Godrevy, Cornwall

During the summer we were fortunate enough to stay in St Ives, Cornwall. This is a most beautiful part of the UK and I encourage anyone to visit it if they have not already done so. If you head north out of St Ives along the coast road you get to an area called Godrevy. This is a stunning stretch of beach that really has something for everyone. Golden sand, great surf, a lighthouse on an island, seals basking in the sun and rock pools to explore. In many ways for an artist it's quite a crazy place to try and paint as there is so much going on; having said that I wanted to paint the natural landscape.

Godrevy Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

This time I didn't go far from the car but was very disciplined in leaving out much of the chaos around me. A particular spot on the beach had caught my attention I was fascinated by the shapes and colours of the rocks; the breaking waves and the different tones and textures of the dry and wet sand.. Once again I was working on some mount board (I'd already given it a coating of gesso). Working very quickly and using a 2” flat brush I covered the surface in washes of blues, ochres and browns - starting to mark in darks and lights. Although it was a very sunny day it was also quite windy so I quickly fastened the mount board onto drawing board with masking tape. Slowly I built the painting up with layers of acrylic paint. (My long-suffering family had gone to view the seals).

This was one of those views which broke rather a lot of painting rules. The darkest tones were not in the foreground but were actually in the middle distance. Dark, shining, wet rocks rose dramatically out of the sea. I had to work carefully so as not for these stunning rocks to look too heavy and create an in balance in the painting. Often when painting on location it gets to a point when you can only get so far but then need to have a break or even change activity.


This painting was completed several weeks later in my studio. I did refer to the photographs I had taken but also let the painting guide the way it was to go plus my memories and emotions of that place.. Working with oil pastels I was able to create some of the texture on the beach and rocks. Also having had a break from the painting I realised the sea was too dark so I toned it down by applying washes of pale blue and creams. I was really pleased with painting and I felt it had captured the vast unspoilt stretches of coast hugging the land in this beautiful county of Cornwall.

Has Godrevy inspired you? What about a painting workshop?