Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A few more Cornwall studies

'The Irish Lady', 8x10in, oil on board

This was painted whilst perched on some rocks facing towards Land's End. The rock is known as the Irish Lady and is apparently haunted! It was really windy so I had to tidy up a few of the brushstrokes afterwards. I wanted to capture the sense of the foaming swell around the rocks and used a couple of trusty seagulls to comment on the scale.

'The Enys, Pendeen' - 13x10in, oil on board 

Quite possibly my favourite Cornish location. I love the heavy seas around Pendeen and the huge Enys that juts out from the cliff. It's tricky trying to capture a sense of the sheer ruggedness of the place with an oil study on the spot but hopefully it conveys something of the place. These sorts of paintings can't be overworked otherwise you end up with a muddy/chalky mashup. One hit, working fast in the blustery wind, sink or swim (not literally!) it my best shot at the time. That's all you can ask really, even if the end result doesn't quite hit the heights of expectation.

I painted some acrylics up at Pendeen and will post them another time. I was pleased to have had a go at Pendeen in oils as I knew it wouldn't be easy! For some reason, with certain subjects I feel more inclined to work in acrylics and Pendeen is one of them.

'Marazion beach, breeze and sunshine', 8x10in, oil on board 

Painted on the beach at Marazion, the sun kept flashing in and out which made things tricky. I had four others from the plein air crew painting their own versions of the scene alongside me which was great fun! No time for snacks Tim.....there's some serious work to be done here :o)

'Marazion beach 2, scudding cloud', 7x10in, oil on board

'Surfs up! Towards Aire point, Sennen' - 13x10in, oil on board

It's not easy painting waves. You have to tune in and try to distill what's going on. There's the colours, tones, rhythms, lines, edges, shadows, lights, reflected lights.....I could go on :o) Everything is moving and once again the light was in and out! Not that I'm complaining, it's all part and parcel of the whole experience.....trying to give a sense of the moment. I must admit, I do enjoy that experience of zoning into the moment. 

'Sennen jetty at sunset' - 6x8in, oil on board 

I painted this alongside Tim on his last day in Sennen. I wasn't going to do a painting as I was feeling tired but who could resist a sunset like that! I whipped out a little 6x8 and rapidly tried to take things down as the light faded. Every time we looked up the sky and water were changing! This kind of speedy work could be likened to taking notes I excuse for producing something that could arguably be classed as unfinished or a little rough round the edges!

 'Fast fade, Sennen jetty at sun down' -  4x10in, oil on board

Painted alongside Roy on our last evening in Sennen. The speed at which we had to paint was like nothing I've encountered. We're talking a handful of minutes to get this down!

'Sunset moment, Sennen jetty' - 6x8in, oil on board

Ditto for this little sunset too. Barely 10 mins of painting really but I was eager to get something down having just painted a 'wipe down' on the cliff at Land's End.

'Silver light at Sennen', 9x10in, oil on board

This was the first painting of the trip and I painted it alongside Mike in the late afternoon sun. As it was pretty much a contre jour subject the colours were very subdued and it was all about the tonal contrasts. That said, I had to be careful with the colour temperatures (which don't come out very well in the photo).


  1. I'm glad you posted more; I really have enjoyed looking at all of these. The first two from this group are really dramatic.

  2. An absolutely beautiful series and so true to the light and colours and spirit of the places that I know well

    I love that silver contre jour light and did a sketch of my grandson playing on the beach in that same silver light as an illustration for a book I made him.

    It's making me want to go back again so much!

  3. Thanks Douglas. They were really dramatic spots...I nearly lost my hat to the wind on several occasions :o)

  4. Thanks Vivien. Yes, I love that silvery light you get in the late afternoon. It's really bright coming off the sea and takes while for the eyes to adjust. I like the way the light hits the roof on the lifeboat station and it's quite a distinctive feature of the headland at Sennen, as I'm sure you well know.

    Not long until your adventure in Provence. No doubt you're all pretty excited about it!

  5. Beautiful as always! You have done so many of great quality! I specially like 'Marazion beach 2, scudding cloud' for its moody atmosphere. I remember you painting this and you seemed very inspired indeed so I'm not surprised it turned out well. Thanks for posting these...

  6. A great body of work, well done David. I particularly like The Enys, fabulous observation of colour and feeling of water and rocks. And "Silver light at Sennen" works very well tonally, great sense of light; nice composition with the bold horizontal, diagonal waves and the two people complete it well.

  7. Hi David.
    Just found your blog on Valerie Pirlots Blog. Glad that I have because I love your work. I selected this one out of the lot that I have just viewed of yours, not because I think it is a better painting, (they are all brilliant) It`s because of the depiction of the water, It is brilliantly painted. I hope to follow you as I do Valeries paintings. All the best David.

  8. Thanks Victor....really appreciate your lovely comments. Indeed, Valerie has some really great work on her blog and I always enjoy reading her posts. I enjoy painting water as it brings so much light and colour into the landscape. It's also just nice standing in front of the sea whilst painting! Quite often I find myself thinking 'this is the life' when painting on the coast, providing it's not too breezy or I'm getting sand blown in the paint :o)

  9. I want to comment on every one of these.
    The shadow in the water on Irish Lady is brilliant in its purple/teal grayness. Neutral but not.
    The land mass in the Eny's is incredibly well drawn and painted.
    The beach paintings particularly "Surf's Up" are breathtaking.
    The three Sennen Jetty paintings knock me out but my favorite is the first one.
    And the silver gray painting of the Sennen Beach is just fantastic. You perfectly caught the light.
    Your brushwork is key to how the paintings vibrate with life.