Sketchbook Notes: Hope Cove

The village of Hope Cove and its beaches are protected by a line of dramatic rocks and sea walls, and the local fishing boats are moored to a series of chains which lead the eye to the sea. The cove is always busy with holidaymakers and fishermen.

Hope Cove is a perfect subject for an artist?

Yes, but fishermen and sailors are quick to notice detail. If I get something wrong, then, in their opinion, my painting loses credibility. So, before I start any new painting, I gather lots of photographic images to help me to meet with their expectations.

Initially, I am thinking about what perspective I’ll use, and how much of the scene to include in my composition.


Then I might focus in on the rigging and equipment aboard a particular craft or a detail on the beach.

HopeCovePhoto4    HopeCovePhoto3

Crab pots: old and new

The contemporary crab pot is constructed with man-made materials as a crate with a hatch. They are stacked while on the fishing boats, until launched overboard in strings of pots. So, they have to be strong and durable.
The traditional style of crab pot is constructed from beautiful withy (pliable branches or twigs from willow). Although they are far more attractive to the eye, they are not as strong as the contemporary pots.

Looking at my notes for the Hope Cove painting, I see I have more than ten pages of supporting information. I recall how, in designing my composition, I decided I wanted to show both types of crab pot – old and new.


SueMorgan + CrabPotCrab pot maker: Sue Morgan

Thanks to Sue Morgan, my neighbouring stallholder at last year’s Hope Cove Lifeboat Fundraising Day, I became aware of the skill required to make a crab pot from willow. I decided to capture her skills in my painting as a tribute to Hope Cove’s history.

This photograph of Sue appeared in an article written by Lucy Flatman and published in Devon Life in April 2015.  Lucy also posted a blog item about this article. I am grateful to Lucy for giving permission for her photo of Sue, with her crab pot, to be reproduced here.


At last: a card for Hope Cove!

Also, as further motivation for producing this painting, I have to thank everyone who came to the Fundraising Day to buy my cards and asked ‘Do you have any of Hope Cove?’. Until now, I’ve had to say ‘no’. In 2016, the answer is: ‘Yes!’

Over the past few years, my wife, Anne, and I have supported the Hope Cove Lifeboat Fundraising day. We very much look forward to supporting this event again this year.


When is the Hope Cove Fundraising Day?

Thursday 4 August


Where is the Hope Cove Fundraising Day?

The Cottage Hotel



This is one of the Sketchbook Notes, a series of posts explaining what inspired me to produce a particular painting.

If you own one of my paintings, or are just curious about an image, let me know; I’ll then write a blog post especially for you!