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Seascape Paintings

Seascapes Art: Beach Paintings

Cornish Coast in Paintings

If you love the ocean and everything about it, then you will adore seascape art. This type of painting captures the beauty of the coast in a truly mesmerising way. Seascapes can depict any part of the ocean, from crashing waves to gentle tides. They often feature other elements in addition to water, such as sailing boats, lighthouses, sea birds, and dolphins. Whether you are a fan of realism or abstraction, there is sure to be a seascape painting that you love. Let's take a closer look at seascape art and some of its best-known Cornish artists who live and work in Cornwall.

Cornish artist John Dyer painting a seascape at Gwithian on the North Coast of Cornwall
Cornish artist John Dyer painting a seascape at Gwithian on the North Coast of Cornwall

Cornwall is home to one of Britain's most spectacular and beautiful coastlines. The seascapes here are truly awe-inspiring, making it an ideal location for seascape artists. These artists often depicted the sea in a very realistic way, capturing its moods and textures.

Read more about Seascape Art

What is seascape art?

The definition of seascape art can be a little vague, as it can encompass a wide range of paintings. However, in general, seascapes are landscapes that feature the ocean or sea as their main focal point. This could include scenes of beaches, cliffs, and rocky shores; sailing boats and ships; lighthouses; and other maritime elements.

The seascape paintings of some artists are much more literal than others. For example, the seascapes by artist Alfred Wallis have a naive or primitive style to them, while those of artist Peter Lanyon are very abstract with an almost sculptural quality.

Oil painting by Alfred Wallis, Five Ships Mounts Bay, c1928
Oil painting by Alfred Wallis, Five Ships Mounts Bay, c1928
Painting by Peter Lanyon, Wreck, 1963
Painting by Peter Lanyon, Wreck, 1963

Other seascape painters take a more realistic approach to their work. This is particularly true of the artists who have worked in and around Cornwall, such as Lamorna Birch and Stanhope Forbes. They often used seascapes as a way to capture the moods of the sea, such as rough waves in stormy weather.

Ted Dyer

Seascape paintings can be very serene and calming. This can be due to the artist's use of soft colours, reflecting those seen on clear days which capture the unique atmosphere and light of the Cornish coastline. Contemporary artist Ted Dyer is a good example of an artist who creates serene seascapes.

Ted Dyer is a Cornish artist who is best known for his seascape paintings. He has been painting since he was a teenager and has developed a unique style that captures the beauty of the coast in his paintings. Many of his works depict tranquil scenes with gently rolling waves lapping against secluded coves or sandy beaches. His paintings are highly sought after by collectors and art lovers from all over the world.

Oil painting by Ted Dyer, Sea Pinks and Painter, Falmouth

Oil painting by Ted Dyer, Sea Pinks and Painter, Falmouth

Ted Dyer's paintings reflect his love of nature and his passion for the natural environment. His oil paintings are a fine example of how a landscape artist can capture the beauty of Cornwall’s clifftops and beaches at their best.

The Newlyn School of Painting

Some seascape paintings, such as those by Lamorna Birch and Stanhope Forbes, are associated with the art movement known as 'The Newlyn School'. This was a group of British artists who worked in and around the town of Newlyn in Cornwall during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They often painted seascapes in a realistic style, featuring fishing boats at sea and harbour scenes, and often feature local cornish fishermen going about their daily business and the general community in the small Cornish fishing villages.

Stanhope Forbes painting, Fish sale on a Cornish Beach
Stanhope Forbes painting, Fish sale on a Cornish Beach

The seascape paintings of Norman Garstin were inspired by the Cornish coastline. His seascapes are notable for their use of soft colours which give them an ethereal quality. One of his most famous paintings is 'The Rain it Raineth Every Day' which features people walking along Penzance promenade, sheltering from the rain under umbrellas.

Painting by artist Norman Garstin, The Rain it Raineth Every Day, 1889

Painting by Norman Garstin, The Rain it Raineth Every Day, 1889

Norman Garstin was born in 1876 in Bristol, but later moved to Cornwall and became associated with The Newlyn School of Painting. He exhibited his work at various galleries around the world, including the Royal Academy in London.

Where can I find examples of Newlyn School paintings?

The seascapes of the Newlyn School are some of the most well-known seascape paintings in British art history. You can often find examples of these seascapes at Tate St Ives, Penlee House Gallery & Museum and The Falmouth Art Gallery.

Where do artists go to paint in Cornwall?

There are many places in Cornwall where artists go to paint. Some popular locations include Newlyn, St Ives, Penzance and Falmouth. There is no shortage of inspiration for seascape painters in Cornwall.

Cornwall has long been a popular location for painters due to its rugged coastline, secluded coves, and sandy beaches. The light in Cornwall is unique, creating incredible colours that are reflected in the sea at various times of the day. Many artists find St Ives one of the most beautiful places to paint due to the special quality of the light which reflects from the sandy beach in the harbour.

Painting by Ted Dyer, Soft Light and Summer Flowers, St. Ives

Painting by Ted Dyer, Soft Light and Summer Flowers, St. Ives

John Dyer

One artist who captures Cornwall at its best in his artwork is John Dyer. He is an award-winning seascape artist who has been painting seascapes for over 20 years. His seascapes capture the beauty of Cornwall’s coast at its best and are highly sought after by collectors from all over the world.

Painting by John Dyer, Shooting Stars over Botallack
Painting by John Dyer, Shooting Stars over Botallack

John Dyer's seascape paintings have a unique style that reflects his love of the sea and his passion for nature. His brightly coloured acrylic paintings feature happy scenes of people enjoying their holidays in Cornwall surrounded by boats, dogs, his famous divebombing seagulls, and even the occasional mermaid. If you are looking for a beautiful piece of art to hang on your wall, then you should consider one of John Dyer's seascapes paintings.

Joanne Short

Another artist of a similar genre, who depicts Cornwall at its best in a bright clean palette and with a positive outlook, is Joanne Short. Her oil paintings often depict flowers that grow and bloom on the cliffs, set against the backdrop of bright beaches and blue seas, purple rocks and green clifftops. These paintings offer buyers and collectors the opportunity to purchase and take a piece of Cornwall home with them to hang on their walls. What better way to remember a happy holiday?

Painting by Joanne Short, Wild Flowers on the Cliff, Godrevy

Painting by Joanne Short, Wild Flowers on the Cliff, Godrevy

St. Ives School of Painting

The seascapes of the St. Ives School of Painting are also worth a look. This school was founded in 1967 by six painters who had been working and teaching in the town of St. Ives, Cornwall. The school is still active today and has produced some notable artists. These include Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson.

Terry Frost, Swing Purple
Terry Frost, Swing Purple

Some of the seascapes by artists associated with the St. Ives School of Painting are quite abstract and feature swirls of colour that reflect the motion of the sea. You can find examples of their work at The Tate Gallery in St Ives.

Two contemporary artists who were also inspired by St. Ives and its history are Fred Yates and Bryan Pearce. Their styles have been an inspiration to many other cornish artists and landscape painters

Fred Yates

Fred Yates was a well-known British seascape artist who painted for nearly 60 years.

Fred Yates seascapes are instantly recognisable due to their bold colours and a strong sense of movement. His seascapes feature figures enjoying the beach and sea air, children playing on the sand, and traditional Cornish fishing boats.

Painting by Fred Yates (1922-2008), Harbour Scene

Painting by Fred Yates (1922-2008), Harbour Scene

Bryan Pearce

Bryan Pearce is a contemporary seascape artist who spent most of his working life painting in and around St Ives. His work is very simple, with a drawn quality to it; he used flat blocks of colour in a limited palette. His work is well sort after by collectors.

Painting by Bryan Pearce (1929-2007),St. Ives from Barnoon Terrace

Painting by Bryan Pearce (1929-2007), St. Ives from Barnoon Terrace

Discover and Buy Contemporary Seascape Art

Cornish seascape paintings are some of the most beautiful in the world. The John Dyer Gallery represents artists John Dyer, Joanne Short and Ted Dyer. If you are looking for a seascape painting, limited edition print, or poster to add to your collection, be sure to view and explore the work of these talented artists on our website where you can browse a varied choice of their work for sale.