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On the Cornish Coast

Sketching along the Cornish coast path from just east of Mevagissey to just west of Portscatho. This is a superb spot, with delightful Cornish harbours to explore and the beautiful, rugged coast path to walk along. What could be better?

The featured sketch above is:

Chapel Point

This watercolour sketch is of Chapel Point, an isolated peninsula jutting out into the sea, from Portmellon. I used a bit of black watercolour pencil in it to try and add texture, but this got rather lost in the mix of paint I used for the darker areas (Vandyke Brown, Winsor Blue & Purple.)

Materials Used

For these sketches I have used an A4 Arboretta heavy-weight 160g/m sketch pad. This has off-white cartridge paper and is a sketch pad that I quite often use. I’m also using a Winsor & Newton, watercolour field paint box, a waterproof fineliner pen, 6B pencil and a black watercolour pencil.


Mevagissey is still a working fishing harbour, nestling in a steeply sloping valley. I would recommend parking on the outskirts and walking into the centre of the harbour. As the roads in the village are very narrow and everything comes quickly to a standstill. It’s not worth the aggro.
It’s a pleasant harbour with interesting shops and well worth a visit. The port its self is made up of an Inner and Outer harbour. With the Inner harbour being built on a medieval quay. There are roughly 60 registered fishing boats and you can buy fish fresh on the quay.

Watercolour and pen sketch of one of the buildings of Mevagissey's Inner Harbour

Mevagissey Harbour Sketch

Watercolour A4
I loved the wet roof on the fishing buildings, in the Inner Harbour. With the sunlight reflecting off the sea and wet ground.
“The sky is the source of light in Nature and it governs everything.” ~ John Constable.

Mevagissey (Meva-hag-Ysi) takes its name from the church. Which in 1259 was dedicated to St Mevan/Mewan (a Welsh man) and St Issey or Ida (an Irish woman). It is said that there has been a church on this site since 500 AD. Although there is some Norman architecture left in the present building. Which was heavily rebuilt in the 15th Century. Even with this rebuilding, I think you would call it an interesting old building.
The writer Susan Cooper set two of her ‘The Dark is Rising‘ series of books here. Mevagissey is renamed ‘Trewissisck’ in the books, ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’ and ‘Greenwich’. My son had just read this series, so we spent a pleasant morning wandering around, trying to place the sites and houses mentioned. One of which is close to the church.

Pen sketch of Penare Point

Penare Point

Pen ~ A5 x2
Just east from Mevagissey, along the coast path is Penare Point. I sat for a quick sketch of the headland, which grew in size. So I had to stick two bits of paper together to accommodate it.


Just a mile west of Mevagissey lies the little, sandy cove of Portmellon. Here there is a public slipway and at low tide a beautiful beach. At high tide, however, there is no beach at all! Indeed, in stormy weather, the waves can come crashing over the sea wall and across the road, that runs around the cove. There is also a long history of boat building here.

Pen sketch on Portmellon beach.

Sea & Sun at Portmellon

Pen Sketch ~ A5
A quick pen sketch of Portmellon Cove with one of the moored boats and a young lad heading for the sea with his bodyboard.

Chapel Point

Chapel Point, an isolated peninsula jutting out into the sea. As the name suggests there are the remains of a Chapel here. However, in the 1930’s they were converted into three private Arts and Crafts houses by architect John Campbell. Campbell had plans for a more extensive development here but sadly fell to his death on the cliffs between the Point and Portmellon. However, I think what he left are some beautiful houses set in splendid isolation on the headland.
The house is also featured in Daphne Du Maurier‘s noel ‘The House on the Strand‘.

Watercolour sketch of Chapel Point from Colona Beach

Chapel Point from Colona Beach

Watercolour ~ A4
Chapel Point jutting out into the sea from Colona Beach. Showing a grey, leaden sky.
Indeed my sketchbook was getting wet from drizzly rain from the very start of this sketch.
I used watercolour washes with the detail added with a black watercolour pencil.


Portscatho is a scenic coastal village beach on the beautiful Roseland peninsula overlooking Gerrans Bay. The little east-facing cove affords shelter from the prevailing southwesterly winds. In the past, many pilchard boats were based here and today there are many small fishing and lobster boats in sheltered behind the harbour wall. I recommend again parking out of the village and walking in. In the village centre are several shops and a pub.

Pen sketch of Portscatho Harbour
We had our sandwiches on the beach and I did this little pen sketch of Portscatho Harbour.


Watercolour sketch of Porthmellon Head

Zone Point

Watercolour ~ A5
It’s a lovely day, with big black clouds inland, but they don’t trouble us. We’ve walked a little westwards of Portscatho, along the stunning Coast Path.
This sketch is of the jagged, slate grey rocks at Zone Point and looking on towards Porthmellon Head. Looking idyllic in the sun & wind.

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