I always find that local beaches a great source of inspiration and the beach at St. Osyth’s is no exception.

I went shell collecting along the beach on two separate days, looking for ones that were similar in shape and colour and ones that were dissimilar in shape and colour. I had a design in my mind that I wanted to use.

I decided to work this in pastels on Sennelier card, using soft Sennelier pastels. I made a graphite drawing first, I required a strong shadow which I was pleased to achieve in the bright sunshine of the Easter weekend. I started painting in the top row of shells first, left to right. This was for practical reasons, as I did not want to smudge any of the pastel. I painted in the shadow first using the darkest brown in my pastel box. I then used a white and lilac, blended them with my finger and carried on adding stronger violets until the colour matched the shell. I then used a white quality watercolour pencil to draw a contour line around the shell. I then painted in the shingle on the beach. I used pointillism pastel strokes and used a yellow ochre, an orange and a violet, less violet than the other two colours. I blended that in lightly with my index finger. I then took a bright yellow pastel and added more pointillist dots, and did not blend those in.

I used the above formula (but of course different colours or different coloured shells) for each shell. I also used some impress drawing to mark in some of the lines on the shells with watercolour pencils.

A lovely way to spend time by the sea.