Posted on 27 Comments

Tenby in the late winter sun

Paintings of Tenby for Sale

We are in the midst of lockdown in Wales, the schools are shut and the good news is that the covid numbers are falling. They need to fall a lot further because when the schools and the university students come back they will shoot up again.  I had in a mind a longer blog post, but I find that after I have got up, done my yoga/ankle exercises and painted in the morning light, that I am too tired for much else.  That post will have to wait a little longer.

So I have decided to show you my most recent work. I have been painting Tenby, which I can only visit in my imagination.Tenby is a harbour town and resort in southwest Wales. It’s known for its 13th-century town walls and its stretches of sandy shoreline, including Castle Beach.

I have been working on a triptych (which is three paintings) but I have only finished two of them, so its a diptych (two)! I will add the third one when I have completed it. I was trying to find unusual angles to paint. As much as I love painting Tenby and its colouful houses and boats, I need a fresh angle to present my brain with a new set of challenges to solve. This first painting, the challenge lay in how to paint the headland off in the distance and balnce it with the very dark shaows in the foreground. In the end I simplified the details and make sure that the tone was cool with warm grey and mauve.  I was particularly pleased with the shadows on the beach and the blue house. 

Painting of Tenby Harbour
Out of the Tenby Shadows

 

My second painting is a view of the pier or quay from Castle Hill. This is a headland on which the ruins of Tenby Castle overlook the harbour. I liked the fact that this was the “underside” of the view we usually see of the harbour.  The pier is a working pier as can be seen from the lobster pots stacked at the far end. It’s also where the Caldey Island boat picks up supplies for the islanders and the abbey every day (so long as the wind is not from the South West or over 20mph). Apparently royal mail has continued to visit throughout the pandemic, so that the monastery shop has been able to continue to operate.  The boat that takes visitors to the island leaves from Castle Beach round the corner. The island is usually open from Easter to September for visitors, I don’t know whether that happended this year. A visit to Caldey in the boat was a pretty outdoor affair in ordinary times, so maybe they will start again in the summer, who knows.  

Painting of Tenby Harbour
Tenby Pier, Wales

 

I will add my third painting when I have completed it.

Update:Here’s the third and final painting of the three.

Oil Painting of Tenby in the Winter Light, Wales_Emma Cownie
Tenby in the Winter Light, Wales

 

That’s me done with Tenby for a while!

 

Read More

About my visits to Tenby here 

About I paint Tenby Harbour here 

 

Posted on 18 Comments

Painting Tenby Harbour

Painting of Tenby Harbour
You may well have noticed, that I like to explore different subject matters. I find it impossible to paint any one thing, be it landscapes, seascapes, animals or streetscapes all the time. I like to pursue a theme for a while and then switch to a different subject or work on small canvases to a large one. They all present different challenges. I sometimes wonder why I like to make myself slightly uncomfortable but again and again, I do. I was ill over Christmas with the cold from hell which developed into a nasty cough that sprang into action with any drop in temperature. Just before I gave up everything and just sat in front of the fire, I painted a painting of Tenby Harbour. I hadn’t planned to, but I was looking through my photos and I came across a photograph I had taken last spring. I was struck by the light on the lobster pots. So I painted it.
Tenby Painting
Early Morning Tenby (SOLD)
I then gave up painting for a while, as the cold air in my studio set off my cough, and coughing and painting don’t go well together. Sitting in front of the fire, I was aware that I wanted to paint a boat. The small boats in the “Early Morning Tenby” painting hadn’t quite satisfied me. So I decided to paint a boat called “Mistress II” moored up at the quay at Tenby Harbour. I was quite nervous before I started the painting. I was concerned that I would get sucked into painting the detail of the building in the distance so I decided to sketch a tonal painting before I added colour. What I mean by a tonal underpainting – is just using thinned red ochre and raw umber to sketch out the light and shade in a composition. In this way, it would help me simplify the buildings in the distance and so focus the viewers’ eye on the boats in the foreground. They also helped me solve the “problem” of the lobster pots on the “Mistress II” which were in shadow.  I think the tonal under-painting helped the final painting.
Tenby Painting
Hazy Tenby
Unfortunately, I was so nervous about this painting I didn’t think to take a photograph of the tonal sketch so I can’t show it to you! I made a point of taking a series of photos to show the work-in-progress of my next Tenby painting. This composition was interesting to me as a third of the town of Tenby and half of the harbour and was in shadow. The harbour wall and half of Castle Hill, however, were in bright sunshine.  #1 Under-painting of Tenby Harbour This painting took most of the week to complete as the light was so poor. I could only work for a few hours at a time. I resisted the urge to push on once the light went. Sometimes, I like the early stages of a painting the best, as it’s still all potential! 
Painting of Tenby Harbour
Finished – Tenby Panorama
Painting of Tenby Harbour Close Up When I looked at the finished painting, I found pleasure in the curves of the harbour wall on the right side of the painting. As it was in shadow, I had not really paid it much attention before. You may recognise the lobster pots on the quayside to the right of the painting that were such a big feature in the first Tenby painting in this series. On the left, there is the tiny turquoise boat alongside the quay. This is the Mistress II, which was in “Hazy Tenby”.  That makes me smile. In a weird way, it reminds me of the many novels of Anthony Trollope in which he created a world in which a  person may be the central character in one book and a minor figure, who only gets a passing reference, in another. Once I have painted an object or person they become quite fixed in my memory, largely because I had studied them so closely. The lobster pots had their moment in “Early Morning Tenby” and tiny turquoise boat in “Hazy Tenby”, and now are supporting characters in “Tenby Panorama”.