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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
It will come as no surprise that I love painting Godrevy and the miniature easel’s are just perfect for small paintings of Godrevy and I just can’t stop painting them! Luckily people like to buy them, so win win all round.
I have painted them as portrait and landscape, some look towards the lighthouse, and some look towards Gwithian. You will notice that most of them are painted at low tide, mainly because I love to see lots of sand! It reminds me of walking across the beach in the sunshine, looking at the various rock pools. got very ambitious and painted a small version of one of my larger paintings, with the waves crashing against the rocks — and I am quite pleased with the result!
This one was using a different kind of canvas, it is quite thin and didn’t look quite right sat on the easel, so my daughter suggested adding a magnet! It works, so I see a new range of products coming on.
I could carry on posting these little, small paintings of Godrevy, as I just keep painting them! Have a look and see if I have some available for sale. If your chosen scene isn’t include then please get in contact with me and I can paint another one!
I have been working on, and now finished further paintings of Godrevy using Gesso to create texture, however this time I have added a little bit of landscape, rather than just focusing on the sea.
The image above looks at Godrevy lighthouse at high tide and I have used gesso to illustrate the power of the waves rushing towards the shore.
The top one one is looking from Godrevy Beach towards Gwithian Beach and Towans. This one is of low tide and the gesso is used as a close up of the white foam as the small wave is about to crash on to the sand. Small amounts of gesso have also been used on the waves further out.
This is viewing Godrevy Lighthouse from low tide on Godrevy beach. This time smaller amounts of gesso has been used, as the waves are very gently rolling in, and the gesso is used for the white foam.
What do you think, do these images work better with a landscape in it? I personally like them with just the sea, but I have actually sold one of them, and had great interest in the other one, so I could be wrong!
I do find myself quite often painting the same scene, which some people may consider odd or perhaps like a production line but I don’t – I love it!
There are particular places in Cornwall namely Portreath, Godrevy, St Ives, Logan Rock, St Michaels Mount and so on, that I could just keep painting.
You never what you are going to get with Watercolour or even Acrylic, have I mixed the colours in the same way, perhaps used different paint brushes. It is what makes it exciting, how will each painting turn out different!
Porthcurno and Botallack
Then of course I get paintings that I absolutely LOVE. Thank goodness paintings are not like children where you love them all equally, I am allowed to have my favourites, which must include Pedn Vounder Beach at Porthcurno Bay and The Crowns at Botallack.
So if I paint a particular scene then if I sell it, I can’t wait to paint it again!
And I can only paint where I love, so why not keep painting places I love, for example Portreath, just down the road from where I live. Portreath has a variety of scenes to paint, including the harbour; the beach with Gull Rock in the background, not to mention different times of the year (a great spot for summer sunsets) and storms in the winter
Gosh I could just go on and on! P.S. you can click on any of the images to see them larger.
In the space of just three months I had been asked whether I had paintings of the 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!
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.
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 do love watercolour painting, my website is testament to that, however I have been experimenting lately with Acrylic.
The downside of watercolour is that you have to “protect” the painting, if water or damp gets on the image it can be ruined (or at least altered drastically). That is why it needs to be behind a protective layer of glass, or something similar. This does “push” the price up and I have been trying to think of how to produce a range of affordable pieces of art, have a look to see my acrylic mini easels that are available to buy.
Now I do have my cards, some of which are under £5, they are all originals, but I have seen mini paintings that are little canvases sat on an easel. So I decided to have a play and see what I could produce.
Acrylic paint can be used either like oil paint or like watercolour, but once it is dry it is fixed!
I “Tested” it on my daughter, she likes my paintings but as she lives in a rented property is not allowed to put nails in the walls, this way she doesn’t have to!
Spurred on I painted another – still Godrevy (I do love that place!). I may paint more …have a look at
Poldark has returned to our screens in the UK, a firm favourite with a lot of people. I thought it would be fun to do a blog just of Poldark inspired sketches!
I have for many, many years loved painting Engine Houses as they dot the landscape around my home town of Redruth. In fact Redruth was the financial capital of the Mining area and has World Heritage status, for the role it played.
St Just area
Let’s start around the St Just area, where most of the filming of the mines was carried out. Incidentally my ancestors worked but I don’t think it was as glamourous as depicted on the TV!
The Crowns at Botallack are stunning in their own right, being perched on the edge of a cliff. These are used as the location for Francis Poldark’s mine Grambler.
This is Chapel Porth, near St Agnes the area is used as Nampara Valley.
Then there is also Carn Calver, near Bosigran.
Holywell Bay – which has featurd briefly but I believe it was used more than once, so watch out for this stunning beach!
Bodmin Moor, and its bleak landscape features in the programme. I believe the farmhouse that is used for the outside shots of Nampara is located here.
Beautiful Porthcurno beach, sometimes being used as Nampara Cove, and Demelza has been seen walking here.
However I have also noticed that Kynance Cove is also being used as Nampara Cove! This is where Demelza was out fishing when she went in labour and Poldark had to rescue her.
There there is the famous shipwreck at the end of series 1, which was filmed at Gunwalloe. However the weather was a lot worse than on the day when I visited!