Sketches on a beach:  capturing the idea

"A drawing is simply a line going for a walk." ~ Paul Klee, was a Swiss artist who taught in Germany until his art was seen as indecent by the Nazis. He returned to Switzerland where he died in 1940.

(Sketches on a beach was previously published in December 2015. While on holidays, I sketched people in motion, seaweed, shells, and any other beach remnants. My lines often went for a walk.)


quick pen sketches on the beach

These line sketches were completed under a scorching sun while enjoying the beach last week near Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

I discovered that...

.....I should remove my sunglasses when I am painting as the colours are inaccurate when seen through smoked or tinted lenses. My flower should have been pink rather than orange.


painting on the beach


remnants of beach wedding

Sketching on the beach:  a conversation starter

.....I should expect that a curious bystander might comment on my drawing, in this case, a Colombian woman who stood next to me as I became increasingly flustered and messed up two drawings while she kept exclaiming in Spanish how lovely they were.

If I understood her, I believe she was an artist who paints with oils.

I am not used to having a spectator, but in some online courses I have taken, the teachers have insisted that we go out in public and draw. I resisted doing that in my own city; however, I was itching to draw, and there was so much material nearby that I had to satisfy my creative urge at least a few times during the week. I convinced myself that I was among strangers here and that helped to ease my mind.

.....It's difficult to draw when a crazy tourist is feeding seagulls by the plate full. At first she was flinging her fries in the air. Then, she decided to leave her entire plate on a nearby chair. The flock of screeching seagulls swooped down among the sunbathers and were fighting for the fries while everyone ducked or ran for cover.

I did not draw that incident...


quick sketches on the beach


.....people move very quickly and it is a challenge to capture them exactly. I will have to sketch on the go  more often. This is an excellent exercise to loosen up and to let the lines tell their own story.  In most cases, they are saying the artists would have like to use an eraser and start over!


People in Motion: helpful tips for quick people sketches

If you would like to try quick sketches of people around you, visit Montrealer Marc Taro Holmes' website.

"Drawing People in Motion" is a free PDF available at  

Here is the beach on a beautiful day when we enjoyed a refreshing breeze. You can see Cancun in the distance. Our resort, the Royalton Riviera Cancun, is only twenty minutes by bus from the Cancun airport.


Puerto Morelos - Royalton Riviera Cancun beach


...and here is the beach when it was very windy and the waves brought in mounds of seaweed.


seaweed on beach

I also discovered that...

.....seaweed, a nuisance in the water, is beautiful to draw.

I heard people in the water yelling as they must have thought some fish might be wrapping itself around their legs when in fact, it was probably a piece of seaweed.

Hotel staff tried to clean it up but on the hottest days, it was just too much for them to remove with sunbathers and swimmers on the beach. I don't mind as it provided me with another opportunity to sketch and paint!


sketch of seaweed

.....even on holidays, art is very therapeutic as long as it is accepted for what it is: quick, imperfect  sketches.

Sketching materials

I had brought one of my Moleskine sketchbooks, travel watercolours, Neocolors II,  water brushes, and a couple of black Pitt pens with me in my suitcase. I forgot a pencil and this forced me to accept the lines that I inked in. Some sketches became doodles. The Neocolors started melting in the sun and I had to put them away before I ended up with mush.

I decided that I would not rework or adjust the colours of the sketches when I got home.

I am just leaving them exactly as they are....wonderful memories of a much needed holiday...sketches on a beach.



I love people watching while at the beach.  What is your favourite activity when you are on holidays on a warm sunny beach? Leave a comment in the Leave a Reply box in January 2019 and your name will be entered to win a giclée print by Louise Primeau.  Winner will be announced on February 1, 2019.


purple flower painted on the beach

painted shells on the beach



Header photo by Joe Cooke at unsplash.  All other photos and artwork by Louise Primeau.



8 Responses

  • J’adore les coquillages que tu as fais. Pour moi au chalet quand je ne suis pas occupé à me baigner ou à lire, j’aime bien faire des sketchs des fleurs et des plantes que l’on retrouve sur le terrain. Je prends une petite table et une chaise de parterre et je fais des croquis. C’est très relaxant et permet de décrocher et de regarder ce qui ,m’entoure. Parfois j’y met une touche de couleur. J’espère que tu as fait un bon voyage

    • Certainement, c’est une bonne façon de jouir de la nature et de bien observer notre entourage! Merci d’avoir laisser le commentaire, Thérèse.

  • Déjà de retour à ton blog, Louise, sitôt après ton arrivée du Mexique !! Je t’ai suivie tout le long de ton séjour là-bas, car tu as partagé avec nous cette semaine paradisiaque et maintenant, tu nous offres la suite. Très intéressant, comme toujours !! Abondance de fleurs, de jolis paysages et d’activités humaines à observer et à dessiner, pour encore une fois illustrer tes souvenirs. Formidable !!

  • Where I grew up there was always seaweed on the beach, massive big clumps of kelp with the ‘grapes’ which I loved to squish, they are quite tough so it wasn’t an easy task. There was also seaweed which looked like red and green lettuce, very pretty colours. Will try and find you some photos.
    Loved your sketches too by the way, as you say, great me,prices and in some way better than photos.

    • I find that when I draw something, the details stay with me for a long time as opposed to simply taking the photos. I look forward to seeing your art. Thanks for leaving a comment. I know how busy you must be.

    • Thanks Diana for leaving a message. I haven’t forgotten you. Just so busy as everyone and more so this year. I will be in touch soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *