Another quick jaunt up to the North Norfolk coast and I managed to get four paintings done, accompanied by some unusually hot sunshine which I’ve been trying to make the most of over the last few weekends. It’s hard to find anywhere shady along this stretch of the coast so I knew I’d be needing plenty of water and sun cream. I also took my painting umbrella which I had clamped to a second lightweight tripod which I have standing next to the main one (which holds the pochade box). I then tie the umbrella stem to the main tripod with a shoelace for extra support! Seems to work if it’s not too breezy.

‘Blue boat, Brancaster Staithe’, 11x14in – oil on board (click images to enlarge)
I was rather taken by this boat in the sunlight and and the winding path of posts that served as a nice lead in to the distance. I fancied attempting something a bit different so thought it was worth a go. The shadows seem to get better as the session progressed although there was some high cloud which muted the effect at times. The building in the distance had a nice orange roof which sits well against the blue boat. I had to work fast on this and focused more on the light effect than trying to nail every detail with the boats. I took care to suggest a bit of foreground texture without making it too distracting so as to pull the eye down to the bottom of the painting. I might be tempted to do a bigger version in the studio at some point, perhaps tweaking the composition and refining the drawing.
‘Late afternoon, Morston Quay’, 10x13in – oil on board
I love painting at Morston. It’s pretty quiet (apart from the squawking seagulls) and the rhythms of the boats and water are very appealing. This is a ‘classic’ view (above) I guess, looking towards Blakeney in the distance. It’s important to make the composition work with the position of the boats and the flow of the water pattern so I mapped these basic elements in early on to ensure that the design would hold together. There were some nice shadows to work with on the foreground boats.
Below is a piece done at Blakeney. I was a little hot and bothered at this point, having set up along the quay front but abandoning the attempt after finding it too congested (with people) and the boats were spinning round in the tidal flow. I opted for a quieter spot, looking back at the town with a couple of boats moored on the bank in the foreground. The boats were still moving a lot but I though I had a better chance with the grounded pair in the foreground. Again, something a little different I thought and a nice moment when a nice chap came past and started picking something from the wet mud. I asked him what he was collecting and told me it was samphire. Apparently, it is quite a sought after ingredient for fine dining. Anyway, I knew I had a title for the painting!


‘Samphire picking, Blakeney’ – 8x12in, oil on board
After painting the first piece at Morston I turned round and spotted this subject which I felt had potential. I moved the boats around a bit but at least they weren’t going anywhere! The biggest factor here was the quick pace at which the light was shifting. I had to work fast and tried to keep the tones crisp and the colours as fresh as possible. The shadows were lovely, particularly the one raking across the foreground from the boat on the right. The sky, whilst having a blue component, was warmed by the light and needed to be harmonized with the overall colour scheme to make it work as a whole. Enjoyed painting this and it may well have some potential for a larger piece in the studio. Apparently you can take a boat out to Blakeney Point from Morston and get off at the museum which is housed in the old lighthouse building. From there you can walk to a rather picturesque beach. Tempted to give that a go on another visit.
Another enjoyable outing to Norfolk, albeit a brief one. Hoping to be back again soon!
‘Morston watch tower, evening light’ – 11x14in, oil on board