Cornwall has been a subject of quite a few of my pieces. It is one of those magical places that I wish to visit once. A place where the Mediterranean colors, warmth jump at you and wildly wrap you in its arms. A place where the open ocean’s depth is matched only by its ships’ mesmerizing audacity and dare. And although the weather is quite changeable and you’ll find everything from the bright sunshine to the darkest storms, it radiates an energy that is unparalleled. Every time I look at Kate Whiston’s Instagram posts I wish I was there running with her dogs. So until I do get to this wonderful corner of England I’ll do the next best thing: I’ll run wild with my fantasies and my paintings.

Last year I received a commission to paint a painting of a Cornish harbor. I looked through hundreds of reference images, but kept coming back to this one by Kate that just spoke to me the instant I laid eyes on it. The picture just summed up for me everything that I love in Cornwall, and everything that warms my heart and brings a smile to my face.

Something I loved about the original picture were the cars parked at the edge of the quay. It is that little something that you almost miss, almost take a pass at, but which ends up being so important. I wanted to reflect that same thing: just a hint of color – reflection perhaps – but something that adds interest to the harbor overall.

 

The dissipating line of trees — with its play on dark and light greens – plays a trick on the onlooker. It guides the eye toward the building and then right back again to the ships. Just as the ship will not have a quiet night out on a stormy sea, the observer will be in constant voyage around the scene.

 

The warm morning light, as it reflects off the main ship in the picture and the buildings behind it, radiates such energy in the piece!

 

I loved painting this part of the painting! Playing with the lights and darks; the shadows creeping up on a wall or hiding behind the bow of the ship. Playing with a rope that hangs in the dark, then comes to light, then goes back into hiding again. Or figuring out the many colors a reflection could actually have on a window.

 

I am convinced if such beautiful waters existed back in ancient Greece Narcissus would not have looked at his own reflection, but the ripples and depth of the bay. I’m afraid, however, he would have suffered much the same fate; for I – the mere mortal that I am – cannot stop staring at it either!

 

Padstow harbor with three ships (37 x 40 cm)

I had such an amazing time painting this picture! I had a Christmas carol playlist on repeat (lucky for Mr.AP he had his earplugs), an unusual but cheery December sunshine outside, cup after cup of Rooibos tea and lots and lots of inspiration. I played with textures, colors and brushes like I’ve never done before. Once the paint started running down the canvas and I just looked at it transfixed because it was just the most beautiful turquoise color I have ever seen.  And I think the experience was this amazing because I was able to let go and not think of the would of should of could of but rather just paint. And I swear with every stroke of the brush I felt the playful caress of the Cornish breeze.

 

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