Painting on the Pembrokeshire coast

    I’ve been away enjoying the mountains for a while, which makes blogging a trifle difficult, and my crazy lifestyle hardly lends itself to regular postings. Today though, I’d like to talk about the coast, which like mountains, deserts and the Arctic, is very close to my heart.

This is part of a watercolour painting of Porthliskey Bay in Pembrokeshire, named after an Irish pirate – the Irish, like the Welsh have some amazing pirates of great fame, and I’m fairly sure that the notorious Black Sam Bellamy might well have been one of my ancestors. Evening light is striking the rocks, and I’ve used mainly cadmium red. To give the impression of the wet lower parts I have darkened them with a mixture of cadmium red and French ultramarine, leaving the paper white in places for the foam splashes. Most of this was done by negative painting, but masking fluid used carefully will also work well.

Notice how the main rocks have been isolated by splashes, with no detail directly behind them. This gives them prominence, further emphasised by placing the boat nearby, with its prow pointing towards the most important rock. I’m not sure that I’d be terribly keen to be out in such boisterous seas. One useful tip is to stab or scratch out blobs of white with a scalpel or craft knife to suggest flecks of foam flying about, as it creates a feeling of liveliness in the work.

If you enjoy this type of scene, or the more gentle coastal, harbour or beach scenes, why not join us in Pembrokeshire this autumn for the course at the Warpool Court Hotel in St Davids? The good news is that due to the economic climate we have negotiated a considerable reduction in the price of the course. See my website  for details. We are blessed with an amazing variety of subjects to paint and sketch around St Davids in a lovely hotel overlooking the sea.

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