An April en plein air trip to Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, Cornwall
My first ever blog post! Starting with my thoughts on my practice throughout 2022 and plans for 2023.
I’ve been spending some time looking over my work from last year and reflecting on the journey it ended up taking. Revaluating these paintings, especially months later, interestingly shows how crucial they were to the development of my creative journey. Even one small detail from an otherwise unsuccessful or frustrating painting can spark an idea for a whole new body of work, I find this all so exciting looking back over it all and it's something I really love about being a working artist; the continuous learning and momentum of each painting leading to an exciting new development in the next. The possibilities feel endless.
Last year started with a series of work I later titled ‘At home in the headlands’ and it’s one I’m going to be spending some time revisiting throughout the year. I loved exploring the juxtaposition of the headlands strength and stillness against the continuous momentum of the everchanging sea. Thick layers of oil paint applied with a palette knife worked particularity well in conveying the depth and movement of the sea along with the ragged structure of the coastline. I love imagining myself in that little house!
Early Spring didn’t bring much joy to my personal life which isn’t all that relevant except for explaining my rather inconsistent work from this point. Although it meant I spent some wonderful time out in the landscape painting en plein air (my true love!) and the rest of my time just experimenting in the studio. I do feel a slight frustration at my inconsistency throughout the year, however looking back now I am thankful for allowing myself the time to just play with paint and build on my visual vocabulary. It was a great time of learning and evolving.
I made many en plein air trips across the country last year. Firstly, I made my way to the North Coast of Cornwall visiting parts of this coastline I hadn't seen before. Trevaunance Cove in Saint Agnes was a particular favourite, I also spent a lovely couple of days in Perranporth on the beach and exploring the local coastal path. The light in this part of the country is truly breath taking along with the amazing Cornish colours. My next trip was back ‘home’ to Wales, exploring the raw and beautiful Welsh coastline, visiting many spots on the Gower peninsula and a few beaches on Cardigan Bay. On route back to Cheltenham we made a detour to stop on The Brecon Beacons where we experienced all the weather Wales has to offer(!) In May I spent a few days staying in a B&B on a working farm overlooking Wimbleball Lake in Exmoor, with the most tranquil art/yoga studio just a stroll away from the lake. Our annual family holiday to Bude in Cornwall produced a few paintings; a mix of work, wine and lots of fun. I still have a few paintings from these trips to hand in my studio.
2022 also saw the start of me venturing into working on a bigger scale. Before the summer I would have said 50cm was a big painting for me! I made my way to Jacksons Art in Gloucester and got myself a few bigger canvases at 75x75cm, 90x90cm and 100x75cm. As an artist I loved how I could experience the feeling of exploring the landscape I was inspired by all over again on the canvas, while as a viewer this scale of painting hanging on the wall really brings that feeling of fresh sea air into the home.
This year will see me out and about again exploring the landscape with my trusty palette knife. I plan to revisit some favourite spots in Cornwall, The Gower and Cardigan bay again with fresh eyes. I’d also like to venture somewhere new; I’m thinking a trip to Devon to explore Salcombe and Dartmouth and heading to North Wales to explore Anglesey and surrounding areas. We had a magical stay at Portmeirion last year, I’d love to take on the challenge of that incredible village nestled into the ragged Welsh coastline. Having only worked up to 40cm en plein air before I’m excited to try my hand at some bigger work out in the landscape. Mostly I’d like to find some consistency and rhythm that I was lacking in my work last year, especially in the studio. I’m feeling optimistic and can’t wait for my first day out en plein air, but first a bit of catching up to do in the studio.
From 'At home in the headlands' series
Headland house, 30x30cm oil on board
An en plein air trip on one of the first few clear days in Spring exploring the Gower Peninsula
Welsh weather on the Brecon Beacons
My first delve into bigger work
An experimental piece from the Summer months