This year we were blessed with good weather and so did a lot of swimming. The water temperature at the start was 14 degrees but warmed up to 16 degrees by the time we left. The only days we didn’t swim were arrival, departure, one day of heavy rain and one day when we couldn’t make it work because of the tide times. Still 10 days out of 14 is a record for us.
By the way the sea is dangerous and needs treating with respect (unless you are a water, mining or industrial fishing company – another matter, not for here).
These temperatures require a wetsuit if you want to stay in the water. I don’t use a wetsuit – but I do have a 30 second cold shower after I have been out running (which is 3 times a week). As a result I don’t suffer the cold water shock which can catch people out, nevertheless; I walk in, am done after 15 minutes, always swim on a rising tide and swim parallel to the shore.
The end of an era – almost
The annual trip to the Isles of Scilly has become a fixture and for the last two years extended to two weeks. We stay at Glandore Gallery and Appartments owned by Steven and Lois Morris. As well as running the holiday lets Steven is a local artist. They told us they were planning to move back to the mainland for personal reasons and whilst we wish them well and hope all turns out OK we also had to think about where we might stay in the future. If you have tried to book accommodation on the Isles of Scilly you will appreciate how quickly its gets booked up, everyone who goes and likes it books next year as a carry over routinely. The first time we went to Scilly was back in 2010. When asked if we wanted to re-book we said we’d like to think about it before re-booking. The place was booked by the time (only a week later) that we decided we did want to go again. We were lucky to get a cancellation and haven’t made the mistake again.
The new owner has bought the holiday let business and we could book in again next year – a massive relief.
A long journey
If you just go for it it is a 7 1/2 hour drive to Penzance, too much for us. We stopped in Bristol and went to a production of Anna Karenina at the Old Vic. After the performance we dropped into The Old Duke and I must say we enjoyed the trad jazz better then the play. We then had a night out in Penzance and had a great mean at Mexico a pub/restaurant in Longstone recommended by Grace Dent in the Guardian. New day its a short drive to Lands End Airport (near St Just) to St Mary’s. The flight takes a whole 20 minutes, even less with a following wind.
On the way back we stay at the Notley Arms in Monksilver. This is a splendid hostelry on the edge of Exmore which I have no hesitation in recommending.
But the luggage allowance on Skybus is small…
What, no easel!
Tactic 1 – is to find a cafe with a good view, buy lunch and then keep the table all afternoon.
Tactic 2 – make use go the local adventure playground. The playground itself is an improvised affair made from fishing nets, ropes, buoys and pallets. As chance would have it a pallet, suspended from a tree branch by ropes on each corner – was also at perfect desk height. So as well as giving me a great working surface, I was also protect from the sun, perfect.
Tactic 3 – being a bear of very little brain I neglected the obvious – borrow an easle from Steven…well I’d have had to carry it about.
Here are the resulting pictures; 14×10, rough paper for texture, and mixed media (watercolour, inks, wax crayon and pastels), this combination is becoming my go to – a step beyond pen and wash.
The tall flowers are Tree Aeoniums
The first picture I painted this holiday I posted on FB whilst we were still there. Its is the view from the garden at the Little Arthur Cafe on St Martins. This is run by an enterprising local family and its all tied in – farm for produce, vineyard, Adam’s Fish and Chips (grow the potatoes and catch the fish), quite splendid.
I don’t always carry a full painting kit. I have evolved my notebook work by using water-soluble pencils, pens and water brushes – these are easy to carry and with an A5 Notebook using 150gsm paper good results can be obtained – a sketch can take 15 minutes, I rarely exceed 1 hour.
The minimum kit to carry is simply the notebook, a V5 roller ball (because they have non-permanent ink) and a waterbrush – when the water meets the ink it runs – this is a good thing. Most artist pens have permanent inks but unless you ar really fast they dry out to fast for my liking. I must be in a minority here, but it works for me.
In the following extracts the people watching from the New Inn on Tresco uses this technque
We sometimes have lazy days – there is a secluded garden and it is a very short walk to Porthole beach and Juliets Garden. Such days give the opportunity to paint without having to carry the kit. I had a great walk through the woods on a sunny and windy day and was able to create the following back at the appartment.
Lastly I mentioned that we had one day when it rained heavily. This was right at the start of the two weeks and I hadn’t got any source material to work up, so instead I used a photograph, imported it into a graphics programme on my iPAD. I use ArtStudio (Lucky Clan 2015). I then proceed to manipulate the image so that little if anything remains of the original photo – except the composition and proportions.
According to Hockney in Secret Knowledge, artists have been using optical devices since c15 and he has also produced a body of work using graphics package. I think he starts with a blank not a photograph but my intention – to date – has been different.
I have used this technique, as a supplement to sketches and photographs to understand the extent to which an image can be simplified and abstracted before embarking on a more conventional painting.
Anyway this was result – the same trees as those above but viewed from the beach at Little Porth.