Creating 'Cottesloe Beach, WA'

When I was initially approached to work on a commissioned artwork of Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia, I was instantly excited and humbled by the prospect. 

With the excitement of every new project comes a sense of nervousness.

Can I do this? Will they like it? 

I have learned to let these thoughts go, take a few calming deep breaths each and every time I sit at my canvas and let the work unfold. What's the worst that can happen? If I don't like the way it's developing, I can start over. If the client is unhappy for any reason, we can start over. There really is no useful purpose to get in my own way... so I don't! 

To begin, I was tasked with searching for images of Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia I could see myself creating. This was a very interesting way to approach it, as it gave me the opportunity to create a mental picture of the final artwork, and allowed me to collate only images I was confident of recreating.

The client quickly chose her favourite from the selection I supplied which was one of my favourites too, and so the project was underway.

With all my artworks, I like to allow my intuition to guide me as much as what I can see. I try to let go of any limitations and boundaries that I place on myself when looking at a photo and allow the natural process take over as much as possible. 

After laying down a textured burnt umber and gesso base, I marked out a basic guide for my block colours - the sky, water and land.

My natural style is a cross-hatch brush stroke. Using a large coarse brush I started laying down my initial base colours including any lighter and shaded areas. This process continued for many layers with ample drying time between coats. 

My layers were a mixture of dry brush strokes allowing the base colours to peek through the textures, and light washes which helped soften some areas.

I explored different colours with each coat, some more vibrant, some darker, in the aim of creating deeper more interesting textured tones throughout the piece. 

When I was happy with my textures, colours and movement in the sky and water, I started to add the detail for the land. Blocking out the trees with a solid base colour, and continually building up layers adding detail as each layer developed.

The final touches were adding the highlights and white wash on the beach.

In all this artwork was created over a 2 week period. Each layer was an opportunity to step away and assess how the artwork was developing, and where I felt my attention needed to be directed.

I am incredibly happy with the end result, and so is the client!

What are your thoughts? Do you have a special place somewhere in the world you would like interpreted? Please reach out and let's have a chat.


Mont Marte
Single Stretched Canvas 1016mm(w) x 762mm(h)
Acrylic paints

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