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Praa Sands

Painting and drawing on the mile-long, white sandy beach of Praa Sands. Praa Sands has dramatic Cornish coastline and larger than waves, for the area. Which attracts many surfers, all year round. The beach has shallow water and seasonal lifeguards. There is a large car park, shop & cafe at the western end of the beach. However, as with all Cornish beaches, if you walk a little further from the car park the beach becomes much quieter. The beach is backed by dunes.

Praa Sands, pronounced ‘Pray’ Sands, but equally commonly you hear ‘Prah’ Sands, is a very inspiring spot to paint and draw. I like to walk through the surf down to the eastern end of the beach (Hendra beach) and at low tide carry on into Lesceave Cove. Here there are many rock pools and sculptural rocks.
On the walk along the beach, my little lad was always interested in the Pillbox. Which, due to coastal erosion, has fallen off the clifftop and is now at a jaunty angle on the sand. You can climb into it, but often it has dog poo bags thrown into it. Who thinks that is a good idea!!
Featured sketch above:

Rocks at Praa Sands

Pen & watercolour ~ A4
Sitting on Praa Sands beach towards the southern end. Watching the surf gently break over the small rocks. I like the way the waves were travelling in at two different angles. As always I also loved the light reflected on the water.

Pencil sketch of Surfers at Praa Sands

Surfers on the beach

A small A5 Pencil sketch of surfers walking back up the beach. Using a Arboreta cartridge pad and 6B Pencil.


Fulmar’s nest in the coves on the western side of the beach. Which can be seen when walking on the coast path to Prussia Cove. Before you get to Hoe Point. Care should be taken though, as you peep over the cliffs!

I sketched these in a normal Daler Rowney Red & Yellow Cartridge Pad, with my Winsor & Newton Watercolour Field Paint Box and a 6B Pencil.

Watercolour sketch of two Fulmar's nesting.
Watercolour and pen sketch
Pencil sketch of nesting Fulmars
Pencil sketches of the nesting Fulmars.

Plane & Ship Wrecks

On the green above the beach, there is a memorial to a RAAF Sunderland plane, that crashed here on the 2nd June 1943. The plane crashed 300 yards offshore, having been on a sortie over the Bay of Biscay. The crew of eleven men had destroyed three or four German fighters, in a 45-minute action. The Sunderland had secretly, had guns fitted to protect the underneath. The engines had caught fire and despite injures, the crew had kept the plane airborne by jettisoning anything that wasn’t needed overboard. The incident was described by the RAF Chief of Air Staff as, “one of the finest instances in the war of the triumph of coolness, skill and determination against overwhelming odds…”

There have been several shipwrecks on the beach, the ‘Noiselle‘ in 1905 and ‘SS Jannakis‘ in 1921. Also, in 1956, after the wreck of the ‘Yewcroft’ off Cudden Point, several barrels were washed up on the beach. The good people of Praa Sand recovered the barrels, hoping to find something pleasant inside. However, there was only damp, cement inside them. These, now hardened, cement barrel-shaped ‘insides’ can still be seen around Praa Sands.


Watercolour painting of Lesceave Cove and Rinsey Head

Lesceave Cove and Rinsey Head

This painting is using watercolour washes to show the receding plains at Lesceave Cove. It’s quieter there but tidal, so a little care is needed. I sketched out the main parts of the painting on the beach. Before adding the washes when I arrived back home. As I wanted one wash to dry before adding the next one. I used a Daler Rowney, Langton 9 x 12” Hot Pressed Watercolour Pad for this sketch and Winsor & Newton, professional watercolour tubes of paint.

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