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4 Days Painting in Cornwall – An adventure in wind and rain!

I recently took myself off to Cornwall for four days of painting ‘en plein air’.

Newlyn Harbour in the rain

Newlyn Harbour in the rain oil painting

The last time I painted there was many years ago, in Watercolours, so I decided as a change from my recent haunts, in Wexford, Ireland and the Norfolk Broads, to go back to Cornwall. My car was packed, with everything I needed and off I went to Penzance, a good base for west Cornwall, and its pretty little coves, fishing harbours, rocky coastlines, narrow roads, steep hills, and lovely hostelries.

The first morning was pouring with rain at Newlyn Harbour, so I found a little shelter and worked fast, beneath a clear umbrella, (used at weddings for the bride), so as not to cut out the light. I was in the newer part of the harbour where the large boats unload their catches, and refrigerated lorries are lined up ready to take the fresh fish onwards to the finest restaurants in the major cities. After a light lunch, I went a little way to Marazion, which overlooks St Michaels Mount. I painted the view from the beach using the sea wall for shelter from the wind. The sun had brightened up and before too long I had my second painting in the bag, actually on the floor of the car, under the front seat, where it can dry without being touched. The next day brought rain early morning, so I took the opportunity to see the excellent Stanhope Forbes exhibition at Penlee House Gallery. When I emerged full of inspiration, the sun had also emerged so I decided on a day at Mousehole (pron mousle). I set up on the pier and

Mousehole Harbour low tide

Mousehole Harbour low tide

started work and later was joined by a bus load of American artists and their American tutor, all doing watercolours. The afternoon brought continued good weather so I stayed and painted another oil of the outside of the harbour entrance and the rocks etc, with the afternoon sun on the water.

Later I went to the next cove, Lamorna, where Samuel John ‘Lamorna’ Birch RA, RWS, had lived and painted from 1892 onwards. I arrived in the pouring rain, and despite it being a lovely picturesque cove, at the end of a nightmare steep lane, with few passing places, it was quite dark and grey, so I called it a day and returned to Penzance.

The next day I was bound for The Lizard, England’s most southerly point. Hooray it was bright and dry, as I walked down to the Lizard point, with it’s rocky coast and abandoned lifeboat station and ramp, I picked up the South West coast path, and the strong winds which are usual for this coast, eventually I found a bush to hide from the wind with a view of the Man O’ War rocks, and managed an 8″ x 16″ oil painting. Lunch was with a cousin I hadn’t seen for many years, and afterwards I tackled Cadgwith Cove, which was more sheltered. A beautiful place with its own fishing fleet, duly captured on board size: 12″ x 17″, again working under the umbrella at times.

Cadgwith Cove fishing fleet

Cadgwith Cove fishing fleet

The next day I drove to the north coast at the Levant mine, where I would have liked to capture the old steam engine chimneys, dotted along the rocky coast, but the wind was approaching gale force now so I ventured up the coast road near Zennor, and stopped to do a painting, sitting in the car, which was rocking in the wind, I did manage to capture the coastal view in front of me with some success. Then on to St Ives for lunch and afterwards to Portreath, where the winds were still very strong and the RNLI were patrolling the red flagged beach. I did manage an indian ink drawing of the view before me with some interesting rock strata patterns etc. Before my journey home the next day, I managed a stop at St Mawes, on the Roseland Peninsular and

St Mawes Harbour

St Mawes Harbour

began an oil painting of the harbour area, but after about an hour or so along came the rain, so it was time to pack up and return home, and finish this in the studio. I hope you enjoy these paintings, which are all available and will be put in my online Artfinder shop after drying and varnishing. To be kept up to date with future posts, click on the box below, or this photo, and enter your e-mail address.

Next Time – My 3rd Solo Exhibition in Ramsgate, Kent

Chasing the Light‘  Not to be missed!