“A wide expanse of sea and sky”

The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky
Shrinks at the clang of sea-birds sailing by
Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high.

beautiful-colours-K     summer-fields-K

We have some wonderful artists at the gallery and I thought it was important to share some of their thoughts behind their working practice. So I asked Amanda Hoskin if she would start us off. 

In her own words…

I was born and brought up in Cornwall and because of this I feel I have  a very strong bond with the Cornish landscape, it is where I truly believe I belong. For me painting the ever changing moods of this landscape is fascinating and compelling.

I love to work outside this is where my initial ideas come from. I always have my sketchbooks and use them to put down quick sketches in watercolour/pastel etc-also notes of anything I may of noticed or felt while painting. They are such an important part of my whole process.
Next I return to the studio where I work on my oil paintings. Working in the studio is wonderful this is where everything gets filtered out and only the important aspects of the landscape come forward to me, the light,colours, energy, smells and sounds, really anything that evokes my memories of the place. 
amazing-sky-Padstow-K
It is great to be exhibiting in the Jane Reeves Gallery, a new and exciting venture. So for this first collection I felt I wanted to paint Padstow/The Camel Estuary with it’s sweeping sandy beaches, brilliant blue clear seas and  colourful flowers.

I remember this view so vivdly. It was a few years ago now when I was walking the entire Cornish Coastal Path as a solo show project. I walked down the path and there it was a wide expanse of sea, sky and sand stunning. It was a early morning and only a few people were around, the air was crisp and clear, for me it was a amazing start to the days walk I thought ‘I cannot believe this is my job’…

Come and see Amanda’s collection of beautiful paintings at our gallery in Padstow. ‘Beginnings’ runs for two weeks, starting at Easter, showing a varied range of work from other selected artists and including my latest fused glass paintings.

Nut-smell of gorse and honey-smell of ling
Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring
On sunny shallows, green and whispering.
John Betjeman

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What’s your Dream?

Open for business. The words still feel slightly surreal. But finally the new gallery in Padstow is actually open for business.

After a few hugely busy weeks, the memory of which is slightly hazy, we woke up on Valentines Day full of excitement and anticipation. We had received so much encouragement over the preceding days – cards, texts, flowers – it’s fair to say we were confident, happy and eager to set sail.

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We had a great day, a truly warm response from visitors, gradually calming our nerves. I have to say that at the heart of our confidence lies a mix of factors… one being a belief in the talent of the artists who are with us on this adventure. There are many brilliant artists and makers out there, and we felt we had to make a choice based on instinct and our own personal response to their work. Ultimately we hope that has give a sense of coherence in the gallery, a fine thread that pulls the work together – diverse but complimentary.

We put a comments book out on our first day, hoping to catch a sense of peoples’ responses, and it has some lovely sentiments in it… one customer just wrote ‘Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…’ Now that’s nice to hear!

And so, my mind is whirring with ideas about the coming season. I guess the art of curation has only just begun…

So, if you have a dream, an idea, a hope… don’t assume that it will always stay as such. New things, change, beginnings, are all possibilities that are built in to the human spirit. We thrive on them. Working hard to achieve a dream is like stretching a muscle, with practice we grow stronger and the possibilities become realities.

What’s your dream?

‘I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.’ 
J. B. Priestly

Learning to dance

It dropped into my thinking today as I was mentally trying to organise my day… I’m trying to learn to dance!

The process of setting up a gallery has been all consuming, exciting, frustrating, exhausting, inspiring… and each step of the way the end prize has been there… the fully formed, living community, working together, wanting the best for everyone, surviving. Dancing. Every now and then the moves make sense, then I clumsily trip over my feet again! We will get there in the end. I’m looking forward with such anticipation, to that moment when all the moves make sense and there are not so many stumbles!

There’s no rule book with this dance. We have decided learn as we go. With no rules to follow, the pressure of getting it ‘right’ has lifted. We’ve chosen to follow a lead that is instinctive more than anything else, a bit overwhelmed by the idea that ‘curation’ was a task set in stone. Before long we let that concept go and decided to be inspired by the word itself.

So, here we go!  We are counting off the days now. And we want to send out an invitation to anyone interested in popping in, Padstow is a truly beautiful place, the town and the coastline, and the beautiful countryside too. And a warm welcome awaits you at our magical gallery. We open on Valentines day. Of course… 


lighthouseHere’s a piece from the talented
Kirsty Elson, an artist who draws the onlooker into her imaginative creations. 

‘Imagination is the highest kite one can fly…’ Lauren Bacall

Past. Future. The Shore.

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I had a book given to me at Christmas, The Sea around Us by Rachel Carson, a naturalist who wrote in the 1960’s. It has lots of fascinating information packed into it, including a chapter on waves and what exactly they are and where they come from.

It got me pondering. Obviously waves are a bit of an obsession with me. I’ve read a lot about them. I’m even trying to learn the art of reading surf forecasts. I’ve lots of theories about why we are drawn to the sea. Why waves really absorb us. Why do so many of us respond so strongly to the place where sea meets land, the shore?

According to Rachel Carson there’s so much more to a wave than the wave we see as it reaches the shore. They have a life, a past, circumstances have shaped and formed them, they have a depth that is unseen, a secret history. Something often happens when we see a painting or representation of the sea. I’ve seen with my own eyes really positive responses to my own work, humbling to be sure. And it’s a response that I didn’t plan to prompt, it’s a secret one with hidden meaning, hidden even from me. So just maybe the response is something to do with recognising a story, a past… just as we all have stories and a history.

‘It is always the unseen that most deeply stirs our imagination, and so it is with waves. They move on their mysterious courses far down in the hidden depths of the sea, rolling ponderously and unceasingly.’ Rachel Carson.

I also wonder if that place where sea meets land, the shore, the threshold to a place that’s mysterious and beyond our control, is a place of beginnings, of the start of a journey, a place of possibilities?

So the shore, and the wave as it lands there, is a place where we face our past but also our future. That’s maybe why it provokes a response from us, unsettling, stirring, exciting.

Our gallery by the sea will be home to a few paintings of waves in the coming months. But not just waves… also the work of some hugely talented artists and makers, whose work represents stories and histories, years of accumulated creativity. I just know that responses to the work will be strong. We can’t wait to open the door and let people in…

This year we will open a gallery…

glass-wave1

‘As I drove around Cape Cornwall to St Ives Bay, then on up to Chapel Porth and St Agnes, I was thinking about ‘desire paths’… the unintended, pedestrian short cuts that over time become permanent footpaths. Perhaps I am creating my very own imagined desire path here on the Cornish edges…‘

A year on from writing this and I think that ‘desire path’ has become well worn… In fact in my imagination the path has itself led to a place that’s now become a reality. This coming year we will open a gallery, finally… a place to exhibit my work and the work of others, a place where we can at last practice the curation of work we admire and believe in. I am convinced that there are no ‘set rules’, other than that of respect and hard work, when it comes to the curating of a gallery…

Historically the word itself holds a powerful meaning, the care of souls, the nurture and encouragement, the careful handling of the well being of a person. What a brilliant concept when applied to the curation of the work of an artist. And what a privilege to represent them. The meaning of the word shapes and informs the approach, so much so that all sorts of possibilities are caught up in the words ‘this year we will open a gallery…’

So with just a little experience of curating my own work, I am more than excited to continue on down this ‘desire path’, excited at the unfolding nature of the task ahead, in the little seaside town of Padstow.

And this journal is where I hope you can catch a glimpse of that unfolding story, the tales of a new gallery as it’s planned and opened and starts living and breathing. All the ideas and plans that have been lying in waiting, will be given a chance to prove themselves. And all the beautiful work from an accomplished community of gathered artists and makers will be given their own window on the world.

‘A calm space for beautiful work by inspired artists…’

That’s the motive behind this unfolding story. Combined with a sense of humour of course. Come along if you like and see where the story takes us…