Love at the Seaside – The Story

Fisherman Pete and Blustery Sea

Fisherman-Pete-by-Laura-Wall Fisherman Pete by Laura Wall

It was in the Autumn of 2009 after a day at the seaside that I sat in my bed with little sketchbook, found my old box of watercolours and started to paint. Something I hadn’t done for a while. As a child and growing into my early twenties painting was in my blood, something to be done every day. It particularity blossomed when my parents moved us to Devon at 16 and I found that the country air suited me, by 17 I had my first exhibition in a gallery in Cornwall. Needless to say I went on to study fine art at uni (In Aberystwyth) after being lucky enough to get a scholarship. I loved painting in heavy oils and acrylics and particularly enjoyed portraiture. (it’s something I have returned to these recent years). It was at uni that I also created Goose as part of my end of year project and I managed to gain a first. Something I was very proud of.

However I didn’t only study art at university, I also studied media. And it was because of my interest in this that when a job popped up at a local television company in Plymouth I decided to apply. Before I had a chance to think about it I was making tea for editors and learning the trade. In three years I worked my way up from a runner to an editor assistant and you can still see my name on some credits now! However the price was high, demanding hours, night shifts and the persistent reminder that you are completely disposable made me a duller and more miserable version of myself. I hadn’t painted in three years – in fact no one in this new life even knew that I could paint, something that before the job, defined me. It was when I was watching one of the editors one day doing their job with so much passion that I suddenly realised that no matter how much energy I put into this job, I was never going to get the same buzz that he did. It was suddenly with absolute clarity that I thought ‘if I can work this hard in a job that I am not passionate about then I can do it for myself with my art’.

It was at about this time that I met my now husband. My life started to blossom again and I found that work really wasn’t everything. We spent a lot of our time at the seaside and as the last sunny days of autumn came to an end and the nights drew in my thoughts turned to painting again. It was after one of those beautiful seaside days that I picked up my watercolours and for the first time, in a very long time, painted. What came out was Fisherman Pete. Next was Blustery Sea.

Blustery-Sea-by-Laura-Wall Blustery Sea by Laura Wall

It didn’t take much for me to hand in my notice shortly after, and in January 2010 I became a full time artist.

I spent the whole of January painting my heart out and then started visiting galleries. In my portfolio was a lot of oil and acrylic portraiture (some from University) and landscapes which I thought would be desirable. As a last minute thing I put in Fisherman Pete and Blustery Sea. It came as a great surprise to me that the galleries weren’t interested in the oils – it was Fisherman Pete and Blustery Sea they loved.

And so Love at the Seaside was born.

Not only did Fisherman Pete inspire me to paint again, it inspired a whole series and body of work, gave me the courage to give up my job, and reminds me of a significant time in my life where I had just met my soon-to-be husband. In fact he proposed to me in Tenby on the bench in Taking in the View.

Later in 2010 a card publisher, Cards for Arts Sake approached me to make some of my designs into greeting cards. I also had my first ever solo exhibition coming up in the January 2011. With both things in mind I knew I needed a format for my paintings, so I took Fisherman Pete and repainted it as a square design – the large square Fisherman Pete is the first square Love at the Seaside and set the foundations for all the Love At’s to follow.

These three paintings have since been in my personal collection, Fisherman Pete and Blustery Sea hanging in pride of place, above my bed.


May 21, 2015 | Posted by