Paddling was my submission piece that helped me get selected for Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017. It’s a very special piece for me, as it was one of the first works where I really started to play with perspectives and to consider the subject from various viewpoints.
The harbour is Polperro in Cornwall. It’s a fantastic location for an artist like me, so much material, and I’d spent a wonderful day sketching and painting here. I actually made 4 pictures from this single days visit. It was a hot August day, probably the hottest of the year. In the early evening I’d found a location on some steps down to the harbour, and the tide was up. The day trippers were starting to leave and the place was getting calmer, with a lovely evening light. As I sat sketching the harbour, two children rushed down the steps, ripped their shoes off and paddled straight into the harbour, up to (and beyond) their shorts. They were happy and laughing, and I imagined a long car journey on a hot day, finally reaching their destination, racing to be the first to feel the sea on their hot feet. Memories of my own childhood holidays, and racing to the sea flooded back, and I knew this would make a great picture.