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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.

https://www.thecornishscene.co.uk/cornwall-blog/sue-read-artist-bude

Sue Read in her art studio

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.

 

London Foray to see Pierre Bonnard and Tracey Emin

Pierre Bonnard has long been one of my favourite artists.  He was one of the lesser known impressionists, but painted with such sensitivity and understanding of colour.

After a chance meeting with an old school friend, I arranged a trip to London and couldn’t wait for March to come.

I’ve only been  to London a few times before  so I was pretty excited about my trip to the big smoke. Tricia has lived  in London since she left school and  knows it like the back of her hand, so I had the perfect tour guide for my two days away.  With snippets of history, landmarks, the contrast of old and new, the spirit of each neighbourhood  we visited and how it has changed along with some great food experiences and drinks from the top of the gherkin we walked, talked, had a few wines and a few laughs and it was just the best break .

I digress…

I had been following the Bonnard hashtag on instagram avidly and had a feel for the exhibition before I went, but there is nothing that prepares you for a gallery experience where the scale and paintings comes alive. It was also my first visit to Tate Modern and it is huge!!  The Bonnard exhibition filled 13 rooms and of those Room 8 stood out. Containing the work  he made in 1927, several of the artworks had been removed from their frames to give a sense of them just having been finished and the room had a continuity and cohesive feel set against a soft grey backdrop. (all the rooms had been painted to reflect his palette or indeed the colours of his original home).  The bathroom paintings had such a light which bounced around the room and the garden paintings just jumped out at you with their vitality.

I read a great article by Barry Schwabsky which really resonated with me and helped me explain my own painting practice. ‘Standing on the edge of space, painting the feeling which is constantly changing, the painting is never finished and lives on.  Working from memory, capturing fleeting moments and moods his paintings are filled with the rhythm of life. ‘

In contrast to the Bonnard and totally unplanned Tricia suggested we go to see Tracey Emin at The White Cube Gallery.  Using a limited palette with lots of raw canvas left showing and with massive space around each artwork which allowed it to breath with some huge mind blowing sculptures and vast reflective floors, it was an assault on the emotions.  I wouldn’t have expected anything else from her.  I really liked the palette but I think feminine sugary pinks used almost made you think she has come to terms with  what she was working through.

Very abstract and on a scale that was massive, the gestural strokes had a lot of energy through a very cathartic process of love, anger and loss in   ‘A Fortnight of Tears’.

I could write so much more.  I loved my foray to London and hope that Tricia and I keep the friendship going. I can’t wait to go back. It amazing to be able to live in such a beautiful place here  in Bude, but what a gift to be able to go to see such amazing art on such a scale.

A little footnote.  If you go across the millennium bridge be sure to look down . I can guarantee the little painted chewing gum montages will make you smile.

 

B side social live painting

The B side Social was set up by a group of lovely people, mostly friends of my son Tom who wanted a very social event which has the festival vibe though only for one night . It’s held as a monthly event of dj vinyl, food, Tom’s rum bar, guest beers and art.  Starting at 6pm and ending at 11pm on the dot, it gets lively very early and the party atmosphere doesn’t stop.

This year an 8ft square plywood board is in place which is painted by guest artists every month.

After a busy summer I was asked if I could do the September slot which  coincided with their special ‘girl takeover’.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but have never painted quite on this scale before.

Don and I prepped the board the night before with a brown ‘Truffle’ paint.  A great opportunity to get a feel for the scale of it and I quickly upscaled the size of my brushes!.

I wasn’t even really very nervous and decided to go with the flow.  I had seen Jen Dixon working the board before looking very relaxed so took a leaf out of her book and she said I was going to enjoy it, so I was determined to do so and let it be.  I luckily had some emulsions to work with which cover the board quickly and dry fast.

I painted intuitively with a limited palette with  two pop  colours I added for ‘pop’ and they really added the ‘Wow’ factor.  A luscious copper metallic acrylic I have never used and a vibrant pink emulsion I had been given years ago.  ( goodness knows when that was ever used!).  The music led my painting and movements too.

The boys on the Sharps beer bar kept my going with great comments and I had lots of the punters coming up and saying how they loved it.

It was difficult to stand back from it because of the crowd, the light was fading fast and I was up and down that pair of steps more times than I can imagine, but I loved it.  The music was brilliant and keeps you jigging about.

After three hours I called it a day, but wanted to make it special to BSide and Emma helped me come up with a hashtag. Although some were mortified that I put writing over it, it felt right. This was  temporary piece of art, so I hashtagged it #BsSideGirlTakeOver in the brilliant pink.

Danced the rest of the night away and the painting was packed away in the shed for next month’s event.  Yay.. awesome job done and I loved it.