Escape to the sea

Escape to the sea

My dad was a very funny man, whenever we went on holiday he would ask people who lived in the seaside town we were in " so where do you go on holiday ?". Then everyone would smile,  and they might say "no need to go away when you live in a beautiful place like this"

I would beg to differ though, I live in a beautiful place, but I need to get away from time to time, and my most favourite holiday destination is the far west of Cornwall. However when asked "what does and artist do on her holidays?", well if she's me, she creates more art ! Oh she does other things, relaxes, reads, swims, eats and drinks.However , if you ask me,  there is no better way to take in a place than by trying to recreate it on paper.

To say this year has been a challenging one is an understatement.

I needed a holiday ( as I am sure many of you do too) , so please come away with me ( virtually) and I will show you what I did on my holidays, and how I like to paint the sea.

We arrived near Pothcurno , at the top of the cliffs, safely tucked away from other people but with a view to die for. Our cottage is the one with the arrow pointing to it


And this is what we could see from the garden.

How could I NOT want to paint.

I take limited artist supplies with me, a board to tape my paper to, a selection of brushes, my paint box, masking tape and kitchen roll. Oh and a few pencils.

I often just take a small sketch book if I am going abroad and space is precious, but heading off in the car I can take more things.Nestled amongst the kids body boards, wet suits, cool box, tennis rackets etc, etc.

Lots of people say they want to paint, but they find it difficult to get started, before I became an artist full time, holidays were my time to paint. However I often put off starting the first painting , my advice is force yourself to. Just get going, even if painting number 1 doesn't go well  you have broken your duck, and now your creative juices should flow.

I began on day one looking out at the headlands, 

A slightly misty day so I didn't paint the sea at all, but you know it is there.

Some days it's not about painting the exact scene you see in front of you but getting a feel for the sea air, the waves, the salty smell. Give yourself permission to be expressive , look at the sea, and then interpret it in your way.

I find it helps to really examine waves, take lots of photos, see where the lights and darks are.


 This is where your inner detective comes out. How can I make that wave look convincing on paper. Paint as little as is needed for it to look like a wave, and keep practicing.

Paint what makes your heart sing, and let yourself be inspired by your new surroundings. 

Sometimes the sea is so rough it is hard to make out what is what. Go with your feelings and splash that paint about expressively. Some days it is like a mill pond, the flowers are out and everything is calm.

I also have a great love of wild flowers, and have recently rediscovered my pencil. The more you make art, the more you see, and the more you see the more you absorb your surroundings. If nothing else, take a pencil and a piece of paper and try to draw what's in front of you. I promise you will never ever forget that particular view ( even if the sketch turns out to be not one of your best) Time well spent!

I do hope some of you manage to get to somewhere that inspires you this week, be it the coast line or your garden. Maybe you can get out into the countryside, find a quiet spot, and really see the view. I am so lucky to have had my batteries recharged by a trip to Cornwall, but even luckier to come home to my beloved Mid Devon and be inspired some more. x



Back to blog


What a wonderful inspiration you are ! Thank you for all your helpful tips ! Love it !

Marguerite Bell

Your art is awesome thank you for your sharing ..

Zehra Oskan

Rachel what can I say what a beautiful great artist you are, I get very emotional when I look at your work it’s as if everything you paint just comes to life I love every piece of your work it inspires me to give it a go the problem is I have created a barrier in front of me which stops me attempting to draw or paint, I had this same barrier regarding sewing but I have managed to break down the barrier so far for sewing so my next try is to do the same with art which I will hopefully in the near future.
You are amazing. X


Your words are so encouraging and inspirational Rachel – in so many ways. Keep up the good work xxx

Andrea Morrisroe

Thank you for the encouragement to keep on painting even when I feel I can’t. I love your work.

Penny Lulich

Leave a comment