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Sketching in Cornwall is some that I have always done. We moved to West Cornwall when I was four years old. So it very much feels like my home.
I was introduced to sketching ‘en plein air‘ in Cornwall with some Art homework set by my teacher Mr Bibby. How I enjoyed that homework and it is something that I have kept up ever since!
Cornwall is a beautiful county, full of rich history. I love to be walking on the Cornish cliffs, with the sea crashing beside me and the smell of gorse. I particularly like the wild, out of the way places, which are so peaceful.

Materials Used

For these sketches, I have been using a bound textured watercolour pad and a Daler Rowney, Red & Yellow cartridge pad.
A 6B pencil, waterproof fineliner pen and willow charcoal. Also, my trusty Winsor & Newton, watercolour field paint box, used with a couple of round brushes, a sable No.1 & a No.6.

Featured sketch above:

Samphire Island and on towards Godrevy Light

Watercolour A4
We are walking along the North Cornish Coast Path from Basset’s Cove to Portreath (an old haunt of mine). It’s lovely to be back here and just as beautiful as I remember, making for a fantastic day. Great to be back.
I used to sit above one of the coves on our route called Ralph’s Cupboard. Which is a small tight cove (presumably ‘Ralph’ being a smuggler), watching and sketching the fulmars nesting on the cliffs. Today the cliffs were just as busy with sea birds, all wheeling around the cove.

Watercolour of Surfers at Sennen

Surfers at Sennen

Watercolour ~ A4
Strolling along the beach at Sennen Cove after dinner.
Sitting in the dunes, sketching, watching the sun slowly set. There is a pod of dolphins swimming and jumping out of the surf. At the time the surfers were just sitting on their boards watching all the fun. The dolphins were great to watch and we could see them going up and down the bay.
Afterwards, we walk along the front and share some chips.

Charcoal sketch of a Cornish Winding Path

Winding Path

Charcoal ~ A4
In the evening I leave the others and go out for a stroll, with my sketchbook. Heading down the lovely Cot Valley, near St Just. It’s dusk, insects churr around me and the Coast Path winds its way down to Porth Nanven Cove. With the Brisons Rocks lying offshore. I am always reminded of Tolkien’s poem ‘The road goes ever on…’ when I see a path heading off like this. Part of me wants to set off along it, with my pack on my back. This part of Cornwall is very tranquil tonight.

Pencil sketch of a crabbing boat in Cornwall

Crabbing in Cornwall

Pencil ~ A3
One of the small fishing boats motoring past, just offshore.

Pen sketch of Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall

Pen ~ A4
Cape Cornwall is one of my favourite spots which I always find very inspiring to sketch. I have painted it several times before.
This sketch shows Cape Cornwall with the Bisons (the rocky island to the right) and Longships Lighthouse on the horizon.

The chimney on the Cape is leftover from Cape Cornwall Mine, which worked from 1838 – 1883. It was left as a daymark for shipping.
The land and the car park are now owned by the National Trust.

Pencil sketch of Wheal Edward

Wheal Edward

Pen ~ A4
Continuing our walk along the cliffs and heading east. This sketch shows the Wheal Edward engine houses above Botallack. Here the mining didn’t stop at the cliffs but carried on under the sea bed. With miners able to hear stones moving about, above their heads on the seabed!
The Mine closed in 1893, due to flooding. It had a connection to its neighbouring mine, Wheal Owles. Wheal Owles broke into its neighbour Wheal Drea, which was abandoned and full of water. 30 miners were killed in the accident.

Pencil sketch of Rocks at Porth Nanven

Rocks at Porth Nanven

Pencil ~ A4
With this sketch, I was interested in the wave smoothed rocks and the texture & shadows on them.

Watercolour painting of Lanyon Quoit

Lanyon Quoit

Watercolour ~ A4
This painting was for my friends Steve & Libby’s wedding invite, which was a winter wedding. Steve and I have walked this route past Ding Dong Mine and Lanyon Quoit many times, as Scouts and in later life. It’s a cracking walk, with everything that wild Cornwall has to offer. Sea & cliffs, wild moorland, tin mines and Neolithic monuments, what more could you want. Except for maybe a pint and a pasty in the ‘Tinner’s’ at Zennor, just to round things off!
Quoit is the Cornish word for a Dolmen, a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb. Dating from the Neolithic period. Lanyon Quoit lies between Madron and Morvah. The three upright stones support the capstone which weighs more than 12 tonnes. The Quoit has, however, been changed. Before 1815 it used to be at a different angle, on four uprights and much higher. Apparently, a horse and rider could go underneath it. The Quoit collapsed during a storm and it took nine years before it was re-erected, under the guidance of Captain Giddy.
The Quoit lies to the north of a long-barrow, with West Lanyon Quoit about 700 meters away. There are other large stones about which could be more pre-historic structures.

Pen sketch of Foundry Quay at Hayle.

Foundry Quay

Pen ~ A5
Sketching at the old Foundry Quay, Hayle. With the boats moored up alongside the high wall. It’s rather run-down but has an interesting appeal about it.

Pencil sketch of a 'Big Sea at Portreath'.

Big Sea at Portreath

Pencil ~ A5
Down in Cornwall for Christmas, we’ve come to Portreath for a sketch. The wind was really blowing in some big waves that were breaking over the harbour wall.


Watercolour sketch of Pandora Inn & Loe Beach

The Pandora Inn and Loe Beach

Watercolour ~ A4
We have been to Trelissick for the day. The gardens are splendid and we are now sitting on the riverside. Looking across the River Fal to Loe Beach and the Pandora Inn. All the small boats are moored off Loe Beach. That’s a sort of slimy seaweed on the rocks in the foreground. But don’t let that put you off it is a stunning spot.

Also check out my other ‘Sketching in Cornwall’ Posts:

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