High tide at Knott End

High tide at Knott End

I was in Knott End for a meeting of the Over Wyre Art Society and I was driving down the promenade to get a bite to eat before it started. I was suprised to see the tide so high that it was washing up against the sea wall. It is usually so far out that the upper part of the sand bank are uncovered. 

This was the view from the end of the village square with its shops and houses. The road turns left at the end and becomes the main promenade.

Weaver’s Cottage Kirkham

Weaver’s Cottage, Kirkham

On the surface this building looks quite modern but when you look more closely you can see the hints that it is older but has been refurbished on more than one occasion. The clues to it originally having been a weavers cottage are the low boarded up openings near the ground that would originally have shed light into the basement room where the looms would have stood. The height of the basement room is the reason that the entrance door is above ground level and accessed by steps. 

The other houses in the row have some of these features but have been modernised and I wanted to emphasise the character of this particular house.


Rascal asleep by the gas fire

This is the first piece of art that I have drawn digitally on my iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil and Adobe sketch.

Rascal is about seven years old, of mixed origins, and came from the cat rescue centre near Midegeland Rd. when she was a kitten. She is in seventh heaven being able to crash out in front of the newly installed gas fire.


Lanzarote has been developed for tourism in a way that favours the environment. Most of the buildings are white with green shutters and generally no more than two storeys high. This is largely due to the work of Cesar Manriques who campaigned in the 1980s and the early 1990s to ensure that his island did not fall into the hands of developers who had more of an eye for money than style and conservation.

Ruined structures

These pieces of derelict stonework are all that remains of the windmills in Playa Blanca that were used to pump the saltwater into pans for evaporation to leave the salt that was a major export from the island. Nowadays they have been replaced with modern desalination plants that turn sea water into fresh water. The island’s wells largely ran dry several years ago and treated sea water is now needed to keep up with the demands from the tourist industry. Typical Lanzorotean houses can be seen in the background.

The brown of the sandstone and the grey black of the lava are the main colours in the landscape and are reflected in the closer view of the stonework.

Stonework Playa Blanca

I sketched this boat whilst drinking tea in the Rubicon Marina in Playa Blanca. I was quite suprised when I looked closely at how high the masts were relative to the size of the boat.

Sailing boat in the Rubicon Marina, Playa Blanca

I included this last picture which is of the scrap paper that I used for testing the colours that I used for the washes. I was about to throw it away when I realised that it reflected the things that I had seen during my week away. That seemed like a good enough reason for me to keep it.

Colours of Lanzarote

Preston Docks Light Railway, Engine Sheds

Engine Sheds

I like the buildings around Preston Docs, some are quirky, most are interesting, and some are unexpected. I was driving down to the banks of the Ribble to sketch the river when I came across this building. Preston has a light railway which used to serve the docks and some of the track as been preserved. Engines run occasionally, usually on bank holidays, and are always popular.

Unusually I forgot to take a reference photo so the colours are from memory but are pretty representative. The day was overcast and the light wasn’t great but there were some interesting shadows to add some interest. The right hand edge of the building was masked while the tree was a being added to preserve a nice clean edge.

Preston Docks, swing bridge control centre

The control centre for the swing bridge at Preston Docks

Preston used to have a thriving set of docks but they have longed ceased to be commercially viable. The river Ribble, which connects the docks to the sea, is no longer dredged to any great extent so the types of sailing craft that can use the place are limited.

The areas around the dock have been redeveloped with housing, retail shopping, and a lively marina. The Ribble is tidal at Preston so that boats have to wait to leave and enter until the tide conditions are right. The rest of the time the water in the docks is held back by massive dock gates. A road runs around the site and crosses over a swing bridge near these gates. This building houses the controls that operate the bridge hydraulics rams when taller boats need to leave the inner dock.

Wesham Railway Bridge

Wesham Railway Bridge

The railway bridge crosses the Preston to Blackpool railway and you come across it just after leaving Kirkham and Wesham Station. This is a new bridge which was put into place about three years ago to replace a very old cast iron bridge. It was a major engineering achievement and quite a sight to see the old bridge being lifted out and craned away.

The view is from the front bedroom window of my house. On the far side of the bridge are the Kingfisher pub, some small office units, and Smiths Electrical Services. Beyond that, and out of sight, is the the St. George’s Park residential development.
As with other scenes this place has many memories especially of my children playing football and flying kites on the open green area.

St. John the Evangelist, Little Thornton


St. John the Evangelist, Little Thornton

I wanted to draw this church because a friend of mine, Jane Atkinson, has recently been inducted as the Vicar. The church was founded in 1961 and is similar in design to St. Barnabas, Openshaw, where my father was the Rector in the early 1960s. On the day that I made the preliminary sketches I was kindly shown around the church and its interior by Donald the verger.

I wish Jane all the very best on her incumbency.