Wednesday, 27 May 2015

May in Cornwall

I have recently returned from a great week with David Pilgrim, Michael Richardson and Michael Worthington in Sennen.  We stayed at Atlantic Lodge, our usual place, and the companionship, locations and atmosphere were as brilliant as ever.

We drove down on the 15th and just had time for a little evening study before drifting into The Old Success for our first pint.

Rocks and Waves, Sennen 10x8
On the 16th we took some time to 'bed in' and I felt particularly rusty.  After two early morning studies I clambered down the descent gully of Pedn Men Du at low tide so that I could catch a profile of the Irish Lady rock in front of Land's End.

Land's End From Irish Lady 10x12

While I was there several groups of climbers came down the gully and seemed surprised to find me at the bottom of the cliff.  I was tempted to join them for a route on Pedn Men Du as I had my boots, harness and helmet to hand but the pull of the Irish Lady was too great.

Our last painting of the day caught the atmosphere near the stone jetty.

Crashing Waves, Sennen 10x12

On the 17th we decided to venture further afield, starting at Mousehole. This is one of three studies I did in the morning:

Three Boats, Mousehole 10x12
 After a final session trying to capture St Michael's Mount in poor light at Perranuthnoe we headed home.

On the 18th the wind began to rise and gales were forecast.  However the weather was fine so we ventured over to Porthchapel where I did two more paintings:

Porthchapel from the Eastern Cliff 10x14
PorthchapelFromTheChapel 8x10
The wind was still rising as we returned home but David and I decided to brave the weather at the stone jetty in Sennen and try to capture something of the gale.  We stood behind the harbour-front wall, tied or stuck everything together and painted with spray misting our glasses and waves crashing over the jetty below us.  It was an exhilarating experience and both of us had that feeling of 'flow' when you are in the moment trying desperately to nail the scene despite the ridiculously difficult conditions.  
Gale Force, Sennen 10x14
The wind was still blowing hard from the North the next day (19th) so we decided to head for the South side of the West Penwith peninsula.  Michael W and I parked at Treen and walked down to Penberth cove through a delightful wood full of Spring flowers.  As we had hoped the wind was not so strong on this side and when Mike R joined us we had a good day's painting there,  I tried a little contre jour view looking out from the cove first:
View From Penberth 10x8
That was OK but I then got more into the groove looking from cliffs high up on the East side towards Logan's Rock:
Towards Logan's Rock, Penberth 12x10
Finally I tried a quickie from the other side of the cove:
Eastern Rocks, Penberth 10x8
The wind was still howling when we got back to Sennen and David and tried a reprise of our experience the previous evening.  We were a little later starting so I tried a 8x14 'letterbox' of the waves, with the jetty just showing on the right:
The Waves, Sennen Cove 8x14
There was still just about time to get in a 5th painting and I had another go at the jetty:
Force 7 Sennen Cove 10x14
By the next morning (20th)  the wind had died and we headed out to the North side, first to the valley that runs from Kenidjack to the sea.  From here you get a lovely view of Cape Cornwall:

Cape Cornwall 11x15
We then went to Pendeen with the idea of a view to Levant with the Enys rock in it but everything seemed very grey as the view towards Levant and Botallack was directly contre jour .  Mike R went down to the cove on the other side, I wandered round the lighthouse area, Mike W tried a study above the cove and David found a very windy spot above the zawn that separated the Watch from the Enys. The others settled but I was still without a subject.  In desperation I decided to flop down, look out to sea and just paint whatever was in front of me:
From Pendeen Watch 14x10
After lunch we headed down to the cove again for yet another wave study - this time with a rising tide:
 Incoming Tide Sennen 10x12
A quick sunset sketch and then we dived into that wonderful refuge, the Old Success.

Our final day started mild and fine.  I walked down a little way from the Lodge and painted the seaside cottages above Sennen beach:

Seaside Cottages Sennen 11x14
Then I moved further back and nearer the lodge for this view:
Sennen Cove From Sunny Corner 11x14
David and I then went to Mousehole again for a final boat study but mine was a 'wiper' and even when we returned I could not manage more than a small study of the beach and tide.  So, after 25 paintings in 6 days I was more or less 'painted out' and ready for our final evening meal in the Old Success.  

I would recommend Atlantic Lodge.  We cook for each other, play art DVDs on the non-pub evenings, use the utility room for 'gungy' jobs and store our wet panels temporarily in the outhouse round the back. I think it now has 4 'bits', the oldest being 'Victoria' where we stay.  I guess that Tracy will be giving 'Victoria' a makeover at the end of this year or in 2016 because although everything works it is a little dated compared to the other properties.  I love the fact that you can hire more than one 'bit'and make them interconnected. Anyway all the details are on the web site.  If I had the time I would go again tomorrow.

On the 18th the wind rose sharply and