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Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Cornwall. It is the kind of place that inspires big dreams, a place that crawls under the skin and draws a person back again and again. It's the kind of place that feels like home, despite the fact it has never been so. If you are lucky enough to live there, you will know. If you have been lucky enough to stay there, then I expect you feel it too.

It is a beautiful and diverse county, the furthest South West you can go in the UK. It has turquoise waters, and raging waves. Imposing huge granite cliffs peppered with yellow wild gorse. It has charming towns and villages, with cobbled streets and higgledy piggeldy houses. Moorland, and farmland, and beach after beach after beach. South is different from West, West is different from North. Each area has its own charm. It is a landscape artist's dream and inspiration is literally on every corner.

Here are three of the places that inspire me the most.

(Spoiler alert - they are all beaches!)



Drone photography courtesy of Steve Banks Photography

If you follow my social media you will already be aware that my number one source of inspiration is St Ives. The majority of my paintings stem from memories, photos and visits to this place. In particular from its largest beach, Porthmeor.

With its wide expanse of golden sand, rugged rocks and big, powerful waves it is quite simply gorgeous. It is flanked on its spine by The Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Artist Studios and a collection of homes and holiday rentals. The Island corners one side and the coastal path leads past Man's Head and Clodgy Point to the other.


My paintings rarely follow any kind of reference. I paint what I see in my head. More often than not my paintings are a memory of a place, the idea being that they are evocative of somewhere specific but full of artistic licence and freedom.

However, memories have to come from somewhere and my camera roll is bursting with images like this one, taken in December 2021 on Porthmeor, from which I can revisit the colours I saw, the wave patterns, the reflections, the glimmer of wet sand

Porthmeor reflections

St Ives harbour with The Island in the background



Gwithian sunset

Atmospheric Gwithian is great for spectacular sunsets, wild waves, rock pool investigating and has golden sand that goes on for miles. It feels rugged and unspoilt, backed by cliffs and coastal paths. Its the kind of place that makes one feel rather small and insignificant - in the absolute best kind of way. Walk around the headland and you might be lucky enough to spot a colony of seals.

Gwithian is owned and managed by the National Trust. Godrevy Lighthouse sits out on its little island, visible from all viewpoints. I don't paint buildings but I have often been tempted to paint this one!

Godrevy Lighthouse

As with Porthmeor, I have used the colours, wave patterns and sweeping sky vistas from Gwithian as inspiration for several paintings. I am planning to do a series this year reflecting the silvery muted tones and sunset glow.

I am obsessed with the vast expanse of sand before sea meets sky, and the wide open space that Gwithian possesses.





Holywell from the Dunes

Holywell Bay and its iconic Gull Rocks is probably one of the most recognisable Cornish beaches. Not only beautiful it is interesting, backed by sand dunes, enormous granite cliffs, caves (one with the "holy well' within it that beach is named after). There are clifftop walks, big waves and its great for beach combing.

There is definitely a theme for what makes it on to my favourites list here - expansive beaches with wide horizon lines and big skies. But also things of interest. Rocky outcrops, far reaching vistas and places to explore.

Holywell Bay Rocks

Holywell has all these things. Like Gwithian it is owned and managed by the National Trust and although busy in the summer months it retains that sense of being unspoilt.

Holywell Bay is definitely on my 'to paint' list. I have drawn a sketch of Gull Rocks in pastel but like with Gwithian, I feel there is a whole collection waiting to be created inspired by the gorgeous landscape here.

Gull Rocks

Holywell Bay



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