Cornwall has long been known as being one of the most beautiful counties to paint in. Primarily for the famous light in St. Ives - but over time, keen artists have been afforded views of the sun dancing off the sea, the sands shimmering and rolling rugged landscapes across the whole county - all of which create an artist's utopia. Not to mention that even when the well known Cornish mist and mizzle arrives, you find a new mysterious and magical subject to paint.
While one the most famous Cornish galleries is of course the Tate in St. Ives, home to some wonderful modern British art works, it goes without saying that art is a firm rhythm to the Cornish heartbeat. With small towns and villages housing collections from local and Cornwall loving artists alike - it’s a day out in itself, moseying around galleries stopping for coffee and cake along the way.
On a personal note, I would like to share with you all some of my favourite pieces by an artist who has long frequented the stunning sites of Cornwall over the years and is particularly special to me - my mother, Ali Clements. With her use of vibrant colours and fun brush strokes, she has (in my perhaps slightly biased opinion), captured the light, depth and movement of some of my favourite Cornish spots.
This stunningly unique open air theatre has been a firm favourite of artists for many years, since the theatre was built in 1932. With versions evolving over the years, from the early pieces denoting a very ‘real’ interpretation of the theatre, through to much more abstract and vibrant versions appearing much later. Here we have the Minack Theatre at dusk, with a performance of, very fittingly so, The Pirates of Penzance!
Another favourite is Fistral Beach. Well known as a surf hub here in Cornwall, this beautiful stretch of bay offers an ever changing subject to capture. When the surf is good, you will see the beach and sea full of avid water sport enthusiasts, riding the crests of the white horses, swimming and enjoying this more ‘rugged’ bay. On other days you will be met with a serene and tranquil bay, with water like a mill pond, and not a soul to be found - perhaps only a few bodies, sitting quietly painting!
The South West Coast Path boasts a never ending array of stunning viewpoints along the 630 mile walkway, so there are definitely plenty to choose from! Just along from Fowey is a beautiful cove that captures the sub-tropical side of Cornwall, showing off crystal clear and turquoise waters, sea thrift swaying in the wind and periwinkle blue skies in the spring, summer (and indeed the winter!) months. The colours found along this stretch of the SWCP are what most would consider to depict the idyllic Cornish Riviera.
This might be up there with one of the most painted and iconic views in Cornwall. With a famous, murky and moody depiction homed in the Tate Gallery, painted by Joseph Mallord William Turner in 1834. With the sometimes extreme and adverse weather conditions governing the mood of the day at this popular location, it's no wonder that the scenes we have in our collections tell very different stories.
Now, this one might not be one you would expect to see on an art blog - and as far as I can see there are not many artists who have opted to capture this incredible facility, in particular, at night. Not only is this a magical site, it marries up with what efforts are being done at the earth centre itself. Looking into the starry dark night, dotted with possibilities, I am left with a sense of wonder for the unknown and the undiscovered.
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