At the beginning of August we were ‘back to normal’. I had a heavy workload for the coming weeks, as I would be processing applications for residencies at the arts charity I work for.
I was also preparing for the charity Open Day, and AGM. Brisons Veor is a cottage at Cape Cornwall where artists can apply to stay for days, or weeks, to take a break for research or to make work, and sometimes for personal reasons. Before I worked for the Trust, I benefited from residencies at Brisons, indeed that’s how I first got to know this area of Cornwall. So August will be a busy month for me.
Near the end of August Rebecca visited for her holiday, and we were lucky to have a few sunny days to be tourists with her.
Marazion from St Michaels Mount
The Longships Lighthouse from Lands End
The Stone Circle at Boscawen-un
Week 44 – Moving some of my stuff into the studio at last! There are still jobs to do, but I can’t wait any longer – I need to get on with my painting, now that the busy BV weekend is over. Pete is not happy about having to leave jobs undone, understandably, but is cheered up when son and grandchildren visit for a few days. More days of being a tourist! We explored the delights of Paradise Park – my favourite was the amazing Kookaburra, but I had a soft spot for this poser, who spotted my camera and held this pose for minutes!
The weather has changed to persistent rain, and both chimneys are letting in water again – somewhere! It’s disappointing, after all the work that’s been done, and very dispiriting. On days like this, it feels as if we’ve made little progress!
But I’m working in the studio – I have two weeks before the next mentoring weekend, and lots to do. I will be exhibiting work in Penzance this time, and really need to focus on finishing the sea wrack painting at least.
This week our Victorian postbox had a bit of a facelift, with a new information panel being fitted. Inside, to the repairer’s surprise, was a little rabbit –Miffi! When was she posted? Was she a present for the postman, or was a little girl heartbroken because she’d let her go, and couldn’t get her back? We’ll never know. The postman has never mentioned her, and we’d never have known, if the post box hadn’t needed a new panel. I’m sure she cheers the postman up on a wet day – dry and snug in her hole in our wall.
Little Miffi, looking after the post!
It’s been a tricky couple of weeks, but the mentoring weekend was good and I’m beginning to feel a little more confident – it’s wonderful to be able to walk into my own studio again! I dismantled my studio last July, when we were preparing to move house, and I didn’t work for six months. I felt disconnected , and although I used the time productively, it didn’t make up for having that special space, and incentive, to think and make work.
One of my Kelp prints in Chapel House Hotel,Penzance
We have decided to replace our central heating – we tried the easier option first of course: could our existing system carry more radiators? we asked. In principle, yes, but, it turned out NO! So we’ll bite the bullet and renew the whole system. At least we will be warm this winter, and if we’re warm, we’ll function better. Last winter certainly wasn’t easy!
Week 48, and a week’s holiday back to Kent, to see family and friends briefly. I wanted to go to Dungeness which has always been a special place and couldn’t be more different from where we live now. From granite cliffs to shingle desert – sublime!
As I write now, it’s Week 49 – the beginning of ‘heating installation fortnight’. Today our old boiler has been dismantled, and was indeed a sorry sight! We now have a shiny new boiler, and a large tank for hot water, and in a couple of weeks should be experiencing the cottage differently. That will be about the time of our first anniversary here (we moved in on 28th October last year) so we’ll have double the reason to celebrate.
Pete is working on the cloakroom (previously a shower room that was so wet that the wood of the partition wall was black and rotten!) Now it’s fit for use again, and ready to be painted. He has made a long list of jobs, but some depend on the weather being fine, and at the moment we’re going through another wet period – if only we could have a month of dry days!
I’ve taken so many photographs this summer, of the coves and moors, and gradually my ideas for new work are taking shape. I’m planning large paintings for the Mentoring Students’ Exhibition in November, and spent time today going through some of the photographs I took just a few days ago in Penzance, when the sun was shining.
I’m excited by the prospect of making a new big painting. It’s a challenge and it will be interesting to see how I negotiate the awkward dimensions I’ve chosen. No doubt there will be tears and tantrums at some stage – I always seem to run into a wall during the process, but that’s the most interesting stage, ‘when the magic happens’, as one of my tutors told me recently. While I wait for the stretcher to be made, I begin a smaller work based on some ideas I’ve been turning over in my mind in recent months. Roughed out, it looks very different from the work I have been making recently, and I’m curious to see how it will develop.