Cruel and Curious Sanctuary

Cruel and Curious Sanctuary

It started out as a journey exploring a beautiful part of this area in North Cornwall depicting it in paint on aluminium with the theme of Sanctuary, but my cruel and curious foray this year but took a new direction towards the world of abstraction.

I took photographs, made sketches and spent a lot of time dreaming how Coombe Valley has felt over the centuries as a place of Sanctuary.

But as I started working on the aluminium, it became more an exploration of my personal experience with paint and colour. As I looked for inspiration from my notes and photos, the lines started to blur and it was all about the colour.

I discovered that the best time of day was twilight, when the golden rays of the last sun shimmered up the valley clinging onto the branches and treetops of the woods and creating deep shadows down the hillsides and over the sea.

There was a depth to the colours and layering, as if the colours had been laid down over the centuries too, filled with the spirit and emotion of the people that had passed through.

I looked to the American Artist Rothko for guidance. I listened to lectures and really started to connect with his art. It was an emotional response tied into what I saw; it connected straight to the heart.

As I painted I could see how the colour was reaching for further space. It wasn’t about looking into the picture to grab on to reality but letting the colour come out as the rich layers took on their own resonance. Given the golden light it was also an ideal opportunity to embrace the metal and metallic and burnish the surface with gold mica powder.

I don’t think I had enough time to fully prepare for this and finish my pieces, but they had a great reaction from viewers which has instilled confidence in me to continue and look to the sea which is where my heart truly lies.

The exhibition of over 20 artists in the National Trust barns at Stowe Barton was incredibly atmospheric despite the heavy rain on Saturday. People piled into the car park on both evenings to soak up the conversations, diverse art and general ambience of what is becoming a highlight in peoples calendar. It’s certainly in mine although I think there is a break next year with plans to come back with an even better experience in 2018.

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