Reflecting on a Long Hot Summer
It’s been a really busy, long hot summer again this year. It’s really lovely that so many people return year on year to buy another ‘Toby Ray original’ from my pop up art gallery (The Art Shack) at Treyarnon Bay.
This year I also had a few pop up evenings at MacDonalds Farm, Porthcothan which proved very popular and it was nice to meet lots of new faces interested in my paintings and prints of local beaches and surf breaks.
As an artist who mainly paints ‘en plein air’ (outside), when the whirl of another busy season ends and the quieter Autumn months arrive, my thoughts turn to updating my website and doing all the jobs I don’t get to do during the height of the season. Whilst the odd crispy clear Autumnal day is always a good opportunity for getting out there on the cliff tops and painting a sunset or dramatic seascape, the darker evenings mean that after hours I retreat back to my home studio in St Eval and work from the many photographs I take throughout the year.
I have found that many of the clients who commission me to paint them a particular beach or coastal scene often have a real connection to the beach in question. Whether they have visited on family holidays for generations, or live nearby and have watched their children grow up rock pooling and splashing about in the surf, more and more clients ask me to paint them a beloved scene which for them, holds treasured memories. Commissioning a bespoke piece of artwork really does allow you to become fully engaged with the creation process, working with me directly to design and develop your dream piece of art. Immortalising a favourite scene in oils and acrylics is a beautiful way of creating a keepsake to cherish for years to come.
Some of my favourite commissions this year have been paintings of the exact spot on the cliff where a client proposed to his wife as an anniversary gift, and another was of some silhouetted figures in the sunset to remember a beloved family member who has since passed.
Art Lessons in Cornwall
I also held my first art lesson this year which proved to be something I really loved doing. I might look at doing more throughout the summer as Emma who I tutored Emma produced an awesome painting looking across to Stepper Point and Trevose Head, and she said she loved the experience.
Another job which I look forward to each Autumn is preparing my annual calendar for printing. Choosing twelve favourite paintings from the year is always tricky to narrow down! My calendar is extremely popular and there’s always a rush to buy them as I only print a certain number. Whether gifted as a unique Christmas present or just to reflect on another blissful year here on the stunning North Cornwall coast, my calendars never hang around long so keep an eye on my social media pages and website as they will soon be ready to buy!
The change of pace when Autumn arrives is always a good time to reflect on how lucky I am to live and work here doing a job that I love. Every painting is a new adventure which comes from my real life experiences around the coast; be that rock pooling with my children or surfing the many local breaks. Observing the surf from the clifftop as I paint in the Cornish sunshine is a dream come true. As the light dances upon the moving water it creates a kind of magic which never fails to captivate me, and the golden light of Autumn is no different.