Colour study, 28th March, 2020, 6.30am

Plein air, oil on board apprx. 30x20cm

I had intended to resolve this sketch a bit more fully, but was beaten yet again by clouds coming in from the east blocking the light from the rising sun.  I decided to leave it in this ‘blocked-in’ state rather than try to rework it later hoping for similar light; as a rough colour study it will prove very useful for later reference in the studio.

Kenidjack stream, 27th March, 2020, 8.00am

Plein air, oil on board apprx. 30x20cm

A view eastwards along upper Kenidjack valley into the rising sun. At this point in its course the stream begins to cut deeper into the valley as the gradient of descent increases. Here, a fairly sharp turn coupled with the higher rate of flow occasionally leads to quite impressive undercutting and collapses of the stream bank, from where this sketch was done, causing some trouble for those wishing to get further down the valley. The first evidence of new buds on some of the trees clinging onto the stream bank signalling that spring is on the way.

Above Polpry Cove, 25th March, 2020, 4.30pm

Plein air, oil on board apprx. 30x20cm

A beautiful, if breezy spring day on the coast. After three attempts at painting down Porth Ledden in a stiff breeze before sunrise ( and almost losing all my gear to the ocean in the process) I decided to call it a day and waited until the afternoon light allowed me to choose a location relatively sheltered from the wind.

It’s no longer possible to descend into Polpry Cove itself as the cliffs have been undercut by wave action and are subject to frequent rockfalls. However, the old trail that leads off the coast path allows one to get some way down the cliffs, past a stile that acts as a barrier, to an overhang with a view north along the coast towards Cape Cornwall in the distance. At the turn of the tide some decent waves would occasionally come in crashing on the rocks below. It’s always fascinating and a reminder of the power of the ocean to hear the sounds of multi-ton granite boulders grinding against each other as the waves pass over them.

Afternoon light, Porth Ledden, 6th March, 2020, 3.00pm

Plein air, oil on board apprx. 24 x 15cm

Another sketch of waves coming in to Porth Ledden. The north-facing cliffs of the Cape remain mostly in shadow at this time of the year. Between heavy showers brilliant sunlight bounces up from the ocean to dazzle the eye. Curtains of sea spray blown off the ocean and driven over the cliffs by the wind, diffuse the skylight to produce milky atmospheric effects against silhouetted forms.

Waves at Porth Ledden, 4th March 2020, 12.15pm

Plein air, oil on board apprx. 30x20cm

It’s been just over a month since I was last able to get down to the foreshore at Porth Ledden to attempt another study of the incoming waves; a seemingly endless spell of gales, very heavy seas and exceptionally wet weather scuppering any hope of painting outdoors. Despite all that, there have been a few days where the conditions have been dramatic. Attempting to stand upright in a howling gale, battered by the wind while trying to observe the effects of ‘storm light’ on the heaving, ever-changing ocean coupled with the sound and fury of waves spending themselves against the cliffs provided much inspiration for a studio painting or two which I’ll post on the blog in due course.