Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Beginner’s Guide to Acrylics ~ with Yvette Wiltshire

St Ives and Penzance are well known as centres for art classes and workshops, but top class art tuition is also available in other parts of Cornwall. On a Saturday earlier this month I headed towards Liskeard to attend Yvette Wiltshire’s  (right) ‘Beginners Guide to Acrylics’ – one of a range of workshops and courses which she offers at various locations in mid Cornwall. Yvette’s interest in art began in the early 1990s, when her Father decided to take up painting as a retirement hobby.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sandra Blow 1925-2006 ~ in Search of Balance

Sandra Blow was described by Roger Hilton as an ‘heroic painter’. Certainly her late artworks are heroic in size. Currently her canvases can be seen at three locations in Cornwall. The Exchange in Penzance is showing a dozen works from the 1990s onwards, including Brilliant Corner II. Familiarity with reproductions of Blow’s work is nothing like the awe-inspiring experience of getting up close to these enormous originals.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Amongst Heroes ~ Royal Cornwall Museum

We live in an age of equal rights. Female stars of stage or screen, once known as actresses, are nowadays more usually described as actors. While the word ‘seamster’ exists in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, I have yet to come across a male version of a seamstress (though ‘tailor’ is still in use). But ‘hero’ has for some time transcended gender barriers, and I was heartened to see that a number of women, both artists and subjects, are included in ‘Amongst Heroes’. My particular interest in the representation of women in art attracted me to three images from an exhibition which highlights the lives of the ordinary working people of Cornwall over a century ago.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Morag Ballard at Lemon Street Gallery, Truro

Approaching Lemon Street Gallery one morning in January, I had a feeling that Morag Ballard’s first solo show in Truro would surprise and delight me. I was not disappointed. The pristine white walls of Gallery One provide the perfect backdrop to her striking artworks. Spare, clean lines on curved boards or undulating surfaces induce a feeling of calm, while reliefs and collages set out to tease - and challenge - the eye, oscillating between the two- and three-dimensional. Geometric form takes precedence over colour, yet the shimmering hues, meticulously applied, imbue the canvases with a lively rhythm.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Barbara Tribe Revisited

Thirteen years after she died, and on the centenary of her birth in 1913, a collection of drawings by Barbara Tribe has found its way back to Cornwall. The portfolio was acquired by a private collector from an Oxford gallery in 2009.
Although best known as a sculptor, Tribe’s ability in other media was formidable. As I have written elsewhere after her husband’s death in 1961, she added ceramics to her repertoire of talents, creating some memorable pieces in that medium. But her drawings, like those of Barbara Hepworth, have always held a particular fascination for me, and I am delighted to be able to reproduce a selection of them here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Margaret Mellis and St Ives Modernism


Margaret Mellis spent only seven years in Cornwall, yet this period would prove the most formative in a long and wide-ranging career. Fear of impending war brought her to Carbis Bay, near St Ives, in 1939 and the breakup of her marriage in 1946 drove her away.
Of course Mellis was not alone in finding sanctuary in the south west, but she and her husband, the painter and critic Adrian Stokes, were the first of their Hampstead circle to move to Cornwall.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Open Studios Cornwall 2013
Margaret Deans and Julia Cooper

Colour has always been a catalyst for Margaret Deans, and is also linked to turning points in her life. Formerly a garden designer, her experience of bereavement signalled a turning away from the pastel shades she had loved. Bright, vibrant colours began to dominate her planting schemes. Some years later, during a prolonged and uncertain period of recovery from illness, she took up painting. From then on, colour became a life-affirming element of the creative process.