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Cornwall Art Film – the making

In July with film maker Charlie Key, we made an art film in Cornwall.

With the year turned upside down by a Pandemic and  my plans for my brilliant 60th birthday all out of the window, it was time to reassess my year. Instead of stepping back from my art to travel and party, I threw myself into my art and decided a film which encompassed all I was thinking and living through my art would be the perfect thing.

The film’s release at the end of September was the most perfect timing with the arrival of our first grandchild, Stevie Elvenny. ( I painted a sparkling seascape called Elvenny ten years ago . Elvenny is sparkle in the Cornish language.) What a lovely legacy for her.

Charlie Key is a friend of my sons, and I had seen a film he made about a local surfer. Full of soul and emotion, I knew he would understand what I was wanting to protray.

Charlie was just inspirational and an absolute joy to work with. With so many ideas, I let him lead it totally and trusted his instincts to make a beautiful film…. and he did.

I loved painting in the studio and walking around the farm. I spent an hour in the cupboard in the dark answering Charlie’s questions to get the audio and speaking parts. But the evening on the beach and finally filming in the sea was the most memorable.

It was nearly dark and the tide low. No one was around and it was still warm in mid July. The sun was setting and the colour of the water changed dramatically. The resulting shots were just mesmerising.

Light on the Water – The Autumn Equinox

I have lived outside for most of the summer, either in the garden, on the beach or in the van. I am a summer person and love the feeling of the sun on my skin. My soul is fed by the infinite views of beach and coast that form my paintings. I spend as much time as possible in the sea, jumping waves, diving under or with my bellyboard shredding some waves and green water and washing right up onto the sand. My skin is shiny, fed by minerals in the sea and I glow.

So as we come to the change in the seasons, as I get older I feel them even more. I have more awareness. I don’t ever remember thinking about the weather and how it affected me when I was younger. I discovered a celtic word for the autumn equinox ‘Alban Elfed’. The direct translation means ‘light on the water’. I fell in love with this when my son pointed out the druids used this to read the seasons. Standing on the beach in September, the light sparkles and glistens and washes everything in gold and silver. The sun lower in the sky creates the most beautiful seascapes.

The equinox and big tides and big weather have created chaos in my mind. Loss of focus, ideas, being indoors, but it’s only out of chaos we find order.

So my mindset is shifting. The seasons are not static. The resistance is lessening. We hear the word ‘ embrace’ and that is what I want to do. I will dress appropriately, walk in the rain. Water after all is the key to life. I may even swim into November.  Wanna join me?


In the Sea, September Waves, Bude

The Cornish Scene comes to the Studio

I have long been a fan of Emily Barlow’s writing on ‘The Cornish Scene’ and she is a great photographer too so when she asked to come to the studio to do a piece on me I was thrilled. Read more about it here.

Sue Read in her art studio

There is magic in writing down your intentions

The day started with brunch with Dawn from Bude and Beyond by way of a thank you. She interviewed me as a part of my Belonging exhibition.

After a very healthy salad bowl at Temple restaurant, we headed to the community hub at Bude Sea Pool for a creative writing poetry mindfulness session with Casper Walsh. Casper started the organisation ‘Words from the Earth’.

Dawn and I signed up to a creative writing afternoon exploring our connection to nature. What we hadn’t expected was to come away at the end of the day feeling totally ‘ZEN’. The first word that came to mind after mindful chit chat, meditation and some time to connect with nature on the beach. Casper encouraged us to keep a journal or write of our experience to remember the day with some key words. I decided I needed to record some of the experience as a valuable resource for the future.

The first exercise was to write down what we would like to receive from the day.

‘My eyes are far more connected to the landscape and nature. I’d like to feel more confident with my voice. Being next to the ocean is second nature to me but I’d like to understand a little more ‘the WHY’

The following two statements were very important to making it successful and a thought to carry through life.



Casper has studied society and different cultures all over the world and has come up with the theory that we need our rites of passage and defining moments like losing our virginity, getting married, turning 18.

These wane as we get older unless you make a point of making them happen. We are all very busy just surviving, so it’s really important to find and do things that bring us to connecting with nature.

Without this people lose the ritual and connection so we need community and mentors. The days of younger people being trained by older people are all but gone and this was valuable life skills and wisdom being passed down on just LIFE. It’s a time when people find other things to do , partying , alcohol etc when things get buried under a life of addiction.

There is also a default to over analyse, to rethink over and over, so it’s important to look at yourself and situation and be grateful and say ‘I’m OK’

People need to be able to express themselves creatively to allow space in their being. Hence ‘paying attention’

A short meditation, connecting with the beach and each other, left us with an hour to wander and contemplate.

To slow down… think and make and pay attention to the spaces in between.


  • Listen to the sounds, the sea is the singing bowl of the ocean. A vibrational energy to pass through you.
  • Let your body flow, ripple, be soft but strong.
  • Feel the weather.
  • Let your mind unravel. The thoughts become an tangled string of pearls.
  • Be kind to yourself and it will show in your being. Let your heart be full of love.
  • Embrace change, like the seasons. Trust in this and trust in others.
  • Pay attention , share experiences.
  • Look to the sky, sun and the stars. Climb a hill, be in the ocean. Feel the space and expansiveness.

My meditation walking and thinking led me to sit on the cliff top at Mentone. Peaceful, but looking down on the beach and the many people enjoying the day. I felt completely weightless, no physical body existed. I was still, but feeling. Peaceful and absolute. Soaring.

The event was made possible through Reflect Arts and Mind. A project looking at the effects of being connected to the sea and mental well being by the University of Exeter.

Prussia Cove Artist Retreat

I’ve long wanted to have the opportunity to join several other women artists on a week long retreat at Prussia Cove and finally got an invitation from Jacqui to share a week with another girl Karen.

I’d been there before and admired the timelessness of the secluded coves and the arts and crafts house nestled in under the cliffs.

It’s now part of a larger holiday letting estate called Porth en ‘Alls and they have several properties to let including coastguard cottages.

The house was pretty antiquated. An attempt to keep it’s authenticity and charm, but the cold bathrooms and lack of showers took a little getting used to.

Anyway the weather was exceptional for the time of year and most of the time was spent outside either walking the coast path or just taking a cup of tea down onto the little beach early in the morning.

It was solitude in nature and blissful.