Art · Mixed-media · Nature

Painting at the Beach

For several years now, I have enjoyed watching the English TV show Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year. Each week, contestants, consisting mainly of amateur painters, with a few professionals, are taken to a different outdoor location and given a few hours to paint the landscape as they interpret it, whether it be a castle, a bridge, a river, or even a field of lavender. There is always such a diverse range of styles and mediums, and many of the final paintings are amazing. I have often thought what fun it would be to pack up a bag of art materials and go somewhere quiet to just sit and paint.

A few days ago, my husband had a day off work and we decided to take a drive out to Waimarama Beach, a 40 minute trip in the car. After days of sweltering temperatures in the 30s, it had dropped to the low 20s and was much more pleasant for spending time outdoors. We packed a few art essentials – watercolour paints, brushes, pencil and eraser, a little container of water, a rag, and some watercolour paper. Also, of course, some snacks for nourishment.

Being a week day, the beach was deserted and we had the whole shore to ourselves, apart from a couple of other people walking their dogs.

The rock sticking out of the water is Bare Island. It provides a safe haven and breeding site for blue penguins.

Finn had a wonderful time chasing sticks, digging in the sand and running in and out of the lapping water.


We found a log that was perfect for sitting on and we draped a towel over it to provide some shelter from the sun for Finn.

I painted what I saw, then, when I got home, I added a few paper embellishments to break up the expanses of sand, sea, and sky. I took the liberty of adding a lighthouse to Bare Island because, well, it just looked like it needed one.

It was a fun day. Although I could never compete with the talent of the Landscape Artist of the Year contestants, I have a unique piece of art to add to Finn’s scrapbook album, along with the photos, to remember the day by.

While watching the Landscape Artist of the Year shows, I was particularly inspired by one of the contestants, Helen Hallows, whose mixed media art combines paint, collage, and stitching. You can see her art on her website here. Helen has published a set of four charming little books, one for each season, that are filled with her nature-inspired art and her thoughts on nature. They are lovely little books that I pick up often to browse through and be inspired.

15 thoughts on “Painting at the Beach

  1. Looks like you had a fun day! The last time we went to the coast it was so windy that we had to go back to the car. I haven’t seen Helen Hallows books before. I will have to take a look.


  2. That looks a lovely keepsake of your day at the beach. Finn is a good boy lying under the shelter. Whenever we have done something like that for Hugo when out on a hot day he just refuses to sit out of the sun. Silly dog. Glad Finn has more sense. X


    1. We had to wear him out with lots of running and playing first, then he was happy to lie under his shelter while we were painting. It also helped that there wasn’t anyone else on the beach to distract him!


  3. It looks like you had such a wonderful day! The beach views are amazing and you captured such beauty in your painting 😁. The texture of the white crashing waves is amazing, I can hear the sound they make as I look at your beautiful painting – perfect! Finn looks like he had fun too, whether he is sitting in his shelter, exploring or digging holes and again I’m thinking he really likes big sticks, doesn’t he …lol 😉. That’s such a lovely photo of you too! It’s turned warmer here and we’ve had some lovely sunshine the last couple of days, we even have some spring bulbs flowering in our garden. Happy Friday and Weekend! J 😊 x!


  4. Sketchbooks are even better than photographs I think. Sketching forces us to be much more observant. That Finn is a spoiled dog indeed! Cheers from 🇨🇦 Where we are still under snow! (Ottawa).


    1. I agree. I think that sketching does make us more observant. Yes, Finn is a very spoiled dog! I hope your snow thaws soon! We are still having some very hot temperatures here.


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