Win a beautiful watercolour painting of Tollesbury by Essex Life's resident artist James Merriott

Fishermen and boat watercolour painting of Tollesbury Essex

THE BOATYARD. I loved the clutter outside the workshops, the colourful old oil drums adding so much to the composition. - Credit: James Merriott

Essex Life's resident artist, James Merriott, continues his watercolour tour of Essex with a trip to Tollesbury in search of stunning seascapes.

Preparing this feature for Essex Life coincided with the start of my final exhibition of watercolour paintings. Held at the beautiful Ingatestone Hall, the initial open days were the most exciting time I have ever experienced. 

The Ships Stores at Tollesbury Essex

THE SHIPS STORES. I love to paint buildings and four in a line is a bonus. All the complicated ladders, sail supports and indeed the weather boarding has been simplified - Credit: James Merriott

Staying home and staying safe for many months would have been reason enough for me to be excited being at this incredible historic house once again, but there was an even greater reason for my excitement. I wasn’t selling my lifetime works of paintings, books and cards, I was giving them away in return for donations to the NHS. 

Painting of a red boat in Tollesbury Essex

THE RED BOAT. Crying out to to be painted, the red boat was simply ‘glowing’ in the Saltings - Credit: James Merriott

With so much wonderful publicity afforded to me by Essex Life, perhaps I should leave it there, except for a final word of thanks to all of the old friends and new whom I have met at the exhibition. It has proved to be a tremendous event so far with many very generous donations to the charity. 

Fisherman with boat in Essex

BALING OUT RAINWATER. I witnessed this magical scene when I visited 10 years ago. I had retained the photograph I took and couldn’t resist painting it again - Credit: James Merriott

Of course my day trips to the picturesque places of Essex are a mainstay of the exhibition and it was another treat to visit Tollesbury for this feature. It had been almost 10 years since my last visit, but I was once again mesmerised by the complete tranquility I felt, encouraged no doubt by the sea-going craft in the Saltings. 

The Old Granary Tollesbury Essex

THE OLD GRANARY. I first knew of this building seeing it on a television programme featuring a number of dilapidated buildings, where one would receive most votes to save it. The Granary didn’t win, but to me it remains beautiful - Credit: James Merriott

Apart from the beautiful restored Ships Stores, all my paintings are of boats, because I simply love painting them and of course they looked at their stunning best in the Saltings. With the exception of the watercolour competition prize, the remaining paintings seen here will now take their place in the exhibition. 

Boats in the saltings at Tollesbury Essex

BOATS IN THE SALTINGS. With artistic licence I was able to bring these two vessels, that were some distance apart, together - Credit: James Merriott

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