Sketching in Cornwall

It was so long ago that I can hardly remember what I wanted to say about my holiday in Cornwall.
Photo of Mevagissey harbour
We stayed in the small fishing village of Mevagissey and from the start I could see why people love it. However, preferring wide open spaces myself, at first I found wandering the narrow streets stressful and claustrophobic – imagine being in the one-way lanes, where a car can hardly fit, but there is a two-way traffic and numerous pedestrians, with a two year-old, who kept on attempting to dash off in whatever direction seemed interesting at the time and got frustrated when anyone held his hand or picked him up. I did relax into this place by the end of the holidays after getting to know it and discovering the beautiful corners such as a Polkirt Hill look out and park.
Sketch of Mevagissey harbour

Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard

The bright colours of the fishing boats and their fenders/buoyes were gorgeous and I regret not sketch them. The geometrical arrangement of houses on the hills around the harbour was also interesting to sketch, specially since it was one of the painting subjects in David Howell‘s “Just Watercolour” DVD, which I watched not long before going to Cornwall.
sketch of Mevagissey houses

Staedtler pigment liner pen in hand*book journal (Portrait 3½” × 5½”)

I made a big mistake of bringing with me a new untouched Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook, new brushes and even my set of paints was sufficiently new to make me feel uncomfortable, clumsy and extremely self-conscious to use them outside in public. I ended up mostly doing small pen sketches in my hand*book journal and painting three postcards all from inside the apartment.
Sketch of Mevagissey lighthouse

Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard

If I draw all the time it is easy to pick up a brush or a pen and do another sketch, but after a break or when sketches are far between I found that the trepidation of spoiling a sketch returns. A sketch becomes The Sketch – it has to capture the place, the time, the feelings, the memories as there could be no other record. In Cornwall I caught myself procrastinating and thinking in circles of all the ways my sketches can go wrong. Despite wanting to sketch I had to force myself to pick up the pen. I regretted breaking the habit of daily sketching and now I am trying to re-establish it.
Sketch of tree with swing

Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour on Daler-Rowney watercolour postcard


10 thoughts on “Sketching in Cornwall

    1. Zoya Post author


      Thank you for commenting. I think what type of paint you use is up-to you and depends on what your like and what is available to you.

      At the moment I prefer pen sketching and watercolour painting because they are familiar to me, quick to dry, easy to take with me whenever I go out (my bag is usually already full with snacks, nappies, kids jumpers, etc) and wash off if the youngest child decides to experiment with them while I’m not looking.

      I would like to try painting with oils one day as I think certain subjects/paintings I want to make are more suitable for oils.

      Again thanks for commenting.

  1. anniekitching

    …the habit of daily sketching…. What a lovely, lovely idea. I’m teaching art now at Zhenya’s school, and the best part is when (if I can get them working) I can just sit and draw myself. It is SO HEALING and calming. A couple of years ago I got to teach art with the HS students and that was just wonderful, because I didn’t have to supervise them in the same way I do the kids in 4-8 grades. A habit of daily sketching… Intriguing idea. YOU should definitely do it! Your sketches are so wonderful! I love, especially the drawing in the book. It seems like you captured the topsy-turvy look of all those houses on the hill.

    1. Zoya Post author

      Annie, thank you for your kind comment.

      I didn’t know that you teach art as well. You are certainly one talented woman.

      Daily sketching doesn’t work for everyone, but it certainly works for me as I found out after I haven’t sketched much in the last month or so. I suspect it is similar to your blogging – it helps me to stay sane.

  2. Jodi

    Ah, now I know the provenance of that lovely watercolour postcard. Just gorgeous. Even more beautiful in real life. And it is already framed, you should know 🙂

    1. Zoya Post author

      Jodi, I’m glad you liked it. The second I saw that apple tree with a swing and a ladder I thought of you and your tree paintings.


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