Sennen Cove, Wave Studies, drawings in coloured pencil in a moleskine sketchbook

Windy Day, Sennen Cove, coloured pencil in moleskine sketchbook, Vivien Blackburn

This was a study in (to borrow Tina's phrase) wave mechanics.

Waves roll in and break at certain points due to rocks/depth of water etc so it's possible to watch subsequent waves in repeat patterns and begin to analyse -

  • the movement, how they break - in a steady line across the bay? or breaking in several places with the lines of surf meeting up with a splash of spray?

  • The spacing of the waves and perspective (waves further out smaller? this will depend on the steepness of the beach and the weather)

  • direction of travel - this can be surprising as they can angle unexpectedly across the beach, crossing waves from another direction

  • how rocks or sand affect the movement and spray

  • the way that foam is formed and the patterns it makes

  • the colours of the underside of the waves

  • light and shadow of waves

  • the darkness of water over rocks or deep water

  • the translucency of water over pale sand

  • changes in waves with the tide as it ebbs and flows

  • how the horizon looks - are parts of it unclear with colours merging with the sky? or is it sharply delineated?

  • Are the colours of the sky reflected in the waves (at sunset/dawn for instance where the tips of the waves can be orange)

  • Surf along far cliffs and the wave movement creating it

  • The shallow wavelets at the edge and the colours of the wet sand - catching the feel of VERY shallow translucent water

Unless you sketch and observe this, working from a photo will give you less than 1% of the information you really need to understand what is happening, such as the sheer power of waves or the subtle or dramatic colour changes that a camera doesn't see as well as the human eye.

(This sketch was done when the colours were pearly and pale so you will need to enlarge it to see it a little better).

previous posts on waves

Have you done any wave studies?


Vivienne said…
Vivien I saw your Sennen Cove title pop up on "a sketch in time", and have so enjoyed revisiting this magic place through your lovely work. We spent a Christmas there about 3 years ago, staying at Black Rock, and visiting my husband's (Rodda)family at Pendeen.The wild winter weather was a glorious experience. We watched the lifeboat go out on a rescue one day.Felt as if I was in an Enid Blyton book (sorry if that is mundane.) But, thank you!
PS Our waves here rise and reflect the bush colours on the dunes opposite. Would love to catch it.
vivien said…
Hi Vivienne - thanks - oh the winters in Cornwall are wonderful and wild :>) aren't they.

How fantastic to have family living there

And Enid Blyton - I loved her books as a child!!! the whole idea of being on islands with no adults and smugglers/spies whatever!

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