St.Ives from an artists perspective

St Ives is nine miles from where I live in Penzance and I can either travel on the front road which is the main road or the back road which is less travelled and takes one over the hills through little villages to get there. I love this route because there is always a picture to be painted around the next corner. St Ives is a stunning place for an Artist with its exceptional clean intense light, the reason for this I believe is because it is right on the peninsula of land and the Great Atlantic Ocean. Trouble is for an artist is how to paint it when it has been painted so many times by so many artists.? And it is a question I can’t really answer except to do it in your way from your eyes.

Parking is always a problem too. I like to get onto the Harbour wall where there is parking, but you must get there early especially in the summer months and it is expensive. There are many views around the wall in front and behind so no shortage of what to paint. The water with the boats is good. Painting the town with the boats is complicated and takes along time because there is so much there and for me there is a short window of time to get it all in. Maximum of three hours before the light changes. One and a half to two hours is my average for getting a painting done.

Another suitable place id Porthminster Beach and I have painted this en plein air many times but again the parking is a problem. I struggle a bit with my legs so now they have taken the disabled parking away I don’t go as much unless I am feeling super strong enough to do it. Also, there are loo`s there are plenty of them which is essential. I like to sit under the huge Fir tree that is just up a little on the green area. It overlooks the beach and is a great contrast between the cool of the shadows and the intense heat of beach life down below. I`ll sit there quite happily on the grass with a rug and paint away.

Another good spot is just beyond the posh restaurant at the end. There is a manicured seating area there that looks over the beach with St Ives harbour in the distance and there are seats. So perfect. Get there early as it is a favourite spot for all.

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View more fine artwork from Alan Furneaux


Alan is a lifelong artist with a passion for landscapes and outdoor painting. He is based in Penzance, Cornwall where he dedicates his life to his work and capturing the unique beauty of Cornwall.