitesands Bay, Sennen is available to purchase.

Second Commission

They loved the painting so much that they commissioned another painting of Sennen to send to their son who lives overseas. As the son was a keen surfer they asked for the lifeguard hut to reflect its historical colours and to be “more brown”.

Whitesands Bay, Sennen painting

It is interesting how different a painting can look, even from the same photograph. This painting looks more like an autumnal/winter scene, the sea is less turquoise.

If you are interested in my paintings of Sennen, take a look at the bottom of my page about Sennen, this will list what is currently available.

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Christmas tags

A mixture of Christmas tags

Is it ok to post about Christmas tags in October? Some people like to wrap their presents early so I need to get them out there!

Angel Christmas Tags

I am combining my craft making with my watercolour painting with the tags.

These tags embossed using either a Gold or Green embossing powder on an Angel stamp . To give it that bit of Christmas sparkle they have a sparkling background layer to match the tag, .

These tags are blank on the reverse, for your message and will have gold and white twine to attach to your present.

Bauble Christmas Tags

These tags are definitely one of my favourites. The baubles are hand drawn and painted with watercolour in a variety of colours. Adding background papers to give it an extra bit of shazam ! Is that a word!

Some of these hand painted tags have the branches of a Christmas tree in the background. The single tag of lots of baubles has a band of gold paper at the top.

These tags are blank in the middle for your message and has a double sided sticky foam pad to attach to your present.

Etsy October Offer

At the moment on my Etsy shop I have a special offer where anyone purchasing one of my paintings gets a free, handpainted gift tag.

Mix of paintings and gift tags to illustrate the Free Gift Tag offer.

This offer applies to anything on my shop that is an original painting. That could be one of my miniature acrylic paintings, a mounted 9 x 7 inch mounted painting or my 6 x 6 inch cards. The offer runs during October and the minimum spend is £5. Have a look and see if anything takes your fancy. Remember though – they are all originals and once they are gone, they are gone.

Joy Tags

I also have my Joy tags for sale on my Etsy shop. Available as a set of 4 choosing from either a Yellow or Pink colour scheme.

Set of 4 yellow and 4 pink tags using the word Joy

The yellow tag is set on a glossy yellow background with matching bow. The pink tag is set on a pink layer that has glitter running through it. Both tags are blank on the reverse, for your message and will have gold and white twine to attach to your present. I have limited available on these tags as only one set of 4 each are created to gauge their popularity.

Whilst these will finish off a beautifully decorated Christmas present, as they don’t use the word Christmas they are suitable for any joyful celebration.

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Watercolour Christmas cards

Watercolour Christmas Cards

Christmas cards in September! Is it too early? I have been busy on Christmas cards for over a couple of months now. It is essential in order to have them ready for when people want to buy them.

Click on any of the images to see a larger version of them.

Bauble Cards

For years I have really enjoyed my “bauble” cards. Initially drawn using pen to get the outline and painted in watercolour afterwards. There is a slight shimmer on these cards and gold glitter for the top and string.

For this year I have stuck with a Green Bauble and a Purple Bauble colour scheme. Different colour papers have been used to layer up the paintings and coordinate with the baubles. They are now available to buy in my shop, however I have only painted 8 of these in total. One pack of 4 Green Baubles and one pack of Purple Baubles, and when they are gone, they are gone!

Snow Scenes

I have previously painted snow scenes of both Cornwall and Switzerland. I do enjoy them, even if we don’t get snow very often in Cornwall!

The paintings of Switzerland bring back happy memories of our holiday to Switzerland in February/March 2018. These are from photographs that I took whilst on the train, read my blog post on Snow in Switzerland if you want to know more.

They are all originals and once they have gone, they are gone – view my Christmas Cards for sale to see what is currently available.

Snowflake Christmas Cards

This is quite a different departure and have more of a graphic feel than the cards above.

I have used a mix of blue watercolour paints and silver cosmic shimmer pixie powder to create the background. The snowflakes have been die cut out of old christmas cards – I am always keen to reuse material where I can. Then finally I have stamped the words “Merry Christmas” on the front, with a greeting inside.

These are now available from my Etsy store and have proved very popular with the first set disappearing just 2 hours after listing! Check out this link: Snowflake Christmas Cards if there are any still available. At the moment I have only created 12 and I am not planning on creating any more, so when they have gone – they are gone!

Update on where you can buy them

They are now for sale and are proving popular. The Snowflake Christmas Cards are available on Etsy for just £10 for a set of four. The snow scenes are also available on my website, and will also be listed on Etsy, for just £5 each.

A limited supply of the 6 x 6 inch Baubles are also now available.

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Sketches from Glasgow

Sketches from Glasgow

I have recently got back from a couple of days away, so here are my sketches from Glasgow. Click on any of the images to see larger versions.

Actually I felt a bit overwhelmed / intimidated to sketch. It wasn’t just the buildings, and there is great architecture in Scotland. It was also the murals that are scattered about the city.


These vibrant street murals are helping to rejuvenate tired streets and buildings and vacant sites with these stunning pieces of public street art. The project started in 2008 and has increased ever since. I loved them and it certainly is great to stumble upon them.

My sketches

I did do some sketching, although it is not my best work.

I visited Glasgow University where I was surprised to be able to walk freely around the buildings. I tried to capture the essence of the West Quadrangle, with its turrets, spiral staircases and quite beautiful.

I also tried to capture St George’s Tron Church of Scotland in Nelson Mandela Place. I sketched this from our Hotel room to try and reflect the church spires that rise up from the main buildings around.

Lastly, is one of the red buildings that dominate this city. Again trying to capture the beauty of these old buildings.

Eye problems

I am still waiting to have further treatment on my eyes and sketching is hard. I am trying not to sound like I am making excuses but I don’t have the right glasses. In order to view what I am hoping to sketch I need my long distance glasses, but to sketch I should wear my close vision glasses, but I can’t wear both! So I am using a very loose style wearing my long distance glasses. Sometimes it works ok, sometimes not.

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Sketches in July

Sketches in July

The weather in Cornwall in July has not been good – but I have a few sketches to show you.

Praa Sands sketch

We visited Praa Sands in early July. It was one of the days when we knew we would be shower dodging!

We sat and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee, overlooking the beach. Out came the paints to capture the scene.

Click on the image to see the full size version.

This was lovely I was really enjoying sketching the scene, however the weather had other plans! At Praa Sands you have the most amazing view of Mounts Bay and I could see a very dark cloud approaching from the Mousehole/Newlyn area! It was time to quickly finish my coffee and painting and take cover.

St Mawes Sketches

Now this was a treasure of a day, making the most of Cornwall before the main summer season starts. The forecast was mainly sunshine so a day trip out was the order of the day. I love St Mawes, so I went with a couple of friends for a “girls day out”.

We started our day by having coffee outside enjoying the sunshine on the quay. We then walked along the promenade, luckily my friends are more than happy to sit and enjoy the view whilst I get my paints out. I couldn’t believe how warm it was, and after strolling back towards the Quay I persuaded them to stop again. I have to be honest I did struggle a bit to sketch both of these views. There are so many different shaped buildings along the waterfront, not to mention all the cars on the quayside. It was very hard to capture the scene with a quick sketch.

Again, click on the image to see the full size version.

Gunwharf Quays Sketch

Now I am definitely out of Cornwall on this one! Whilst visiting my daughter in Southampton, we decided to get the train to Portsmouth. I was last year nearly 45 years ago whilst serving in the Navy, and it has certainly changed!

Again I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of the wonderful vista in front of me. I decided to focus on the entrance to the harbour. Another challenge, was the amount of boats there were coming in and out of the harbour. I would like to have included one of the ferries, but I just couldn’t paint fast enough!

Again, click on the image to see the full size version.

I got some great photos of Portsmouth harbour that I would like to paint at home. It made me think perhaps I should sell paintings from other areas, as well as Cornwall. Depending on when you are reading this you might like to see what is currently for sale – there may be a painting that you like.

So limited sketches in July – lets hope the weather for August improves and I can get out and sketch more often!

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Framing my watercolour cards

3 paintings of Cornwall,all set inside a white frame

My watercolour cards can either be a blank card, for your own message, or a framed painting!.

I produce a lot of 6 x 6 square cards using my tiny watercolour paintings. I think it makes a great card if you want a keepsake. However have you thought about framing it for an inexpensive gift?

This is a great option because you can choose the frame that you think will suit your recipient. This has proved popular with my customers but the question I am asked most is – what frame to use?

What frame to buy?

This is a really difficult question to answer.

First of all it depends where you buy the frame – online or in your local store? As I have customers from all over the UK it will depend on what stores you have locally. For example, I love IKEA frames but our nearest store is Exeter!

The second problem is that some stores change their stock! IKEA being the exception. But a few years back Tesco did a great square frame, with a generous white mount and an aperture that was 95cm. It suited my paintings perfectly, in fact it was my template for deciding the size of painting. It is almost impossible for me to keep up with the various sizes, some cards sell quickly, others not so. They also don’t use the same sizing! Some use imperial i.e. inches, others use metric i.e. cm.

Square card of a painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes.

If we take this card of a painting of Wheal Coates. The card is 14.8 x 14.8 cm or 6 x 6 inches (approximately). The painting itself is 10 x 10 cm (4 inches).

Small 6 x 6 inch frame

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a white frame.

In this example I have used the original Tesco frame. It has a large white mount and the painting sits inside the aperture , although you do loose some of the image. I think this option looks great.

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a white frame.

Hobbycraft do a 6 x 6 inch box frame, that is frequently on special offer, so it means you can give someone a great present for under £10. On this option they do not include a mount so the card itself is used as a mount. This does mean the whole painting is visible.

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a black frame.

Another option is to use a more expensive frame. This one from Wilko is 27.4 x 27.4 cm (6 x 6 inch) is a black bevelled frame. It has a very defined mount and the painting sits inside. I really like this option for anyone where a black frame would suit their decor.

Large 9.8 x 9.8 inch frame

Painting of Wheal Coates Engine House at St Agnes, set inside a white frame.

How about a bigger frame? This one is currently available from IKEA – they don’t tend to change their stock as fast. The frame is 25 x 25 cm (9.8 x 9.8 inches). The mount is 12 x 12 cm so part of the card will show through and gives the impression of a double mount. It makes a strong statement.

So you can see there are just so many options! Which one would suit your needs? This is why I think it is best to leave to option to you to match your decor.

Other cards to frame

The options above are all using the 6 x 6 square card but how well does it work with other sizes?

I have cards that are A6 in size and these fit really well into IKEA’s Ribba small frame. These could make a nice series of paintings for either yourself or a gift. Have a look to see what original watercolour cards are currently available to buy.

This idea uses my printed cards. The cards, printed from a selection of my paintings of Cornwall, are A5 in size and fit nicely inside an A4 frame. Again in this example I have used the IKEA Ribba frame, which has a large white mount that sets off the print well.

Explaining mounts and apertures

To briefly explain, the frame is the outside edge that you can buy to suit your decor. These will in a variety of sizes, and they can be shown in metric or imperial, so the measurements tend to be approximate . Some frames include a mount, whilst you can choose the colour you want, usually they come as white. This is the material that surrounds the painting/photo, and gives the image “breathing” space. A small painting inside a large mount can either enhance the image or make it look lost. The aperture is the “hole” or space, that is inside the mount for the image to be placed in. Some frames, usually box frames, may not have a mount. If this is the case the card surround can be used as the mount. However at the time of writing this ASDA have a great 6 x 6 box frame with a mount for just £2.50, that would fit my cards very well.

Here is a diagram to illustrate the difference the size of the frame / mount etc can make to a card. The same 6 x 6 card, with a 100mm painting could fit 3 different sized frames. In this example the painting would fit inside the aperture of the small frame. The whole card will be shown, if you choose the medium frame. Whilst, in the largest frame, a small area of the card and painting will be displayed inside the aperture. As mentioned earlier, stores change their stock to meet design trends but a quick online search will help.

Ready to buy a card to frame?

I have a range of blank greeting cards, at various sizes including A6, A5 and Square cards. Have a look to see what is currently available to buy either on my website original watercolour cards as well as on Etsy. Remember as they are all originals, whilst I do paint some scene several times, they will vary and some scenes I don’t paint again. I also have a of quality printed cards of popular paintings.

I hope this has been helpful, the frames I have used are available at the time of writing this post – July 2023, but as mentioned, this will probably change.

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Sketches in June

Jane painting on the beach

Since my return from holiday in Croatia, Cornwall has been absolutely glorious! So I have been out and about swimming and here are a selection of my sketches in June.

Sketch of Godrevy beach

To set the scene … it was a sunny Sunday morning and we were down on Godrevy beach just after 9am. In fact so early the fields hadn’t been opened but we managed to get parked close to the beach.

My swim was absolutely glorious, sheer bliss. Afterwards I sat on the beach, drinking a coffee, appreciating the peace and quiet. Out came my paints and here is my sketch.

Sketch of St Michaels Mount

Another swim location – this time at Long Rock, looking towards St MIchaels Mount. Whilst it was sunny, there was a stiff breeze and cross-shore winds, that gave some great waves to capture. Luckily I found a sheltered spot to capture the scene.

Another sketch of Godrevy beach

Back to Godrevy beach – I am definitely visiting my favourite spots in this lovely weather!

This time the tide was not out as far, but still quite flat and perfect swimming conditions.

These sketches for sale as either a painting or greeting card, on this website or on my Etsy shop. I am frequently adding new products so keep an eye out, as most of my work as originals, once a particular painting as gone, it’s gone.

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Sketches of Dubrovnik: Exploring coastline and old Town

Jane sat painting along promenade

I recently enjoyed a week’s holiday in Dubrovnik, a city on the southern coast of Croatia that is renowned for its stunning coastline and rich history. I really enjoyed the challenge of sketching the beauty of this ancient city and its surroundings. Despite the heat, I managed to find some shady spots to capture the idyllic and natural landscapes. So here are my sketches of Dubrovnik, which I hope capture the essence of Dubrovnik’s natural beauty. I have included photographs to give additional context.

Sketch of Dubrovnik Old Town

The Old Town is just stunning, and everywhere I went, I could have sat down and got my paints out! However, the downside was partly that there was nowhere to set up my paints, it was blazing hot, but mainly I was a bit overwhelmed with all the buildings, it also felt quite vast, I just didn’t know where to start!

However, I did manage to find a shady spot and sketch one of the entrances – the Ploce Gate.

Sketches of the view from our hotel room

The view from our hotel room was absolutely stunning! The island of Kolocep and the variety of boats passing by made for a captivating and ever-changing scene. It was a wonderful experience to wake up to that view every day of our holiday. It was also a great spot to watch the sunset behind the islands every evening. I did try and capture that but it didn’t pass muster and so not included!

I loved the view so much that, on the day we were leaving, as we had a late flight, I just had to paint it one more time. This time it had a lovely blue sky.

Sketches of the hotel beach area

The hotel had its own beach area, which was also open to the public. It was a stony/pebbly beach, with large rocks on the seabed – quite different from Cornwall! However I did enjoy swimming at least once a day, although it was a steep drop into the sea. The advice encourages you to wear swim shoes, in case of sea urchins – which was useful on that pebbly beach. It was very peaceful, except when motorboats went roaring past, creating a large swell. The turquoise was was incredibly clear, I cannot use the right words to describe, but it didremind me of the waters on the Isles of Scilly.

The Hotel had a small dock area for a diving school to launch their boats from. It had the ubiquitous palm trees planted around to hide all the concrete! The photograph and the painting doesn’t correspond but hopefully you get the idea. It also had steps that some people preferred to use for getting into the water. Walking into the sea from the beach, with its steep sides, was always tricky!

Sketches from Babin Kuk to Lapad

We walked from Babin Kuk (where our Hotel was) to nearby Lapad. There is a lovely paved promenade that provides an enjoyable walk along the coastline. We stopped at the Sunset Bar Cafe that overlooked the bay and beach for a delicious coffee. Time to get the paints out, then I had to decide what scene to paint, again it was vast. Luckily there was a boat moored up in the water, so it was an obvious choice.

Along the promenade were small quiet areas leading off from the main path. You go down some steps to a delightful area for either sunbathing, swimming off the rocks or, in my case, sit in the shade and paint!

This sketch is of the Grebeni Islands and Lighthouse. I was fascinated by this rocky output and the unusually shaped lighthouse. Apparently you can stay in the lighthouse if you want accommodation with total privacy. There are tree Grebeni Islands – Zapadni, Srednji and Juzni Greben (meaning West, Middle and South Greben) situated one next to another, with a reef called Jabuka.

The Grebeni Islands and Lighthouse fascinated me. Our Hotel had a different view of them, where you can see the turquoise sea. So I just had to paint it again, trying to get a closer view of the Hotel, whilst also trying to show the shimmering colour of the sea.

Sketches from Babin Kuk to Gruz Harbour

Daksa Island, which overlooks the Hotel President beach, has a rather dark history. It is the smallest island in the Elaphite archipelago, where there was a massacre of collaborators when Partisans liberated Dubrovnik at the end of 1944. It is an island that no-one visits and it is certainly is the antithesis from everyone enjoying the sunshine and beach.

The main port of Dubrovnik – Gruz was close to Babin Kuk, where we our Hotel was situated. Again there was a promenade, this time more natural. It passed several beaches, including the Coral Beach Club and Copacabana Beach, with other small beaches appearing as you turn a corner. There was even a special beach just for dogs – Plaza Za Pse. I really liked the Beach bar Ponat – a bar set amongst the forest, it had a real relaxed vibe overlooking the waters. Another pretty spot was the Ronilački klub Dubrovnik, another diving area – however on our first walk it started to spit with rain, so the paints didn’t come out.

On another day I walked back to sketch the area with all the boats but someone was sitting on a bench that had the view I wanted to sketch. So I went around the corner, where there is an amazing view of Dr. Franjo Tuđman Bridge. I decided to have a go at capturing this scene instead.

I had a great holiday and I hope you have enjoyed looking at these sketches, and also some insights into my holiday in Dubrovnik.