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Coastal subjects

The coastline can pose a number of challenges for the painter, says Paul Talbot-Greaves, who demonstrates how to paint a coastal scene in just three main parts, using acrylics

Aview out to sea with a straight line dividing either two-thirds land to one-third sky or vice versa seldom yields strong design and interest. Many vantage points are from cliff-top paths looking downwards or out to sea, which again can look awkward and lack contrast. In order to seek out the more interesting subjects I generally prefer to place myself on the beach or amongst the rocks. Rugged coastlines are full of varied shapes and textures, and cliffs can make great backdrops, lending support or dark value contrast to a focus.

Features I look for include rock pools, as they often shine light against dark when they reflect the sky, and can make interesting focal points. Figures, boats and buildings are the obvious alternatives to straightforward landscapes or simple compositions. Figures and boats especially can really add life and interest to a coastal painting or even become the main subject. These could be painted or photographed in situ or added in to a composition at a later stage.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our summer issue in which our team of top professional artists and tutors offer a sparkling range of inspirational features to help you create your best work over the summer months. Capture the sparkle of silver light on water with Chris Rose, enliven your watercolours with moving figures with Jake Winkle, use contre-jour for dramatic effect with Jo Quigley, paint spring and summer trees in watercolour with Ian Sidaway, or a coastal scene in acrylics with Paul Talbot-Greaves. Julie Collins goes back to basics with a look at colour theory and pigments, Ann Witheridge suggests using an extended palette for portraits, Amanda Hyatt offers a variety of tricks to help you produce better watercolours and there is a host of exercises to try throughout the issue. All this and much more, plus don't forget to enter this month's summer sketching challenge set by Adebanji Alade on page 46, for a chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on art materials with GreatArt!