Will Kemp, Cornish Fishing Boat, Acrylic on Canvas (detail)
Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days in South Cornwall and caught the most fantastic weather. I’d visited this stretch of coastline before and enjoyed fabulous Summer sunrises & sunsets, fresh seafood and sparkling Mediterranean colours.
Seasons can often show you new sides of a landscape and experiencing it all again in Winter was totally invigorating.
Atmospheric mist enveloped harbours, it was wilder with more dramatic changes in light, and the sombre Winter palette reminded of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s landscape paintings.
With the lower winter sun, you sometimes get fabulous side illumination, and here it’s casting brilliant warm, yellow rectangles onto this window recess. Having the source of light lower in the sky, brings out textures in otherwise bleached surfaces.
You can watch how the clouds moving over the ocean can drastically change the colours within the ‘blue’ sea. Having such a big expanse, makes you appreciate how the different colours in the sky reflect and influence the sea surface below.
I’ve taken some swatches from the above image so you can see how much the colour of the sea is influenced by the cloud mass above.
I loved how the morning mist sent the far horizon and house into the distance, the atmosphere helping to split the subject into distinct areas of foreground and background. The angular dark shape of the wall in the bottom right of the frame helps to add contrast to the foreground and send the viewers eye back into the scene; you can see a painting of this image further down the article.
This rock seems to have a landscape scene etched into the surface, with the muted green ‘hills’ and the sharp white fault lines breaking through the view. The surrounding pinky tones help to make the rock shapes appear greener.
Soaking up the spectacular sunrise at Kingsand, it was pretty special having the beach all to ourselves!
Pale blue mornings by the sea, freshly baked sourdough cinnamon ’snails’ and mugs of hot coffee, what could be better!
The raking evening light had an almost monochrome quality to it, giving the surface of the sea a fabulous textural quality.
The window frame breaks through the scene, giving us time to reflect on each ‘frame’ within the frame.
I liked the juxtaposition of the angular man-made rocks against the flowing irregular natural shapes.
Winter in Cornwall was just as inspiring, the light just as amazing and I left feeling more connected to nature…..and maybe a little overloaded with cream teas and mulled wine!
Cornish Fishing Boat in Cawsand’s
When I got back to the studio, I found a canvas that had been prepared with a dull green ground (you can see the colour on the bottom corner) I then painted over with Titanium White warmed slightly with a little Cadmium Orange.
The drawing was a mix of Raw Umber, diluted with water and a few lines in a Burnt Umber acrylic marker.
Once this had dried, I started to push the contrast by adding some Ultramarine Blue mixed with Raw Umber to create a blue-black and establish the darks. Then I washed in some Burnt Sienna to give an indication of the warmth in the rocks.
The mix of Raw Umber, Ultramarine Blue & White makes a fab neutral grey, this was layered up over the top of the underpainting using a flat brush in simple angular blocks of colour. I’m always looking for the general shapes first.
I lighten the tones of the far cliffs to push them further back into the composition and block-in the bright Cobalt blues on the fishing boat in the foreground. I’m using a combination of Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue (green shade)
With the Titanium White, Phtahlo Blue and a little Cadmium Yellow Light, I can add a few small turquoise dashes on the buildings and the rock face.
Once I have the turquoise colour notes painted in, I mix a muted purple by introducing some Permanent Alizarin Crimson to the palette. I also use a tiny dash mixed in with Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White to make the peachy colour for the buoy in the corner of the boat.
Will Kemp, Cornish Fishing Boat, Acrylic on Canvas
I add a final refinement to the boat using a small round brush and push the contrast around the boat and rocks.
Next time we’re off to Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St Ives, notice how you can sneak a glimpse of her garden reflected in the mirror on the wall.
Thanks for all your support over the year, have a great Christmas!