Fowey, from a snap shot to a painting

Fowey, from a snap shot to a painting

We returned from a weeks holiday at Polruan, a small fishing village on the river Fowey. It was a couple of weeks ago now.


Our annual family holiday is a busy affair and there's not enough time to paint.  Too much time spent eating ice cream, supping beer, taking boat trips and swimming , 

Me and mum, before catching the Polruan Ferry home again. 

However we now all have a very handy time machine in our pockets, and if I can't paint I am thinking about what I can paint when I have time. So today I thought I would show you how I went about converting a photo from my phone to a watercolour back home.

Here is the photo I took of the river Fowey, my son is on the paddleboard in the middle distance. The white and blue house on the left hand bank by the trees , was the home of Daphne Du Maurier, apparently her son now lives there.

Anyway lets get on, remember the photo is only a guide you don't have to include anything you don't want to .

So first sketch out what you want to paint and think about how you will achieve it.



I think I will need some masking fluid with this one, it's a tricky scene with boats and water, oh and houses too.

So I just mask out the boats, and some white yachts in the background. I have only popped in a few boats, and I am afraid I have ditched my son !

Then I start on a simple sky, cerulean blue, and white paper for the clouds, all wet in wet.

Now take a deep breath and do for the water. I am guessing as I go, trying to be spontaneous. First I wet the paper.

Then I added, blues and green , cerulean blue from the sky, leaving some whites and darker blues.

Keep looking and adjusting , adding and taking away. This is my first attempt so there are no rules, just guesses and adjustments. Keep things simple, don't try to be too complicated.

Now I must apologise as as usual I got carried away and finished the painting, without many more photos. I painted the houses on the quay, and removed the masking fluid from the boats. 

I added the trees and the greenery too, then finally I painted the little boats, don't go mad, if you add too much detail it draws your eye to that part of the painting, hint at what you are seeing. Add the reflections and the ripples.

And so my memory of the river at Fowey is sealed, boats and sunshine. A bit of artistic license too, go on have a go x



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that’s a delightful painting, I have no idea how to mask when painting but looks worth taking the time to do a proper job.


Your blog is super, thank you 😍 I usually paint from my own fotos, too, leave out the too complicated or too detailed things and paint only the things I want – artistic license, haha!


Brilliant blog, fabulous photo and a great painting as always with lots of hints and tips. 😊👍

Diane Hayward

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