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10 Paintings of St Ives That Capture the Beauty of This Coastal Town

  • 8 min read

10 Paintings of St Ives That Capture the Beauty of This Coastal Town

Above: Detail of 'Iris Blue, St Ives' by John Dyer.

If you've never been to St Ives, then these paintings will give you a good idea of what to expect. This charming coastal town in West Cornwall is known for its breathtaking views, and these beach paintings capture that beauty perfectly. Whether you're a fan of the ocean or just love spending time in quaint cornish seaside towns and villages, these paintings are sure to captivate you.

Painting by artist Joanne Short - view across the rooftops to the harbour with purple daisies and pink gazanias in the foreground
Signed Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist Joanne Short. 'Boats in the Bay, St Ives'. Cornwall Art Gallery Print

Why is St Ives popular with artists?

St Ives has been a popular destination for artists since the 19th century when it first became known as an artist colony. The town's mild climate, beautiful scenery, and relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to get away from it all and focus on your painting. Many famous artists have called St Ives home at some point in their careers, including Peter Lanyon, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson.

Artists love to paint St. Ives because it is a beautiful place with a special quality of light. The town is surrounded by the ocean, which creates an amazing quality of light that reflects off the beaches. There is always plenty to paint in St. Ives, with its colourful boats and cornish stone cottages. It is an inspiring place to visit and the seagulls add an element of fun!

Photograph of artist John Dyer sitting on his Landrover painting St Ives
Artist John Dyer sitting on his Landrover painting St Ives harbour

History of St Ives

St Ives is a seaside town, on the north coast of Cornwall, England. The town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was mainly dependent on fishing. 

St Ives originally became known for its fishing industry. The town's fishermen were able to catch a variety of fish, including pilchards, herring, cod and mackerel. This made St Ives an important supplier of seafood to the rest of the county and later, the country.

The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial emphasis, and the town is now primarily a holiday resort, serving as a gateway to the beaches of the Penwith peninsula and Cornwall's South West Coast Path.

There are a number of stunning beaches in and around St Ives, including Porthmeor Beach, Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay Beach, and Hayle Towans. Each one has its own unique charm, so if you get the chance, be sure to check them all out!

After a trip to St Ives, what better way to remember your trip than to purchase a print or painting to hang on your wall at home to bring back all your happy, holiday memories.

Paintings of St Ives by our gallery artists

Here are some of our favourite paintings by our gallery artists -

John Dyer

View across the Harbour, St Ives

John Dyer acrylic painting on canvas of the view across the harbour, St Ives. This painting is available for sale at The John Dyer Gallery.
View across the Harbour, St Ives. 
24 x 24 inches, acrylic on canvas.  Original Art Painting by Cornish Artist John Dyer

We love the turquoise sea and Cornish blue sky in this fabulous John Dyer original acrylic painting on canvas. The painting features colorful boats in the harbour and the iconic harbourside cottages around St Ives harbour. The artist has included beautiful moon daisies, tropical plants, and palm trees to set the scene and seagulls soar across the sky. This is a painting that really captures the light and life of St Ives.

Boats and Ropes St Ives

A painting of St Ives harbour depicting colourful boats and fisherman. Available for sale at the John Dyer Gallery
Signed Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. 'Boats and Ropes St Ives'. Cornwall Art Gallery Print

This John Dyer painting shows fishing boats resting in St Ives' harbour. John has used colour to draw our attention around the picture, as Cornish fishermen sit on their vessels in yellow oilskins. Flags from Cornwall are included, along with seagulls flying from above. This is a wonderful, vibrant and colourful depiction of this busy little harbour.

Iris Blue, St Ives

A painting by artist John Dyer with blue flowers in the foreground and St Ives harbour behind.
'Iris Blue, St Ives'. Signed Limited Edition Print and open edition print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. 

Cornwall and St Ives are captured at their very best by John Dyer in this extraordinary painting. The vast blue sky and sea with a curved horizon provide this beautiful acrylic painting of St Ives with a great sense of space. Small boats dot the sea, which is brightened by a rainbow of colors and activities. A family of four (the artist and his family) watches as the fantastic light reflects off the water's surface. Our perspective is framed by magnificent blue iris blooms.

Snowy St Ives

View across the rooftops of St Ives towards the harbour, on a winter snowy day, painted by artist John Dyer
Signed Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. 'Snowy St Ives'. Cornwall Art Gallery Print

In Cornwall, snow is always a special occasion, as it is such an unusual sight. In this beautiful painting John Dyer has magically transformed the roofs and beaches of St Ives with a cold touch of winter. The town of St Ives can be seen in the background, with the church visible above it. Godrevy Lighthouse can be seen in the distance. Palms trees catch falling snowflakes, and people wear hats and scarves while playing outside as well as a seal that appears in the harbour!

This is a magnificent example of John Dyer's work and is available as a signed limited edition print and is a must-have for collectors.

Joanne Short

Glorious View, St Ives

View of St Ives harbour through an open window by artist Joanne Short. Colourful vases of flowers sit on the window sill
Signed Limited Edition Cornwall Art Print by Cornish Artist Joanne Short. 'Glorious View, St Ives'. Cornwall Art Gallery Print

This is an unusual view of St Ives, through an open window. For this beautiful oil painting Joanne Short was inspired by a lovely lunch she had one day in a pretty little café overlooking St Ives' harbour. The hues are brought to life by the distinctive pure light that bathes St Ives. Tulips, agapanthus, geraniums, and palms rest on the windowsill in Cornish-colored ceramics. This is a fantastic example of a colourist painting of St ives.

Harvest Moon, St Ives

A painting by artist Joanne Short of St Ives under a full harvest moon
Original Painting by Joanne Short. Harvest Moon, St Ives, 12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

This Joanne Short oil painting, which depicts the harvest moon over St Ives, is breathtaking. The deep blue sky provides a mystical ambience and Joanne's dynamic line and use of colour draws us into the picture. Stunning Agapanthus blooms and architecture provide a stunning background, while the limited color palette adds to the realism of the scene. This is an excellent example of this artist's acclaimed work.

Cornish Summer, St Ives

A colourful painting of St Ives by artist Joanne Short. The view is across the rooftops with pretty flowers in the foreground
Original Painting by Joanne Short. Cornish Summer, St Ives. 
18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

This beautiful oil painting by artist Joanne Short was inspired by the view across the roofs of St Ives, featuring summer flowers and the stunning colours and forms of the sea filling the harbour, with old fishermens' cottages clustering around the beach and a Cornish flag proudly flying in the Cornish breeze.

Blue Iris, St Ives

Oil on canvas by artist Joanne Short of St Ives with blue Iris in the foreground

Joanne Short Painting. Blue Iris, St Ives, 36 x 12 inches oil on canvas.

A stunning original oil painting by Joanne Short of St Ives in Cornwall. The blue iris and elegant palm trees draw our attention to the cottages and rooftops before we move on to the extensive sweep of the harbour, which has been painted in strong blues. The town of St Ives wraps around the sea to embrace it. On the peaceful azure ocean, many fishing boats gather. This is a brilliant colorist post-modern work of art.

Ted Dyer

Table for two, Porthminster

Oil painting by artist Ted Dyer of a table set for lunch in a beachside café at Porthminster Beach, St Ives
Original painting by artist Ted Dyer, Table for Two, Porthminster, 12 x 18 inches Oil on board. Available as an open edition fine art print.

In this unusual, but stunning painting, by Ted Dyer the artist captures the lovely turquoise sea that St Ives is famous for. Families play on the beach and boats bob on the water. In the far distance is the iconic Godrevy lighthouse. In the foreground the table is set ready for a sumptuous cornish luncheon. It is a truly romantic image and part still life and part seascape.

Afternoon on the beach, St Ives

Painting by Ted Dyer of Porthminster Beach with a view of St Ives behind
Original painting by artist Ted Dyer, Afternoon on the Beach, St Ives. 16 x 12 inches oil on canvas. Available as an open edition fine art print.

This is a very beautiful painting of St Ives. Ted Dyer captures the late afternoon light and shadows on the beach perfectly. The tropical plants, colourful sunshades and balustrade transport us straight to holidays in the Mediterranean. The turquoise sea is a magical colour and the town nestles on the hill behind the harbour. This painting definitely invites us to visit St Ives.

Why do we love to paint St Ives?

Talking about St Ives, our artists say:

"Artists love to paint St. Ives, and we are no exception! Over the years St Ives has always been one of our favourite places to paint. There is a special quality in the light as it reflects from the sand. There is always plenty to see, with the colourful boats bobbing in the harbour and the cornish stone cottages with their pretty windows. It has always been an inspiring place to visit and eating an ice-cream sitting on the harbour wall is always worth the risk of the dive bombing seagulls! I always feel like I am on holiday when I'm in St Ives!"

Joanne Short


"St Ives is a paint box of colour and fun! It is such a special place and is surrounded by the iridescent ocean which brings such an amazing quality of light as it reflects off the beaches. I love all the colour and narrative of the harbour and all the windbreaks and people. The seagulls are a real treat, or should I say love a treat! The constant battle of the seagulls and people is such fun to watch and paint, oops there goes another pasty!"

John Dyer


"It is as always the light that inspires, and St Ives has its own special quality, whether reflected from the sea, or the quartz glistening beaches. There is a purity of colour and a halo that encompasses the whole of the peninsula but always seems to be focused on this small seaside town. Even the freshly caught mackerel have an intensity and freshness of colour that comes from the ever changing Atlantic. To call it a very special place does not do it justice, for as soon as the rocky moorland ends, the jewell-like glimpses of St Ives appear through the warm coloured roof tiles revealing primary coloured fishing boats and sparkling sea which entices the traveler to change course. St Ives is a gem that has no equal."

Ted Dyer


In this blog we have shared ten of our favourite paintings that capture the beauty of St Ives. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, we hope you enjoy these images and are inspired to visit this coastal town for yourself.

If you’re looking for more information about St Ives and the surrounding area, be sure to check out our other blog posts about things to do and see in this amazing part of England.

Many of the featured paintings are sold as they are all original works of art, but you can find more paintings by our gallery artists of Cornwall, including St Ives, on our online gallery and most of the images shown are available as either limited edition prints or art posters.

If you fancy the personal touch please feel free to contact the gallery where we will be happy to discuss buying paintings, prints and commissions with our artists.

Discover all our available St Ives inspired artwork


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