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Thoughts on a painting about a mining village above the sea, Pendeen

Having, in February 2013, just finished an ambitious piece about an ex-mining community in Cornwall got me thinking about work, life and connections between the different stages of both. Mining village above the sea, Pendeen
The painting came from a morning spent in Pendeen, a place that’s just a few miles north-east of where I lived at that time in St Just. After enjoying the bustle of the farmer’s market in the centre there, my wife Gabrielle and I climbed Pendeen Carn, the hill that overlooks the whole coastline there. As we looked back I was struck by the juxtaposition of Geevor mine near the cliff top in the distance, the nearer fields and miner’s cottages and just below us some standing grave stones on the hillside. On each level a repeating series of shapes seemed to form a counterpoint to those on the other levels. Over the following days and weeks, as I worked on the 1 metre x 1 metre canvas that I felt was needed to do justice to this particular landscape prospect, I found myself pondering that here was an image of work/home and life/death in balance, all of it presided over by what I call that ocean light that is so characteristic of Cornwall.

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Architectural painting

An architectural context for paintings is something that can be deeply inspiring for me ever since that time in Italy in the early 1970s surrounded as I was by the fresco-painted murals of Tuscany. A musician friend across the Piazza was renting an apartment converted from an old farm building and the canvas shape of Tuscan farmhouse 1973 ( ) was a temporary hanging I designed to fill a wall space in his apartment that had once been a barn doorway. It’s a far cry from the damp Cornish winter around me as I write though it’s undeniable that fitting images of three dimensional forms into sometimes unusual two dimensional shapes continues to intrigue me here.

Image of my Tuscan Farmhouse wall hanging