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Lynne Roebuck (Handwritten)
The church of St Mary's stands high above Whitby Harbour in full sun

Outdoor Oil Painting:‘St Mary's in September, Whitby’

This outdoor oil painting was painted high above Whitby Harbour, looking at the iconic St Mary's Church surrounded by its famous and atmospheric graveyard. Whitby Abbey is out of sight behind the church.

A larger than usual outdoor oil painting completed while sitting in the churchyard. It was painted on a glorious sunny day in September.

One of those clear bright days we often enjoy as the year winds into Autumn. Windy with a slight chill in the air, it was nevertheless a beautiful feel‑good day.

Positioning myself behind a gravestone to secure my easel enough to paint, I spent several hours painting this landscape art. All the while, visitors by their dozens passed around me, and melted away on their adventures.

After a time, the chill in the wind meant I needed to keep breaking-off to move around. However, I'm very satisfied that this painting captures something of the sparkle to the day, the modest church, and the epic scene.

original plein‑air painting

  • Artwork Size: 28 x 45.72 cm (11 x 18 ins)
  • Medium: oil
  • Ground: canvas panel

Whitby St Mary's

This really is an iconic place. The graveyard features in the Dracula story, by Bram Stoker, and you can imagine the bleakness on a dark and threatening stormy night that inspired the tale.

The day I painted this however, could not have been more lovely. The sun had real warmth to it, the stone of the church reflected the sunshine, and the seabirds glided up on the thermals with all the time in the world.

Despite lots of visitors, the place had a peace, and tranquality, with the voices of people simply adding to the pleasant ambiance. Couples sat on the seats along the cliff enjoying the view, and fresh air. Tourists and families created treasured memories.

Behind me were exclamations on reaching the top of the steep climb that is the much photographed 199 stone steps of the 'Church Stairs'. Another painting, or paintings, I just have to do some day (soon hopefully).

More Whitby art