CORNISH DAYS OUT: Porthcurno

Whether you fancy yourself an intrepid explorer, a World War II navy captain or a communications extraordinaire, there really are no limits to your imagination in Porthcurno. myCornwall made a visit to this breathtaking location and toured everything the newly renovated Telegraph Museum Porthcurno had to offer and came to the conclusion that this really is the perfect family day out destination.

Find The Carrier Pigeons

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Kids can grab a backpack, complete with binoculars, and go hunting for these pesky little pigeons! Search the museum and help them crack the code by solving the morse code. Not only will this keep them entertained for hours, they will learn this historical form of communication through an exciting and playful game.

Travel Back In Time

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Enter through the gas and bomb proof doors and return seventy five years back in time to when we were in the midst of war!  Explore the tunnels which were built to protect the country’s vital communication systems and learn all about the pivotal role these tunnels played in World War Two.

Dress Up

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Kids will relish the opportunity to transform themselves into a World War II navy captain, a solider fighting on the front line or a court judge. Let them grab an outfit and watch as their imagination does the rest!

Brave the Escape Stairs…

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Put on your hard hat and get ready to brave the 120 steps that were once created as an emergency escape route in the event of an enemy attack. Once you’ve completed this formidable challenge enjoy a panoramic view of the valley and have a rest before making your way back down.

Meet Tommy the World War One Solider

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On Thursdays and Saturdays there’s every chance you’ll bump into Tommy the World War One solider; find out about life on the front line, what weapons were used in the First World War and the horror of the trenches.

Get Hands On in the Activity Room

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Whether its swiping your hand through a 3D projection, experimenting with electromagnets, making a call from a retro telephone or writing a message in morse code Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is a truly hands on experience that will keep your kids entertained for hours. Unlike many museums Telegraph Museum Porthcurno really allows you to get stuck and learn the history in a fun and exciting way that makes it a fantastic family day out!

Great Britain at War

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Take a rare opportunity to read and leaf through the newspaper that announced the start of World War One. Wonder at the news stories that sat beside this iconic moment in history. Ask your kids to imagine what it must have been like to hear the announcement of such life changing news! How would they react now?

Finish the Day With A Trip to Porthcurno’s Beautiful Beach

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After you’ve looked around the museum and visited the cafe, wander down to the beach to admire the breath-taking views, go for a walk and, depending on the weather, go for a dip in the sea!

 

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MEET THE CHEF: Nicholas George Lewis Usher, the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno

With its magical location, breathtaking views and family friendly beach, Porthcurno should be top on your list of places to visit this summer. With a brand new cafe recently opening at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno, we took a trip to Porthcurno ourselves to meet head chef Nicholas George Lewis Usher, and try some of his delicious new dishes.

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Tell us about yourself:

I’m from Hertfordshire, I moved down to Sennen Cove when I was five. I began my career in the restaurant business as a waiter and began cheffing at the Old Success from the age of 14. From there I went on to the Beach Restaurant, which was where Axel Barts really brought me on and made me realise that cooking is actually art. He presented food which was beautiful and I was like wow, yeah that’s what really drew me into it.

From there I went to Lamorna Cove and after that I began working at the Gurnard’s Head, where I worked with Bruce Rennie and Gary Rhodes.

I’m still learning so much. I want to experiment a lot more, I have big plans. Charlotte my apprentice, I want to bring her on as much as I can with what I’ve learnt.

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Cornish Yarg & Beetroot Salad

Tell us about the cafe

Bright, vibrant tasty food, it just looks great I think. As far as possible all our produce is locally sourced. We get our mackerel from Celtic Fish and Game, which comes from a Cornish smoking group. We do a smoked cheddar panini which comes from Tintagel smoking rooms.All the vegetables and leaves come from my mum’s vegetable business, she has four poly tunnels and grows all her own produce. We bake all the bread and cakes ourselves. I come in here in the morning and just think what have I got? I make the most of the ingredients in season. My specials board is really nice; Cornish Yarg, beetroot salad, smoked salmon, fennel, confit lemon, which I confit myself. I just want it to be simple, honest food. All really tasty, there’s not one thing I haven’t made myself.

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Cornish Smoked Mackerel Nicoise, With Salsa Verde.

When it comes to food, what’s your guilty pleasure? And what’s your ideal meal?

A food which is quite hellish but I think is pretty good is cous cous and chocolate on toast, it’s bit weird. And my ideal meal would definitely be sea bass, with crushed potatoes and some sort of smoked salmon and dill veloute.

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What would you say is your signature dish?

My Cornish Yarg salad with toasted pine nuts, beetroot and organic mixed leaves, drizzled with a honey       mustard dressing, with cubes of Cornish Yarg scattered around the plate. It’s a good mix of sweet          and sour, it’s simple but it’s really good food.

What’s your earliest food memory?

I think it’s got to be my mum’s spag bol. My mum was a cook, she left university about six weeks before graduating, went out in Chester for a drink, met this captain of a German war ship and he said we need a cook. She went all around the world for four years on a war ship and learnt really good Italian based food. It was amazing, I will always remember her food.

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When you create new dishes, where do you look for inspiration?

I try and look at different types of food, food that stands out. Something that hasn’t been put together quite as much, something tasty, I experiment a lot at home. To make something that’s wow is hard. I look at books a lot, particularly anything by Hugh Fearnley – Whittingstall. I play a lot of music which is a great inspiration. I try and blend my food with my beautiful surroundings.

When people visit Porthcurno and come to the cafe, what can they expect from their experience?

They can expect a great service, an amazing time visiting the museum and discovering the history; it’s modern, it’s colourful, it’s bright. You’ll feel energized coming here, the food is really energetic, it really stands out. And the scenery, you can’t really go wrong. The source of food, where it is, how it’s made, how it’s presented and the quality of the cooking is very good value for money.

 

Check out our article ‘Cornish Days Out: Porthcurno’

 

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ARTIST PROFILE: Martyn Dempsey

The sea has been a big influence for many of Cornwall’s artists, some of whom grew up with the sea in their blood. Others have come from backgrounds devoid of sea based influences until later in life. One such artist is Port Issac based Martyn Dempsey.

“I originally lived in Rusholme in Moss Side, Manchester and later moved to Wilmslow in Cheshire,” explained Martyn when we met to discuss his artistic life. “I came down to Newquay when I was 16 and got addicted to surfing.”

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Martyn’s addiction meant he worked in hotels in Cornwall during the summer months and headed off to places like New Zealand, Australia and the British Virgin Islands in the winter months.

“I love it here…in Cornwall. At one point I did think about moving back north, but on looking around I decided that Cornwall was where I needed to be. It’s the sea. I need the water.”

His early artistic endeavours were not of the conventional kind. “I used to spray (paint) Manchester when I was a boy. My mum said ‘why don’t you start painting a canvas?’,” he explained. “I was like ‘How do you do that?’. Painting wasn’t really the done thing where I was from.”

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Despite art being seen as unfashionable Martyn continued to use it as a means of expression and once he moved to Cornwall he pursued his twin passions of surfing and painting. “I was in Newquay doing various jobs to maintain myself but I was still painting pictures,” He explained how his work began to attract attention.

“People started coming up to my flat and I’d have paintings on display and the visitors would ask me who the artist was. Some of those people bought pieces and I became more confident. It wasn’t long before I was selling work at a number of Cornwall galleries.”

Although he enjoyed his life in Newquay Martyn still had the travel bug. “I’d got to know the British Surf Team and became good friends with the likes of Grishka Roberts and Spencer Hargreaves. I travelled with the team around Europe.” As he travelled Martyn continued to paint leaving the completed works at galleries he came across en route. “When we travelled back along the route I picked up the money from sales of my work. I was earning as I travelled.”

Martyn had also left some of his artworks at various galleries around Cornwall: “I was able to collect earnings from the Cornwall galleries on my return.”

These successes were great but what Martyn needed was recognition for his work: “I headed to St Ives and visited the New Craftsman Gallery (home to the likes of Terry Frost). I kept asking Mary Redgrave, who was running the gallery at the time, to take a look at my work.” After six months Mary Redgrave gave Martyn an interview at the Bernard Leach Pottery in St Ives.

“I turned up with about twenty pieces, all covered, which was what I’d been asked to bring with me. I started to unwrap the work but Mary Redgrave stopped me,” said Martyn. Mary Redgrave pointed at three and suggested the young artist uncover them. “I did as she asked. She took a look and said ‘I really like your work. You’ve got real potential to do well in the art world.’ Getting that opinion was a catalyst for me.” Mary Redgrave then suggested that she visit Martyn’s studio: “You’ve got a studio, haven’t you?” He hadn’t. “Yes” he replied.

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Martyn searched for a studio and he found one in the shape of an old hairdressers in Port Isaac: “It was basically a shed. I started painting there and Mary Redgrave visited and I started selling my works. It just felt it was the right time and the right place.”

“Shortly after that I decided to move to my present studio and gallery space. It was a good decision as the work sold very well. I ended up doing exhibitions in London at places like the Blackall Studios in Shoreditch.”

In 2013 Martyn exhibited work at the prestigious Manyung Gallery in Melborne, Australia. “I attract all kinds of collectors including individuals and institutions such as banks like Rothschild Bank, HSBC and Morgan Stanley. I’ve also worked with the likes of IKEA who used seven of my designs.”

Martyn’s work has been through many changes over the years: “I started with an abstract approach before painting landscapes and this in turn evolved into an exploration of the elements,” explained Martyn. The work has now returned to more abstract compositions.

“It’s really difficult with art, to know which route to go down. The more I think about it, the more I like to try and capture the colours of Cornwall. To do a good abstract takes a long time, much longer than most people imagine.”

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What material does Martyn use? “I use a mixture from crayons, pencils, acrylic, oils…I use everything.” Had he ever done an art course? “I’ve never bothered. I’ve taught myself a lot of techniques…how paint drys, how to dye a canvas etc”

“One technique is to paint quickly then hose the paint off the canvas with water. The effect is amazing. It is then I start working on the painting.”

Was he talented as a child? “I won my first exhibition when I was about six. The prize was to go to Blackpool and see how Blackpool Rock was made. That was my early claim to fame.”

 

Visit Martyn’s site here

 

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ARTIST PROFILE: Amanda Hoskin

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.

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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.”

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“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.”

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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.”

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“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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ARTIST PROFILE: Volker Stox

Artist Volker Stox is a creator, architect and former music video maker who lives in the far west of Cornwall perched hight above the coast. From his house one can watch the last of the British mainland’s daytime light slip away or, as has been the case lately, watch the storms rushing in from across the atlantic.volker stox

“The light here is stunning,” says Volker. “It it easy to see why artists like Patrick Heron and others lived around here.” The January afternoon light is pouring into the studio as if to emphasise Volker’s point. It is here in the west that Volker Stox has made his home with his partner John, and when I say made I mean it. The former architecture student and practitioner created a seamless extension the existing house and designed and built the studio in which we sit to discuss his artwork.

“The challenge was to give the impression that the place wasn’t new,” says Volker. I can only nod as it all looks old and in keeping with the original part of the house. “I’ve kept up with the architecture. I love it and it influences me. You’ll probably notice it in the art I create.”

For some time now Volker’s art works have been created on computer before being printed on canvas or paper. “I use a little Apple computer and software like Photoshop,” he explains. “I have a little pad and electronic pen.” Volker makes it all sound simple as if anyone could do it. “There’s nobody stopping anybody from doing the same thing. So when somebody says ‘I can do that’, they’re right, they can. They don’t, but they can”.voilker stox

“At an exhibition at The Exchange (Penzance), which had some of my prints on show, I ran an little stall so visitors could have a little go. We had a large printer set up so those having a go could print out the creations they produced. It was very exciting printing out what people had done right there. It showed anyone can do it”.

So what makes Volker Stox unique? “Because it is my work. What really matters is the work, not the machinery. If I enjoy creating it and if other like the work I produce then that’s fantastic,” says Volker.

I wondered how Volker had started out using computers as his tool of choice. “When I lived in France, more than 15 years ago, a friend of mine gave me an old Macintosh computer with an early edition of Photoshop installed. I’d never heard of it and decided to have a play around. Those were my first attempts using this technique. I was fascinated by it. It was very much tailored to my way of thinking and working,” he explained. “It’s been developing ever since, especially since I’ve lived in Cornwall.”

“Before that I worked in a more conventional way, with brushes and all that. I tried out a little bit of combination. I’d start to make an image on the computer and transfer it to canvas. It is easier, you can try things out without wasting canvas,” says Volker. “These days I don’t mix the two forms, painting and computer work. Well not at the moment anyway. I may do so in the future.”volker stox

Pointing at one of his current works to illustrate the idea. “I could do print this out and do the red parts using paint. It would be an interesting contrast and it would introduce texture. It’d make it mixed media.”

Volker’s influences have come from his own past as much as the contemporary world: He showed me an album cover he’d designed more than a decade ago. Immediately his unmistakable style rang out as if it had been created the day we talked. It was definitely a Volker Stox.

Other influences from the past include his architectural studies and practice, he has worked with the like of architect Norman Foster, and his work designing sets for commercials and music videos. “I loved the work and it paid well enough to support me and buy my paints. The music video production of the time was very artistic and great fun. Very free, free flowing…I was very lucky.”CARN COBBA

These days Volker’s art work is mainly of a more personal nature. “I see my work as free art. If I get an exhibition of course I love it, if people buy the work I love that too, but I don’t set out with that in mind,” says Volker. “Having just said that I’ve just done a commission. I now think of commissions as collaborations. This particular one came from my last exhibition. Someone spotted my work. They liked it but desired something larger.” Like the album sleeve shown to me earlier in the interview, they want it to be recognisable, they want a Volker Stox.

 

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ARTIST PROFILE: Jenny Nightingale

jenny nightingaleWhen chatting with Jenny Nightingale one can’t help being impressed by her work, confidence and future prospects. She has mapped out a great career as an illustrator, has some very happy clients and her work is loved by children and adults alike. I’m not jealous…honest.

Jenny grew up on the Isles of Scilly enjoying a lovely childhood on the beaches of St Mary’s before heading to the mainland aged 16. “I only left the Isles of Scilly to come away to college,” she says. “It was a GNVQ in Art and Design at Camborne followed by an HNC in Illustrations and Graphic Design at Falmouth.”

It seems that from an early age Jenny caught the art bug and has never wanted to shake it off. “I love art, it was my favourite subject at school. There were other subjects I enjoyed such as childcare, but art was a favourite.” she explains. “Art was something I excelled in. I was always colouring or painting and entering art competitions. I also loved the fetés on the Isles of Scilly and the water festivals. It was obvious that art was a route I was going to go down.”

Thankfully Jenny stuck to the route. “As you grow up, it’s usual to have a lot of different ideas about what you want to do, but I knew it was going to be something creative. I thought about Graphic design and interior design,” says Jenny. “I didn’t really know about illustration or what it was when I was a teenager. It was only when I went to college and did general art and design that I discovered something called illustration.”

Jenny went on to do a degree in illustration at Falmouth University back in 2000. “The tutors were all professional illustrators. You came to the course knowing how to draw and paint but your skills get honed and I got to develop my own style.”

jenny nightingaleAnother aspect to the course that Jenny enjoyed was the business practice element. “They (the tutors) were all doing illustration work for clients so I got to learn that side of things. This was really useful, as I’m not a natural business person and this all gave me a foundation to help me run my own business. I’d done a bit of business studies at school, but it wasn’t my forte.”

After her degree Jenny, like many former students, she went off travelling to Australia, New Zealand and America. “At that time I’d not had any major thoughts about setting up my own business,” she says. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.”

Whilst she was travelling Jenny was inspired by a lot of the artwork she saw. “I thought I could actually do this. So whilst I was away I began with a range of illustrations for gift products for Isles of Scilly,” explains Jenny. “Things like mugs and mousemats and activity books, tea towels and postcards those kinds of things…that was my first range. I moved back to the Isles of Scilly after travelling.”

All Jenny’s art work starts in her sketchbook. “I’m very keen to draw everything by hand in pencil. I like to develop my characters there, but I’ve developed a style where I can scan in the art work and then re-draw it using the computer,” Computers are very much a part of the process for Jenny and her art. “I really love the brightness and range of colour. I also like the way I can manipulate the lines of the drawings. I can then choose the size of digital file to email to my clients where ever they are, whether they are in America, Honk Kong or Mexico…”

Jenny’s clients get to give feedback on the sketched works and their feedback helps the direction of the work: “I then develop the final piece using the computer.”

Following Jenny developing the Isles of Scilly gift products her profile grew and now many of her clients are leisure industry based. “One of my current clients is an aquarium business. They’ve got seven aquariums and there’s a guide book for each one. Each of which uses my illustrations. I’ve also created maps of the individual sites,” Jenny says. “My work tends to work well with children, they’re possibly my main audience, not exclusively, but they like the bright colours and illustrations.”

jenny nightingaleI’ve also worked with publishers like Macmillan Education, who I originally worked with about seven years ago. They’ve commissioned some new work for a series for pre-school nursery aged children. The book’s intention is to help teach basic literacy.”

From the education based products to the leasure guides Jenny’s work always looks fun and bright and breezy. “I use two techniques in my work. One is, as mentioned earlier, where I do my sketchwork, then scan and transfer the images to the computer,” she describes. “The other technique, which creates a textured background, is something I call gum and ink. This creates a texture behind the characters. I particularly like this technique as it gives the work some depth.”

It is always good to see a plan come to fruition and see an artists hard work pay off. Some want their work to appear in the swankiest of galleries and others like Jenny seem to thrive in public and commercial world. Watching the growing smile of a child as they look at one of Jenny’s characters is a sight not often seen in the world of gallery based art.

 

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ARTIST PROFILE: Robin Leonard

GalleryStudioAway from the main towns and villages of Cornwall the process of tracking down galleries, studios and artists can be a bit like a game of hide and seek as many are hidden away amongst Cornwall’s lanes and coves. The treasures found at the end of the search are often worth the journey as you’ll often find the most stunning work created by some of the most talented artists who’ve opted for place of peace and quiet in an effort to concentrate on the work itself, Robin Leonard’s workshop cum gallery in Golant is no exception as myCornwall found out.

I was greeted by Bren the wolf, as Robin describes him, and Dodo, a little Jack Russell/Collie cross and Robin himself. With Bren and Dodo’s approval Robin and I sat outside to chat about the location, the artist and his work.

“I came down here back in 1981 and more or less started painting straight away,” Robin explained. “I’d originally done a graphics course at Dunstable Art and Design College, intending to get a stable job…which never happened”.

Robin went on to study at Plymouth University. “That was something completely different,” he continued. “environmental science, as a mature student.”

Robin had a young family and wanted to “be responsible as art provides a very unreliable income. Unfortunately I didn’t do my homework. I started to apply for jobs within the environmental science field and began to wonder how anyone could rely on the wages being paid. I went back to art.”

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“I thought if I stayed with environmental science I’d have extra costs such as running a vehicle to get to and from work. With art I’m free.” says Robin. “and I’m just about making a living from it.”

Looking at the gallery Robin sighs: “I might have made a mistake taking this place on as there aren’t many people walking past.” He’s right, only three people have walked passed in the half hour we’ve been sat there, and they all live locally and offer greetings as they walk past. “I’ve got to see how it goes, maybe run it for six months or so. In some ways it is helping me as it’s given me a base away from home and I’ll turn it into more of a studio than a gallery. There’s another reason I want to keep this place on. There’s talk of the railway line being used again.”

Robin has only had the place a couple of months so it is still early days. “It used to be a gallery before I got hold of it,” he says. “It’s not just my own work on show here, there are also works by the likes of Jethro Jackson and Chris Prindle”.

Who was buying the works on show in the gallery? “There’s a few people who stay in the village during the summer months and there’s a hotel nearby.” says Robin pointing along the road.

Who,where or what influences him? “I’m staying in a place called Trenarren with my daughters. It’s five minutes from St Austell. I stumbled across the place thirty years ago and nothing’s changed. It’s timeless. It was a manor that went back to the doomsday book.”

So you’re looking after the house in Trenarren. Are you working there? “Yes, that’s the plan. It’s such a Paintboxpaintable place…everything is there. It’s a tortured part of Cornwall,” says Robin. “This is the thing that’s fascinating to me at the moment. The geology of the place. It’s a tortured place…the natural environment. It’s been exploited industrially.”

I asked Robin if he’d ever explored any other art forms? “Just painting,” He says. “I spent a long time exploring water colours, but now it’s just oils.”

Does he get many commissions? “One of my first jobs was illustrating a book about the Saint’s Way project.* Working like that was very interesting but I’ve not done many commissioned pieces.”

The artist tells me that the works he most admires are by artists such as Picasso, Peter Lanyon, David Hockney and Patrick Heron.

Robin’s own work is enticing to those who are looking for seascapes and landscapes without the predictability of some other artist’s work. Beautiful, accessible, bright and original is how one recent visitor described Robin’s work after visiting to the gallery. How does Robin do it? “Only by observing nature and tirelessly applying paint,” he says. “does the art start to happen.”

 

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GALLERY PROFILE: Summerhouse Gallery, Marazion

As galleries go the Summerhouse Gallery in Marazion is in one of the most unique locations in the British Isles being sited close to St.Michaels Mount and the expanse of Mount’s Bay. For the visitor the artworks displayed within are equally impressive.

As I enter the appropriately lit interior, I am met by the galleries director Jayne Elliott and Alison and India her two staff members. Following introductions Jayne and I discuss how the gallery came to be one of the best West Cornwall can offer. “I have a huge passion for art, so buying this place three years ago was a dream come true,” explains Jayne who bought the location back in May 2011.summerhouse gallery marazion

Wondering around the gallery, visitors can see works by raw new talent and some more established artists such as Michael Strang, John Piper, Michael Praed, Neil Pinkett and Paul Wadsworth. Paul Wadsworth was recently commissioned by Marks and Spencer’s to produce five original oil paintings to represent their Spring Collection.

The latest exhibition entitled “Say Something” which opens on the 14th of June, is a showcase of new exciting art from emerging artists. The lead artist during this exhibition is Peter Ceredig-Evans and also features Kate Richardson and Kit Johns.

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It is not only the artists’ works themselves that are of importance, it is also the way they are presented; according to Jayne. “We like to present the work with plenty of space around them, they should have room to breathe.”

“I find putting together an exhibition so exciting as I love helping to showcase our artists” says Jayne.

“I love seeing people falling in love with a piece of work, you can see it on their faces. A piece attracts their eye and they’ve fallen in love with it.”

The gallery itself is a very welcoming environment. “I think art should be for everyone, we’ve created a very accessible space for everyone including children.”

summerhouse gallery marazionWhilst working with the Super Sunday art program at the Tate, Jayne worked with families and Barnardo’s “I found the work inspiring and I realized how powerful art can be in many ways. Which is why I am so keen for my gallery to be all inclusive and we have our children’s table.”

The summer show entitled ‘Cornwall Calling’ opens on the 25th of July. It will feature all their established Artists with brand new work. Later in the year the gallery will be hosting a John Piper retrospective entitled “Halycon Days”. There will be old and new work showcasing Piper’s life and career.

 

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GALLERY PROFILE: Fernlea Gallery, St Ives

I’d been told that one of the ‘must see’ art galleries in the west of Cornwall is the Fernlea Gallery in St Ives, the sister gallery to Marazion’s Market House Gallery.

While it is not the biggest artistic display space in Cornwall, the Fernlea Gallery packs a pretty punch when it comes to quality and quantity and an extremely broad range of artistic works. Director Joseph Blewett, who has managed the Fernlea Gallery since the day it opened back in March last year, has engineered the best use of space to the benefit of his artists. Thanks to this the spell of the artistic works is kept.

Fernlea Gallery

It is now twelve months on from that opening and the place has attracted a lot of attention thanks to the quality of the works exhibited. Walking into the gallery space one is almost overwhelmed by the stunning works on display, works like those of artist Mark Poprawski, who lives in St Ives, his beautiful, moody works are displayed near those of another well-known artist Ben Katt. Not far away is a piece by Tony Shiels, a complete contrast to those mentioned previously in that his work is bright and colourful provoking a different mood in the voyeur.

Fernlea Gallery, Joseph tells me, has a constantly changing exhibition of Post-War art, sculpture andceramics with several fantastic exhibitions planned for this year. As we walk around Joseph tells me a little about the different artists. There’s Australian born ceramacist Lincoln Kirby Bell’s gorgeous works just sitting there demanding attention. It is easy to see why the world class ceramicist, who is now a resident of Penzance, enjoys an ever increasing following amongst collectors.

Fernlea Gallery

I see work by Linda Weir, whose modernist, expressionist oil paintings capture glimpses of life around the harbours of St Ives and Mousehole in addition to the sea and landscapes of Zennor. A big favourite amongst visitors during the summer months.

There are also beautiful Troika, Tremaen, Studio Pottery and Leach Wares on display within the gallerie’s four walls. Like it’s Marazion based sister gallery, the Fernlea is a feast for the eyes. For the lay person or connoisseur, it is perhaps the place to begin any search for art works of taste and quality. Certainly it is worth a planned visit, definately it is one of the ‘must see’ places on any visitors to do list when visiting St Ives.

 

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GALLERY PROFILE: Atishoo Gallery, Charlestown

On a clear day the port village and harbour of Charlestown attracts visitors from across Cornwall and further afield. Home to tall ship Phoenix it is also home to numerous shops and attractions and amongst these is the Atishoo Gallery run by artists Liz Hackney and Paul Clark.

Liz and I are sat in the gallery chatting over a cup of tea whilst Paul is hard at work in the background, talking to visitors and sorting through works to be displayed alongside his and Liz’s own artistic creations.

Atishoo Gallery

Paul’s work is described by Liz as quirky, naive, yet very detailed: “Paul is known for his clouds” Liz points out as I look at one of Paul’s works on display. The building is split into two levels, the ground one being a shop come gallery and the upstairs being a treasure trove of artistic works.

Exhibited in the gallery are the works of several artists including Ray Steadman, Gwen Pritchard and Iveta Goddard. “We don’t have a specific method for choosing the artists we exhibit here,” explains Liz. “Some come in off the street, asking if we’d be interested in displaying their work.”

Atishoo Gallery

According to Liz the aim of the gallery is to be accessible to visitors. “We want families on holiday to feel happy coming in here and not worry about their children touching things,” says Liz. “We’re family friendly, bright and cheerful, and affordable.”

I asked Liz how the gallery started. “I originally had an arts studio within another gallery in St Agnes on the north coast. We’ve been here, in Charlestown, for ten years. I had given up my arts studio to learn to be a picture framer at a picture framers in Truro where I met Paul. We got together and decided, as two artists and picture framers that we could set up our own gallery and a picture framing business…so here we are.”

Why Atishoo?

“We decided to call it Atishoo because my work is tissue paper collage. I started using the name about 15 years ago for my art studio, it’s a play on the words ‘art’ and ’tissue’.”

“We had no trouble finding other artists to display their work at the gallery as we knew a lot of artists through our work as picture framers. I knew several people from having had my art studios in St Agnes. I also knew a lot of crafts people from my time in that area.

Liz told me that the gallery started out with around 25 artists and crafts people. “Ten years on we now have more than 100 who we work with,” explains Liz. “We don’t have specific exhibitions here, it is just one long rolling exhibition. It’s like an ever evolving exhibition as the work and the artists change over time.”

Walking through the gallery it is the colours used by Liz and Paul and their fellow artisits have that really catch the eye. “Generally we go for bright quirky art, we like naive art, like Paul’s. Most of what we choosed will compliment his work.”

Atishoo GalleryArtists whose work is on display at the gallery include:

Alan Arthurs

Paul Clark

Kit Johns

Ray Steadman

Gwen Pritchard

Linda Flyn

Iveta Goddard

Karen Williams

Madeline MIllington.

 

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