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!

Stewarding today!

oday, Tuesday 28 June, I’ll be stewarding at the Loft Gallery from 11am until 2pm.

If you expect to be in Salcombe then, please drop by and say hello!

I’d be delighted to talk you through the 5 paintings of mine on display in the main exhibition. The two in the featured image above are South Pool Sunrise and Splosh of Frogmore.



The Loft Gallery is situated behind the Fortescue Inn, and above a popular shoe shop, on a delightful footpath called Victoria Quay, which overlooks one of the best views in the UK including the mooring berth of the RNLI lifeboat Baltic Exchange III.



The Loft Gallery is the home of Salcombe Art Club and, every year since 1960, the Summer Exhibition opens at Easter and continues until the end of September.

An incredible number of visitors climb the 15 steps to view the exhibition, and more than 200 paintings are expected to be sold during the summer months. A percentage of the proceeds of each sale goes to the Art Club funds and, after expenses have been met, the club donates amounts to local charities. So, buying a painting benefits the artist, the club and the town – and provides a beautiful reminder of a visit to Salcombe. Prices range from £1 for a postcard up to £1000 – and the club now has the facility to accept payments by card, rather than ‘cash only’ as had been the practice for many years.

In the winter months, the Loft Gallery reverts to being a working studio with a full programme of workshops and classes for its members.



Salcombe Art Club comprises a mix of artists: some professional artists such as those who teach our classes but also many amateurs and some very new to drawing/painting. Everyone is welcome!

Membership of Salcombe Art Cub is not limited to those living in Salcombe. Anyone within striking distance is welcome to apply for membership, but it makes most sense for those who live near enough so as to benefit from the classes in the winter, and – if they intend to become exhibiting members – to fulfil their stewarding obligations during the summer.

Step 1 is to enrol as a Lay Member – that’s the first rung of the ladder! Then Salcombe Art club has three categories of membership.

  • Lay members (for a subscription of £12 per annum) may take part in workshops, courses and social activities and generally assist in supporting the club but may not exhibit, nor vote at the AGM.
  • Associate members (for a subscription of £17 per annum) may take part in most club activities including exhibiting in the Little Studio section (but not the main gallery) of the Annual Summer Exhibition.
  • Full members (for a subscription of £27 per annum) may take part in all club activities and exhibit their works in the Annual Summer Exhibition when they are required to carry out their share of stewarding duties.



Essentially, exhibiting is limited to the associate and full members of Salcombe Art Club. Full members are invited to display up to five of their works in the Summer Exhibition. This is me with some of mine:

Full – and associate – members may also book a week or more in the Little Studio. In the Little Studio also, our teachers exhibit material of works produced by the various class groups; this inspires other club members to enrol for classes during the winter months.



The selection panel meet annually (usually in February) to select from Lay members who wish to become Associate of Full members. The usual progression is to become an Associate member for a year and then on to Full membership the following year. Sometimes, the panel may decide to admit a member straight to Full membership.

For more information about Salcombe Art Club, visit their website.



Both images are available as a fine art greetings card, at Bonningtons (the newsagents) and Salcombe Information Centre (both a short walk from the Loft Studio).

Thank you!

I painted this image more than five years ago. With all the changes along that side of the estuary, I really ought to start on another.

The original of Salcombe Yacht Club sold very quickly and it’s been popular as a fine art greetings card ever since.

Cards are usually supplied individually, with an envelope, sealed within a cellophane wrap. There is an option to buy in bulk though – unfolded cards with envelopes separately – and I was delighted to fulfill such an order recently.

Many weddings are staged at Cliff House. While the Salcombe Yacht Club occupies the left-hand half of the building, the right-hand side provides space for community activities, wedding fairs, art exhibitions, private parties and – hooray! – weddings.

One recently married couple chose the Salcombe Yacht Club card as a reminder of the majestic building where these newlyweds tied the knot and will be sending this image as a thank-you card to each of their guests.

If you plan to marry at Cliff House, maybe you’d like to bulk-buy this card? We offer favourable rates for all orders of 50 or more cards. For those who don’t normally live in Salcombe, it’s best to book in advance and arrange local collection/delivery to save on postage costs.