I love a crunchy sketchbook. There’s something about the feel of heavy paper and bits stuck on, and the creak when you turn a page that makes me happy and makes me want to scribble and get creative with glue.

Here’s a pretty terrible video that I did on my phone of my Cornish sketchbook from a recent sketching trip (I can handle a paint brush but can’t hold a camera still to save my life, so please excuse the wobbles!).

I love the sea at Sennen. Everyone always heads to St Ives, but in my opinion, Sennen is the place to head for colour and light. In the cove itself, the sea is astonishing turquoise and purple – to the west of the headland, down to Lands End, the sea is silver, like liquid mercury.

My sketches aim to capture essential information that will help me to develop paintings and works back in the studio. I’ve got quite good at ‘leaving stuff out’ over the years. Where I’d once labour over drawing every twig, I now look for form and movement and the essence of the thing that I’m drawing. It’s much more useful when remembering a place.

The sketches below are mostly in acrylic, water-soluble graphite and ink.

Cape Cornwall. Acrylic and graphite on paper

Cape Cornwall line and colour study

Sea mists and limpet study. Acrylic and graphite on paper

Sea mists and limpet study

The view from our window across Sennen Cove. I can hear the waves... Acrylic and graphite

The view from our window across Sennen Cove. I can hear the waves…

Windy day waves. Acrylic on paper

Windy day waves

Waves in ink. Ink and gouache on paper

Waves in ink

Plein air painting looking towards Lands End. It was very windy and I had to hang on to everything, but it was fun!

Plein air painting looking towards Lands End. It was very windy and I had to hang on to everything, but it was fun!

Waves towards Lands End – silver like mercury

Waves towards Lands End – silver like mercury

Sennen waves, the other side of the headland in different light – turquoise and purple

Sennen waves, the other side of the headland in different light – turquoise and purple

Ian's always heading towards the sea...

Ian’s always to be found heading towards the sea…

The Lookout sketched from the breakwater. Widy again, but it only served to speed up my work and make me concentrate on the essential

The Lookout sketched from the breakwater. Windy again, but it only served to speed up my work and make me concentrate on the essential

Enys Dodnan rock formations, Lands End

Enys Dodnan rock formations, Lands End

Breakers. On the beach looking towards Cape Cornwall

Breakers. On the beach looking towards Cape Cornwall

Surfboard and dune grasses on Sennen beach

Surfboard and dune grasses on Sennen beach

I was painting the light hitting the fields on the opposite side of the Cove, but as I did, the weather came in, so I painted that instead!

I was painting the light hitting the fields on the opposite side of the Cove, and as I did, the weather came in…

The Pasty Gull!

The Pasty Gull!

Limpet study

Limpet study