I work on projects – bodies of work focussed on one area of the countryside or one aspect of a place – maybe the wildlife or the route of a river, a village, peninsula or mountain. In order to make my paintings, drawings and sculptures I need to really get the feel of a location – a distillation or connection. I want to become intimate with that bit of the world. I’m not just looking for a view or trying to capture the topography, I want the whole gambit of factors reeled in – that “sense of place”.
Landmark properties are perfect for this – they give you access into the history of a building or area and often into the contemporary world of a location as well. Without the distractions of TV or radio (and often telephone free as well) I soon become embedded into the place and get stuck in to making my work.
We have stayed in numerous Landmark properties – all centred on or acting as focal points for individual projects. And of course, while I am there I often end up drawing or painting the buildings or their sites as well. Some have been many hours travel away from our home in Cornwall, some very close – Lower Porthmeor where we have stayed many times is only eleven minutes from door to door!
To wake in the morning, listening to the building wake as well, to become aware of a new world outside as you stare through fresh eyes at some architectural quirkiness, some bit of vernacular is all so exciting. To feel the building’s character, to sense all those years and people invested in the fabric is a rewarding start to a day. The imagination is unleashed; the questioning starts and with that there is the potential to create on that day in those extraordinary surroundings.
Cottages, farmhouses, towers, mills, gatehouses, castles, by rivers, on mountainsides, in streets, isolated down long tracks, on the coast feet almost in the sea and under the trees in forests; all have been experienced and exploited to reveal their secrets and character. Such a diversity, all sitting somewhere in this one country, these lands of Britain and now all saved from the ravages of time, our shared history, for all of us to enjoy.