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Sketching on Budleigh Salterton beach

There is much of interest along Budleigh Salterton beach for the artist. I particularly like that the beach is still used by small working, fishing boats. These boats are drawn up and the fishermen will sell some of their catch at a stall on the beach. Their associated gear, nets, floats, lobster pots and rubber belts to pull up the boats make interesting shapes for drawing.

Budleigh Salterton beach is a pebble beach. With long tide washed ridges in it and it shelves off steeply into the sea. When the sea is rough, the waves can crash onto the beach, with a roar, as the pebbles are moved about.

All of these sketches are A5, on normal cartridge paper. I like this size of sketching pad, as I can easily slip it into my rucksack. With a small watercolour set and a few pens and pencils. For more on my sketching techniques check out my ‘Sketching Tips’ post.

Materials Used

These sketches were all drawn & painted in a normal Daler Rowney, Red & Yellow cartridge pad. When I’ve used watercolour the paper cockles a bit, but I just press the pad when I get home and all is well. My little watercolour set is a Winsor & Newton, watercolour field paint box, with a couple of brushes – sable No.6 & a No.1. With some of the sketches I’ve also used a waterproof fineliner pen.

The featured sketch above:

On Budleigh Pebbles

August 26th ~ Watercolour & brushpen ~ A5
“Popped down to Budleigh Salterton to do a quick bit of shopping, pay some cheques into the bank and have a stroll along the beach. A good idea you would have thought, but the ‘little fella’ moaned most of the way there and while we were in the shops. However, he did show interest when we arrived on the beach – hooray!
It was a chilly windy along the shore, so I sat drawing in the lee of some of the fishing gear that is stored on the beach to sketch, while the rest of the party looked along the shoreline.
Lots of gulls in the shallows – I think the fishermen had been working here earlier as there were bits of fish lying about. Cold hands again when I had finished.”

Watercolour sketch of Budleigh Fishing Gear on the beach.

‘Budleigh fishing gear’

January 25th ~ Watercolour, A5
“Chilly wind and rather a grey day. Fortunately, on the beach, we had our backs to it, so it wasn’t so bad. (On the way back we walked in the lee of the shops.) A lot of Gulls were wheeling around in the sky. This sketch is of some of the fishing/crabbing gear that is kept on the beach. I always find it interesting to look at and like to see the industry that goes on here. Often there is a table with people gutting fish on the beach and a sign up saying ‘Fish for Sale’. You can’t get any fresher than that! But today we had the beach pretty much to our selves.”

Watercolour sketch of a misty, wet day at Budleigh Salterton.

‘Misty, wet day at the seaside’

February 25th ~ Watercolour, A5
“Wet, foggy day at Budleigh Salterton, with rain pattering down on the car roof and the car windows slowly steaming up.”

Watercolour sketch of a young boy looking at the River Otter.

‘Down at the River Otter with a stick’

March 17th ~ Watercolour A5
“Sunshine and showers today, the little lad has his stripy coat on to keep out the chilly wind. We have come down to Budleigh Salterton for a stroll (with the usual effort it takes us to get out of the house these days!) However here we are enjoying throwing stones into the River Otter and poking it with a stick!”

Watercolour painting of Fairlynch Museum - Budleigh Salterton

‘Fairlynch Museum’

March 27th ~ Watercolour, A5
“Sketched the splendid Fairlynch Museum building which always looks inviting set in its garden. It’s open again at Easter, so will pop back then to have a look inside. We have been blessed now with several days of sunshine, which feels like summer. Not sure how long these days are going to last, but you have to make the most of them while you can.”

Watercolour sketch of two ladies 'Sitting in the Green' on Budleigh Salterton's prom.

‘Sitting in the Green’

22nd April ~ Watercolour, A5
“Mostly sunny on the prom on Budleigh Salterton’s seafront. Popped down on my own, after all the heavy April showers we have been having lately. It seemed very pleasant to see so many folks out enjoying the sun too.”

Watercolour and pen sketch 'Looking along the red cliffs of Devon'

‘Looking along the red cliffs of Devon’

June 30th ~ Pen & watercolour, A5
“Another overcast day today, but still warm. Parked on the Budleigh Salterton coast road with its high vantage point. Looking along the coast and the red cliffs of Devon, towards Exmouth and beyond. On Budleigh beach, all the small boats are pulled up, with a four or five fishermen at work.”

Watercolour sketch 'Warm Breeze' - looking along the coast from Budleigh Salterton.

‘Warm Breeze’

July 14th ~ Watercolour, A5
“Strong onshore wind driving in the waves, onto the beach. With the sound of the under-tow moving the pebbles about. Sounds Great!
The sea is a disturbed sandy colour, with a few white horses. Also, the sound of popping gunshots carried on the wind from the firing range.
There are lots of coastal flowers out in bloom all along the road margin.”

Watercolour sketch of Budleigh Boats

‘Budleigh Boats’

July 21st ~ Watercolour, A5
“Grey showery day, with low cloud swirling in. Still quite a few people about, some wetsuited swimmers and fishermen along the beach. Budleigh beach always has lots of boats drawn up, either for pleasure or fishing”

Watercolour sketch of a Gull on a Budleigh Rooftop

‘On a Budleigh Rooftop’

August 6th ~ Watercolour A5
“Looking up today I liked this slightly tatty chimney. With its tv ariel hanging off and there on top was the ubiquitous Herring Gull.
Sunny day, with the Gulls were their normal noisy selves. I rather like them – though I know that a lot of people don’t. I think that’s because we have too many of them in our towns & cities. Of course, they shouldn’t be there, but who can blame them. When they can make a such a good living, dining off all the food waste that we chuck out/drop on the ground.”

Watercolour sketch of a fisherman sat on his boat making 'Running Repairs'.

‘Running Repairs’

9th August ~ Pen & watercolour, A5
“The sea is very still and like a glassy mirror. The beach is quite quiet, but there are a few people out & about. Two ladies are swimming in the sea.
The fishermen are sorting out there catch and selling it on the beach.
Another fisherman is sitting repairing one of his floats, perched on his covered boat.”

Watercolour sketch of a Blustery Day on Budleigh Salterton beach.

‘Blustery Day’

August 10th ~ Watercolour, A5
“Blustery day down on the seafront, with the odd bit of drizzle blowing through. Lovely summer weather for the holidaymakers who are resolutely enjoying themselves.”


Pen and watercolour sketch, two people sat on a bench, 'Watching the Sea'

‘Watching the Sea’

September 4th ~ Watercolour & pen, A5
“At the east end of Budleigh Salterton beach, throwing pebbles into the River Otter. Bit of a breeze blowing today. Otherwise, it’s a pleasant, sunny day with people out and about enjoying the last day of the school holidays.”

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