art Culture

Inspired by the Coast – Laurie McCall

Our featured artist this month is Laurie McCall. Living in Cornwall, Laurie has established himself as an artist known for his bold stylised paintings of the surf and coastline that he calls home. Laurie is also a photographer with an eye for capturing stunning images of waves as they barrel toward the shoreline. Read our interview with Laurie and find out more about what inspires his creative perspective of the natural coastal landscape.

Wheal Coates, Chapel Porth

What inspires your artwork?

My biggest inspiration without a doubt is the Cornish coastline and my experiences there and in the water. Since moving to Cornwall when I was 10, the beach has always been my favourite place to be. I’m mad about surfing and bodyboarding and have spent a lot of time over the years searching for waves around the Cornish coast. It’s usually during these times hunting for waves or being in the sea that I get inspired to create new artworks. The ever changing light and weather conditions we have here in Cornwall offers endless light bulb moments for me.

Why is the South West Coast Path important to you?

The South West Coast Path gives me the freedom to explore so many places that aren’t accessible by car; it helps me escape the crowds in the summer; and find peace and quiet in what has become quite a hectic and frantic world. I always come back from a walk on the coast path feeling refreshed. The wildlife, the elements, the sound of the sea and the incredible views all combine to create a multi-sensory experience which I find really invigorating.

I’ve walked a lot of the coast path with my wife Laura and I also enjoying running on it. It’s a real blessing to have such easy access to a beautiful and unique part of the country. Many other countries coastlines don’t have this freedom and it is always something I notice when I’m abroad. In the South West you can just keep walking from beach to beach: the path seems to never end!

What is the biggest influence on your art? 

Usually it’s the views and experiences I take in whilst out walking or surfing. Sometimes, a view will stop me in my tracks and I will make a mental note that ‘I have to paint that!’. I try to recreate those idealistic images in my work; painting a location in it’s best possible light. I love views of beaches from high up on the cliffs where you get that elevated and unique perspective.

How has the coast inspired your creativity?

The coast has practically shaped my artistic style and my business. The majority of my work has a coastal theme- so I have a lot to thank it for! If I’m out taking reference photographs for paintings, nine times out of ten, the coast path allows me access to the vantage point I have in mind for the final piece. I also use it as a place to recharge and refocus; if I’ve been stuck indoors for too long, I’ll go for a surf or a walk on the coast path and return ready to get back to work.

Laurie McCall is a Cornwall based artist and photographer known for his stylised seascapes, oil paintings and wave photography. Laurie studied Graphic Design at Falmouth University before becoming a graphic designer. He then turned his hand to art where he combined his knowledge of design and his love for the Cornish coastline and its surf. He’s probably most well known for his ‘Cornish Surfscapes’ series of prints and collages, which depict idealistic visions of his favourite surf beaches through the use bold colours and clean lines.

More recently, Laurie has turned to oil painting in an impressionistic style – with an aim of capturing the changing light and atmosphere on the Cornish coast. He can usually be found out on the coast, painting ‘en plain air’ (when the weather permits), painting in his studio or swimming with his camera capturing photographs of Cornwall’s surf.


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