This isn’t me – a life in the salon, studio and out in the wilds.
Ex-convent girl Amanda Hoskin has a lot to be thankful for. Born in Cornwall she is now one of Cornwall’s most accomplished and professional artists as myCornwall editor Mark Pugh found out when he visited her at her studio in Par.
Following her school days in Falmouth she attended Falmouth School of Arts, now the University of Cornwall, in the 1980 and following several dips in and out of the artistic profession she has settled into life as an artist, one that actually earns a living from the sale of her works.
But, as Amanda explains, it wasn’t always that way: “After leaving art college I thought I’d get a proper job. I though ‘I need to earn a living’. So I trained as a beautician in Christchurch and then ran a salon in Penzance, commuting every day from Falmouth.”
The commuting and the job proved to be tiring and a yearning for something else nagged away: “I eventually got to the point where I thought I don’t want to do that,” Amanda decided to return to her art. “I got into wildlife painting and quite detailed work because I’d always done that.”
Though it was a step in the right direction it wasn’t quite the solution she hankered for: “I used to do wildlife stuff, very detailed and it sold really well but it took too long. I would use a magnifying glass for the detailed bits.”
“I went off to train as a sailing instructor,” explained Amanda. “I’d sailed all my life, from when I was a child”. The budding sailor was given her first dinghy when she was 14 years old. “On Friday afternoons, after school, if the weather was good I’d be out on the water. I just really love sailing.”
After her training Amanda starting working at Mylor Sailing Club from March to November: “I used to work most of the season. I’d be teaching sailing in the summer, then I’d paint in the Winter…perhaps do a bit of travelling.”
It all sounded quite idyllic, but, I wondered happened to her creative side? “Yes, it was a lovely combination. I really enjoyed that, it worked really well. I got together with my husband and soon after had my daughter.”
The family had lived in Flushing and had moved to Foye. “I decided I wanted to go back to painting but I didn’t want to do detailed work.” said Amanda. “Teaching sailing for four seasons I became very aware of the sky, landscape and the surrounding weather patterns. You’re influenced without even knowing it.”
“I hadn’t realised it, but I’d got quite interested in painting those skys and landscapes and I kinda did it just for myself.” It was Amanda’s husband Peter who suggested she see if some galleries would be interested: “I started with the Cry of the Gulls Gallery in Foye and my work sold really well.”
Next on the list was the Beside the Wave gallery in Falmouth and MidCornwall Gallery near St Austell. “These were my three first galleries. From there I’ve not really looked back. The timing of all this was perfect. I started earning a living from it. I’ve made a good living for the last 15 years.”
From this early start Amanda’s work has been exhibited further afield. “I’ve sold work at galleries in the US, also in Iona, Woodstock and Bath,” explains Amanda. “My work has also appeared at the Affordable Art Fair thanks to Helen at Mid-Cornwall Galleries.”
Amanda’s current show, at Mid-Cornwall galleries, is entitled The Smuggler’s Way. “I needed to create quite a large body of work as it is a solo show. In the past I’ve done the whole of the Cornish coastal walk. I walked it in segments of around 100 miles and each subsequent show featured work from the segment recently walked. I’ve done something similar with the Smuggler’s Way.”
Amanda quickly dispelled my romanticised vision of the artist and easel out on the moors or coastlines of Cornwall: “I use my sketch book when I’m out…I did it with this walk. It’s a good way to get the process going. I need to do it otherwise I get too enclosed in my studio,” she explains. “So I’ll go out, do lots of sketches and drawings and then back into the studio to produce the work.”
“I always do the sky first and work my way to the foreground. The painting just grows, of course I may go back to the sky and change it. I have to be careful not to guild the lily. I always know when to stop, it is a natural thing to end the work when I do.”
No easel then? “No, it’s too obvious. I don’t like to be spotted working…having said that I have done painting demonstrations.” A smile creeps across Amanda’s face. “It’s such a nice thing to do. I may even get paid a little, but it’s not always about the money.”
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