I was recently lucky enough to have a week away from work to get creative in St Ives. It was a 5 day course, and days 1 and 2 were spent Collagraph Printmaking with Annabel Wilkes in the Porthmeor Print workshop. You can read all about this here
Days 3-5 were spent with a group of ladies under the artistic instruction of Rosalind Moysen. On the first day we took our sketchbooks, pencils and stools with us and went down to the harbour in St Ives. Ros did a demo for us of sketching the harbour, showing how do draw the buildings and getting in interesting detail without getting too bogged-down with the detail (which can easily happen)
I decided to sit almost on the harbour wall, irritatingly in the way for a lot of the visitors who were walking past! I chose an upturned pile of boats as my subject matter, with the streets and houses in the background and a bit of sea to the left.
We started quite early and I hadn’t anticipated that the scene would change so much during the day. First of all a seagull came and went, then the guy who rents the deck chairs unpacked them and set up stall, then people came and went, a little child started crying on the beach, more seagulls placed themselves in various parts of my composition. It was very busy and entertaining, but a bit of a nightmare to draw as it was constantly changing!
I used aquarelle pencils, so Iplayed-about a bit with doing washes over the sketch.I got a bit bored doing the buildings, can you tell??! The seagulls came and went....
In the afternoon, we moved up into the little back streets and I chose a spot that was much quieter.
Tourists wandered past and were really interested in what we were all doing, it was so lovely to be out and about and interacting with others, rather than in my studio on my own.
A huge fluffy cat meandered past, a woman had a conversation on the phone in the window ( a whole other story) above where I was sitting, Mum sat in my composition with her big hat on, the sun moved over and created great shadows and contrast. I was so absorbed in what I was doing I totally lost track of time. It was really relaxing, and I was quite pleased with the end result below.
Ros wandered around between us all, quite a job as we were dotted all over the place! She gave us some tips and ideas which really helped, such as drawing the reflections in the windows of the houses, and getting more depth of detail in the plants in my foreground.
We then stopped for a well-earned glass of Rose at the end of the day, in Porthmeor Beach Café, Justin front of The Tate. We were really blessed with wonderful weather, and the sea was very still and flat, with a fabulous sunset.
The next day we went to the coastal path on The Island in St Ives. This isn’t really an island, but is fairly steep and not built on at all apart from the little church and another building. It’s stunning scenery with beautiful early summer flowers and we sat near the edge of the path as we got another demo from Ros about how to draw the rocks and boulders, and add texture and interest using a variety of materials like tissue paper, carborundum, gum Arabic, and sand.
We were then set loose to go off and create! The sun was beating down, and the sea was a beautiful turquoise blue, conditions were perfect! I got out my watercolour paints and set to work, promptly forgetting to try most of the techniques Ros had suggested as I got so absorbed in what I was doing! I chose a wide flat brush and quite earthy palette and before I knew it, it was lunch time! This subject matter was easier than yesterday's , as rocks don't get up and walk off, we only had the changing tide to contend with today.
We went to the harbour for lunch and kept our food well under wraps for fear of a seagull attack, they are renowned in St Ives, and luckily for them there are always tourists who don’t know to eat in secret or under cover!
In the afternoon we did more of the same and I moved to a different spot and this time worked with acrylics instead of watercolours. I did 2 more paintings, one in less than five minutes to use up paint on my palette and I think I prefer that to the others oddly! Again we provided a lot of fascination for passers-by, who were really intrigued by what we were doing, and very complimentary
On our last day we went to Porthgwidden beach, and were focusing on the beach, sea and the horizon, how the light changes, working in washes of acrylic and building up layers. We were encouraged to look at the colours in the sand and sea, and try and capture their depths. Again I think I just ploughed-on in my usual fashion but I was really pleased with what I did!
Here is Mum on teh beach with her painting. I have to say I was sad when the week came to an end, and I hope to get back to St Ives again soon and do more of the same, as I absolutely loved it. Ros runs this course every year, so do get in touch if you are interested.
Please read Part 1 of this blog here if you haven’t yet done so, it will make more sense!