Everything’s Beachy

We are going through a process of changing some of the pictures we have hanging around our home. It’s pleasing to have some kind of a link between those in one area – maybe by colour, theme, or medium. And so I find myself with a little piece of wall space just asking for a sea/blue themed picture. Queue a trawl through our photo albums to find inspiration. I was attracted by a picture of this groyne in Hunstanton, a beach we have visited many times over the decades, and which holds good memories of clear, cold spring days.

Hunstanton groyne acrylic

I referred my source photo, making sure that I had a satisfyingly cropped composition with horizontal thirds. Helpful memories reminded me of how the sea and sand look here, as the tide makes its long retreat. Acrylics seemed the most fitting choice, especially as I wanted a bigger painting (A4+) and often struggle to achieve this size successfully in watercolour. I enjoyed building up the layers of paint with a flat brush, starting with the sky, moving on to sand. I do love a flat brush. Last to be added were the wooden posts and a smattering of pebbles (which were certainly more taxing than I’d expected).

Looking at this painting now, I’m not sure whether it’s finished. I guess time will tell.


Last Friday the weather was lovely, and we needed to escape the media tsunami resulting from Thursday’s referendum, so we headed up to the Norfolk coast. Our destination was Hunstanton, or ‘Sunny Hunny’ as it’s locally known, where there’s a good sweeping sandy beach, with the added interest of amusement arcades and a funfair to sketch. However, when it came down to brass tacks we dithered about looking for a view – probably because there were so many choices. Time was ticking on, and in the end we plumped for sketching the Sailing Club building, not least because we could sit in the sun with our backs to the warm sea wall, the sound of the surf soothing our ears. The view had a boat, which my husband wanted to sketch, and a building, which was my main objective.

Sailing club watercolour

Perspective once again was a tricky one. I did some pencil guidelines, but when it came to sharpening everything up with fineliner (absolutely necessary this time) I realised I didn’t get it quite right. Too late though. I knew the boats would be tricky, and they were. And in case you’re wondering, that large heap on the far left is a big stack of kayaks. I was at the end of my concentration by the time I reached them!  The sun was quite high but still casting the front and side of the building in shade. Consequently the ground shadows are quite small – I would have enjoyed playing with more contrast. However, the bit I like best on this is the backlit patch of grass in front of the building. Right at the end I discovered I’d forgotten to reserve the white of the flag, and had to lift it out with a damp brush before adding a little colour. Doh!

It was a good way to spend the morning, not too much conversation, no room for thinking about the EU. ‘Sketching as meditation’ worked its magic.