View Full Version : Cornwall July 2014 mostly in S&B Delta. Vivien

07-20-2014, 09:01 AM

Hells Mouth, Cornwall. Those cliffs are high, though the foreground may may them appear not to be.

I'm just back from 2 weeks in Cornwall :) with quite a lot of sketching. I've filled and S&B Delta sketchbook and then some loose sheets of paper too.

It was a part that I hadn't explored before but I'd done my research via maps and google earth etc to work out the best painting spots - and there were lots within a max of 5 miles from where we stayed :)

We also had an amazing storm with sheet lightning and forked lightning that was just continous for well over an hour - the whole sky lighting up purple. Just beautiful

photo from the internet, not mine. but from where we were on the same night


The wildflowers are better in May/June but still lots in the lanes and on the cliff tops in July.

07-20-2014, 02:46 PM
Sounds like a lovely art time. Beautiful painting.

07-21-2014, 12:31 PM
stunning! sketch and photo both :)

07-21-2014, 04:26 PM
Thanks :). The photo is stunning I agree


And a conte pencil drawing of the gnarled trunks of gorse bushes in the dunes further along the coast.

07-22-2014, 03:04 PM
Wonderful loose sketch of the gorse.

07-23-2014, 02:32 PM

Sketching at Portreath on a gorgeous day, in the S&B delta

07-23-2014, 02:34 PM
I can almost hear the water from your sketch. :)

07-26-2014, 06:12 PM
Wow. Viv, these are so incredible. The photo's nice but your drawings paintings blow me away. The water, I can practically hear it, the rocks are so gorgeous, make me wish I were there! You have an amazing loose style yet somehow manage to convey so much with your wild textures! I can sort of do that in pastels but watercolors and transparency gets tough!

Love those little gorse sketches too, that is so fantastic. So loose and so true at the same time.

07-27-2014, 07:09 AM
Thanks Rob!

It is such a fantastic place to paint.


One done when showers werethreatening

07-27-2014, 02:18 PM
Ooh, pretty!

07-31-2014, 12:58 PM

A bigger one with conte pencil in the Derwent landscape sketchbook (which doesn't like watercolour). Almost 17x8 inches

Another plein air from last month.

That's the lighthouse in the distance, seen from the other side.

07-31-2014, 02:28 PM
Marvelous landscape.

08-02-2014, 05:53 AM

And one done in oil paint in the S&B sketchbook. A hazy late afternoon light with the headland a silhouette and the sea pale and sparkling.

08-02-2014, 10:12 AM
Absolutely stunning studies. Small finished paintings just as they are...

08-02-2014, 01:59 PM
Your seascapes are always so wonderful. Makes me think I'm at the coast.

08-04-2014, 11:34 AM

Thank you :)

And this one was on a blue day. Godrevy lighthouse. Again in the S&B Delta

So many wildflowers on the dunes and clifftops - the pinky purple is mallow.. The yellow might be a wildflower (forget the name) but I think it was actually rape (canola to the US) that has established itself as a wildflower now, escaping from the farmer's fields.

08-04-2014, 02:39 PM
Beautiful view.

08-04-2014, 06:36 PM
It's funny but I think the fine day ones where the sea was vividly coloured are more illustrational. I'm happier with the subtler coloured ones on cloudier days.

08-05-2014, 07:10 AM
Vivien, these sketches are lovely. Cornwall is a great place, so glad you enjoyed it.

08-06-2014, 06:50 AM

Playing with one of the drawings of rocks, waves and wet sand with the Etchings app on the iPad

Thanks :). I used to live there as a child and it always feels like home when I go back.

08-06-2014, 09:03 AM
I love all your new ones! Oil paint in an S&B journal is a brilliant idea. I am going to have to try it sometime, though naturally leave it propped open to dry when I do. I like the lightness of your Conte' drawing. I use my Conte' crayons rather heavier, more like pastels more often, and should try that style with them sometime. You've given me good ideas here. Great little digital sketch too. I don't have an iPad but my Kindle Fire has a couple of drawing apps I downloaded and I was using them on my phone first - now with a bigger screen I might have to treat it as another sketchbook!

Watercolor is spectacular as always and I love the saturated hues of the scene with the mallows and rape. Thank you for telling me that's what rape is - I always wondered, another plant that I've read about but not seen connected with an illustration!

08-06-2014, 02:17 PM
You got such great textures in the digital sketch.

08-06-2014, 04:04 PM
Yes just an app Debby so I can't take much credit! You can choose various line weights but then just click to go, so no skill from me. I really like it though. It works so well with some images.

Rob if you don't mind it printing a little onto the facing page, or stick a piece of scrap paper between the pages, you don't need to prop it open to dry. It will dry ok closed and doesn't stick because of the oil. Do try it. I think you will love it. I've used oil in sketchbooks for years now with no problems.

I quite enjoy sketching on the iPad so think you should definitely have a go with the kindle fire.

The conte was a conte pencil so lines are finer. I do miss the lovely soft washes of tone with charcoal though when I only use conte.

They grow rape (canola) around here in some parts and in late spring there are vivid yellow fields. It has self set in the countryside, I even had a plant come up In my city garden!

08-08-2014, 01:01 PM

An illustrational one of St Ives. In the s&b sketchbook

This is from my phone so hope it works

08-08-2014, 02:01 PM
Very cool city scape by the sea.

08-10-2014, 12:29 PM
:) not a city, just a small town with the houses tightly packed and narrow narrow streets . There is actually only one city in Cornwall and it isn't very big. (Truro)

I've been playing with variations on a theme from a sketch of Portreath ...


This was a sketch of Portreath on a day threatening rain. Done with a conte pencil.


and then I added watercolour washes, just keeping them subtle and colour muted.


and then I printed the photo of the original sketch and added colour with coloured pencils, again keeping colours muted. It was printed on a very rich cream paper, which creates an underlying warmth, so I put in those icy pale blues to chill it down again.

08-10-2014, 02:53 PM
Lovely. Like the different takes on the same scene.

08-10-2014, 03:23 PM
Great journal !
Hope to see more :thumbsup:

08-12-2014, 04:16 AM
Lovely paintings, especially like the cloudy day ones.
Thanks for explaining about oil drying even though the book is closed. I wondered how you could use oil and not have to wait for days before turning the page! Does the same apply to oil pastels?


08-12-2014, 05:54 AM
Thanks :)

I only use oil pastels for occasional marks, never for a whole piece and never with solvent. Used that way yes, I can close the book immediately. I see no reason they would be a problem though.

Obviously I don't paint impasto in the sketchbook.

08-12-2014, 06:00 AM

I did the purple one this holiday of a gull weighing up if I had food. I just grabbed the nearest pencil.

The other big one is in another sketchbook from another holiday. I thought he belonged here so stuck a print in.

The others were done from photos. I wanted to catch how the gulls were soaring on the updraft from the cliffs. So effortless it seemed. I may use them in a bigger painting in progress.

08-12-2014, 02:53 PM
Wonderful gull studies.

08-12-2014, 10:06 PM
The gulls are delightful, love the purple colour!

08-15-2014, 03:27 AM
Thank you :).

I do find the cloudy days actually more interesting to paint. Not so good for families on the beach though.

I read an article about gum Arabic a d just had to order some!

First reaction is wow! I love it. It adds. Translucent luminosity and body, particularly in pale washes. I shall experiment further with this :)

First doodle with it on an empty sketchbook page with some blots and marks meaning I wouldn't use it for a painting


Anyone else use it?

08-15-2014, 04:38 PM
So do you add this to watercolor?

08-16-2014, 03:27 AM
I just tipped a bit out onto the lid of the watercolour box and dipped the brush in to add to the puddle of colour I was mixing. Using instead of water for a proportion (variable) of the mix.

It made very pale washes much more luminous, they didn't go flat as they can sometimes.

I am definitely planning further experiments. Had visitors yesterday so didn't have time.

08-16-2014, 08:20 AM


Looking in the same direction up the coast, from slightly different viewpoints and in different weather - one a clear bright day with vivid sea and the other a hazy day with soft muted colours.

I just love the way that the weather, mood, light and colours change in minutes sometimes, never mind over days.

Both watercolour/mixed media in the S&B sketchbook

08-16-2014, 02:58 PM
Just beautiful. It's been a long time since I've been to the coast.

08-16-2014, 11:26 PM
Oh wow. I love the purple gull! Your birds rock. Youíve got such motion in them. And your experiment with gum arabic came close to being a little seascape in itself, a few more details and itíd be sky, land and water! Even your doodles are gorgeous.

Wonderful, wonderful Portreath in the rain, all three versions. That rocks how you got a photo of the Conte pencil version and then did two different color versions. They all really worked. I need to use my Conte pencil with watercolor sometime, that technique appeals to me.

Beautiful town by the sea. At first glance it looked like a castle and I liked the tiny boats way below, that sense of a birdís eye view. The water in it is so sparkling and lively with those streaks and spatters and that rich pthalo turquoise or blue you use!

The last two scenes are so gorgeous each in a different way. You always capture the weather, anything from gray and rainy to the brilliance of summer sun and warm greenish blue water. The flowers are so lovely - so loosely depicted and yet so powerful. They seem natural, they read true and yet I look close and theyíre transparent unconnected dots over the ground and water colors.

I love your work and learn something every time you post. I have some gum arabic and now Iím going to have to play with it sometime!

08-17-2014, 03:38 AM
Thank you so much Rob. You made my day ! :)


So from wide views to detail ... Broken shells and a crab claw picked up on the beach for me by my daughter. The pieces of eroded mussel shell had such beautiful colours.

The sunset photo was from a tourist info leaflet and I liked both the image and the way the colours echoed the shells.

Oh and yes, pthalo blue, cobalt turquoise and viridian in the sea in the St Ives illustration. Essential colours for Cornish seas! Even on then overcast days those colours are still there, just muted

08-17-2014, 02:03 PM
Love the little sketches of bits of this and that found on the beach.

08-19-2014, 09:00 PM
Love your shells and crab claw! They're all exquisite and the tourist photo's so perfect with them. Is it collaged in or is that trompe l'oeil to create a composition? It's hard to tell, could be exquisite watercolor with a pretty ragged edge shadow or a carefully pasted-in real photo! Love it!

08-20-2014, 04:39 AM
Afraid it's just pasted in! A good idea to do that Rob

08-23-2014, 10:51 AM

I showed the version of this that I played with in the etching app and extended (below) but not the original I think.

Waves lapping in by the rocks and that lovely sheen on wet sand

In the S&B sketchbook


If I do a larger painting I might extend it to that shape.

08-23-2014, 03:02 PM
I like the original, but I'm a color junky. :)

08-23-2014, 04:14 PM
Me too! :). But at some point I may do a colour version in the longer format

08-26-2014, 10:30 AM
I can smell the fresh sea air of the Cornish coast!

08-26-2014, 06:58 PM
Eileen that's great! Thank you

Joan T
08-26-2014, 10:06 PM
I haven't had time to get over here in a while and I am just loving these sketches of the water, rocks, seashells, and those gulls! Wonderful sketches!!!

09-02-2014, 11:16 AM

I showed the version of this that I played with in the etching app and extended (below) but not the original I think.

Waves lapping in by the rocks and that lovely sheen on wet sand

In the S&B sketchbook


If I do a larger painting I might extend it to that shape.

I love these, especially the first one. They have such wonderful textures and liveliness to them - with your characteristic accuracy and so much motion! Your line is alive. I'm only starting to loosen up on line.

09-02-2014, 01:57 PM
Thanks for the lovely comments :)

The trick with the line is to 'feel' the textures and contours and not get bogged down with 'copying' them if that makes sense? Accurate observation but 'felt'.

One of my tutors used to explain it as feeling as if your brush/pencil/pen was touching the fur/rock/ water. Feel the softness/hardness/fluffiness/wetness/flow etc