Last week I visited Portscatho on a hot and sunny day. I've been there before but it was a few years ago and thankfully little has changed! It's less touristy than other spots in south east Cornwall and it was nice to find some quiet places to pitch around the harbour. When the sun is out down there the colours are fantastic.
'Harbour sparkle, Portscatho' - 10x8in, oil on board
After the tide had receded (remarkably quickly) I fancied a study of the boats before the water went right out. The colours were superb and I wanted to keep them as fresh as possible in the painting. I must admit there was a lot of drawing to work out with the boats but I went straight in with the paint and aimed for an approximation rather than an exacting illustration. It was the punch of the colours and tones that I really wanted to focus on. Towards the end of the painting the tide and completely gone out and the boats were sitting on the sand but that was a handy point to tighten up a few key lines/edges and spots of detail. I do like the challenge of finding a satisfying arrangement from a jumble of boats and I moved one or two of the boats a bit to try and help the composition.
'Boats at rest, Portscatho' - 11x14in, oil on board
After a bit of welcome refreshment I finished off with a little sketch across the bay. It had to be small as I'd almost run out of titanium white! Again, I wanted to keep it clean and fresh and try to get close to something of the essence of the place.
'Portscatho beach', 6x8in, oil on board
On returning to Looe in the evening I thought I was done for the day but spotted this little boat subject with cracking reflections which I just couldn't resist. I'd left it about half an hour too late really but decided to get something down while I had the change. Within minutes of starting the light began to fade. The aim was to try and get a sense of the light/colours and then perhaps use this as the basis for something in the studio later on.
'Boats at Looe, evening light', 10x9in, oil on board