Beach days (III)


beach days - Sidmouth #3

Beach days #4

beach days - Sidmouth #2

Beach days #5


I’ve been working on this beach series for the past couple of months. I started work on it because a gallery owner local to West Kirby (where I grew up) liked some of my layered work, but wanted something coastal. I’ve struggled with naming them, though (it’s always a problem!), because even though they are all from very specific locations, they are deliberately quite abstract.

For me, working with layers give me greater freedom to explore the local environment: the texture, colour, form and atmosphere of the landscape, and (hopefully) create something fresh and new, which is at the same time recognisable to its particular location.

These two images are from Sidmouth, which is a place we visit often as a family because my dad and step mum live there. The children love the beach, and searching for crabs in the rock pools.

You can find the whole series so far on my website, or in my artfinder shop.


© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

24 Comments on “Beach days (III)

    • Hi Maureen! It’s basically layering up photographs in Photoshop, but a little more complicated than that. I might do a post on it soon to show how to achieve it as I’ve had a couple of questions, and it’s tricky to explain!

  1. Absolutely love the textures in the second one! Very exciting about the gallery, good luck! p.s. we must meet on the beach sometime soon when you are down!

    • Hi Cath! Thanks yes that one turned out well am really pleased with it. Getting prints through this week too and art fair next week so we’ll see if any interest! The gallery probably sounds more exciting than it is, but we’ll see what happens… we were at the beach this weekend as it happens, but flying visit, no time, will email v. soon! xx

  2. This is the way to go, Emily. I’ve never felt comfortable layering up photographs in Photoshop, but you seem to have the gift for it. No kidding, these are beautiful. I have never attempted to process or merge work together in Photoshop, In contrast, I really love to do it in camera. Do you begin with an idea of where to start and end? Camera in hand, I tend to do this, but then I play with the spontaneity, which can be very unraveling in Photoshop and a time sink. R.

    • Hi Rufus – thanks for your lovely comment! I have never done it in camera to be honest, because I like the control I have over the outcome in Photoshop, I guess, but at the end of the day it’s not all that different in concept, just in practice. Sometimes I have a very clear idea of what I want to achieve, and other times I’m just playing around and come up with something, it depends really, but I do set myself a few rules so there is consistency and some adherence to the original subject. So I guess I’m saying I don’t get the unraveling because I set myself boundaries as like you say otherwise you just get carried away. Also it’s like anything practice makes perfect 🙂

      • Yep, I have boundaries when working in film. They depend on the light, but I’m always looking for a first layer of texture. The less light there is, then the more layers I can do. As you say, practice makes perfect. I do admire the control, however, that you have in Photoshop.

      • I do use a graphics tablet – it gives me a lot more control. I would definitely recommend one if you’re using photoshop it’s great.

  3. I’m a fan of layers. That’s the way I normally work when making collages. It offers more dimensions. Each layer of beach day 5 seems to tell something about the seawind. Beautiful colouring.

    • yes I love working this way! I get so much more depth and texture in an image, and I feel I can tell more of a story (if that makes sense) because there is a sense of time passing.

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