Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Memories from Cornwall
The weeks of the summer seem to have whizzed by, and yet they have been slow and happy too, melodious days with a holiday rythmn about them; carefree days full of ordinary and yet memorable moments.
My family and I went to Cornwall for the last week of the school holidays. We stayed in a riverside cottage just outside Fowey. It was a peaceful place of cool, clear green water, moored boats gently bobbing on the tide, of herons and egrets. Here at night you could see so many stars, a sky full of glitter. You could hear a robin sing and the splash of an oar. It was a tonic to be so very quiet.
As ever on my travels to the coast, I am always soaking up my surroundings, unconciously taking notes of colour and shape, of light and shadow, of objects and places. I store all these details away to use in future paintings. I write down things that I don't wish to forget, fleeting feelings, a particular event and take photographs...many, many photographs for fear perhaps of forgetting this precious time in this special place too quickly.
The towns of Cornwall were bulging with tourists. August is a busy month and traders plied their wares with enticing displays in shop windows that lured people in to spend their cash. Tantalising, mouth watering scents from the restaurants drew hungry crowds to the door to enquire after a table for that evening, a chance to enjoy an authentic seafood dish alongside a glass of crisp, cold white wine at a table which looked out over the harbour, out to the faraway coastline and the comforting blink of the lighthouse in the gathering dusk.
We managed to squeeze in a couple of beach days but unfortunately the weather was rather inclement and we alternated between summer dresses and waterproof coats and jumpers. I took a swim in the chilly sea at Carbis Bay and joined my daughter in a spot of body boarding; riding the foamy white tipped waves into the sandy shore and laughing out loud because it reminded me of being 11, on the beach at Porth with my sister where we would spend hours riding our California King surfboards together. We had to wear old t-shirts over our swimming costumes because the sand would give you a rash on your belly. We forget these things as we grow up. It's good to let yourself go, to be a child again.
So, home again and the little one (who seems not so little any longer in her grown up Junior school uniform) heads off to her new school. Once again, all is silence. I wander around my house and wonder what to do with myself...during the noise and fun of the holidays I have craved peace such as this to carve out some creative time, or just read a book....now its here, I don't know what to do with it. It's almost too much.
But routine gently enfolds us and we once again fall into it's familiar step like a well known waltz. Noisy breakfasts and school runs give way to a few sacred hours in which I tentatively pick up my paints again, I unwrap a new canvas and begin. As the days roll on I fall back into this comforting way of living again with surprising ease. A cup of ginger tea to start my mornings work....the radio playing...a jar of clean water, the clink of the brush against the glass as I swirl away one shade of paint for another.
I finished this painting yesterday, it's called 'Over to Fowy' and is a big canvas - well, lets say its big for me, a soul who usually gravitates to working on small pieces. At 50 x 50cm this is much bigger than much of my other work, but I am enjoying the freedom the bigger space brings. I can afford to be more exuberant, make bigger strokes and experience a new way of painting that smaller work does not provide.
So, my ginger tea awaits, and a jar of clean water sits next to my palette as I prepare to begin another large canvas, this time of Kynance Cove.
Have a lovely day, and thanks for stopping by.