Sunday, 12 June 2016


We're just back from short trip to La Turballe in south Brittany which is a small fishing town near La Baule, a large commercialised holiday resort.  This first sketch was drawn last Saturday as we relaxed after a tasty lunch at Piriac-sur-mer, half an hour's cycle ride along the coast. 

The camp site was right next to the sea and it was a pleasure to hear the waves lapping on the beach when I woke up during the night.  I stood in the doorway of our car to draw this so you can see how close we were.  The hedges had been sculpted to represent waves which really enhanced the view.

The gate to the beach was only a few yards from our pitch so I took my art bag and a deckchair one afternoon to capture the view along the coast. This is drawn in Museum watercolour pencils and then washed with water on one of the gessoed pages in my new map sketchbook.  I like the effect and the water worked very well on the surface.

My next 2 pages are drawn on the hand made paper samples stuck to the maps and this first one is a very rough  gelatine sized watercolour paper so the pen I was using washed out beautifully to give the light and shade effect I was after.

The second was a completely different tinted pastel paper, very absorbant so the same ink pen as before gave quite a different result when it sunk straight into and then spread out on the paper.  It hardly moved at all when I washed the water on as it was already completely absorbed.

On the Tuesday we cycled along the coast and then through the salt pans to Guerande, a pretty walled town famous for it's sea salt.  I drew this on a rather dark rough watercolour paper while we sipped a beer after our ride.

We ate a delicious crepe lunch and then sat in the shade outside the walls to rest before cycling back.  The swifts that nested in the cracks in the walls were swooping and diving over the water to gather food and then disappear into small holes in the wall to feed their chicks.

Later in the afternoon I realised the sea was a bit rougher than usual and thought I might try to capture it in watercolours so I took my bag and chair and settled on a rock near the water's edge.  How lucky this fisherman turned up to add a bit of interest to my picture! The paper is called Turner blue, a copy of the original used by the famous painter so I had to use a white marker pen to paint in the splashes of the waves. 

The tide was coming in quite fast so I had to move up the beach above the tide line for the next sketch looking towards the fishing port of La Turballe.  This time I used a water soluble pen, a brush pen and the watercolour pencils.

And finally I can never resist gathering wild flowers when we're out cycling and these came from the side of the salt marshes.
I hope you've enjoyed following along on our little trip and I hope to be back again soon with more sketches from somewhere else, it'll be a surprise for you as much as me as our plans are a bit uncertain at the moment.

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