Artists Residency Award – Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall

I guess I should start at the beginning…

Whilst staying with the family in St Ives at Easter I went to a drop in life drawing class at the St Ives School of Art (which by the way I can highly recommend).

I noticed a poster inviting applications for Artists’ Residencies at Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall ( ).  Well most of you know how I feel about my beloved west country by now so the idea of a residency right on the sea was all too tempting…

Imagine my excitement when my application was accepted – yet little could I have known quite how amazing the whole experience was to be for me.  My first sighting of the studios and their position right above the rocks and waves on this incredibly rugged wrecking coast took my breath away – what more inspiration could I need?

In truth I really needed to re-find myself as I was starting to struggle – the pressure of entering my 3rd and final year at The Art Academy and to start working up a defining body of work for the Graduation Show was beginning to tell.  The opportunity to focus completely and to throw myself into my art with no distractions could not have come at a better time.

At the beginning of the second day though I started to panic.  Despite the studios themselves and their location exceeding even my wildest expectations, nothing was happening within me.  I’m not too sure exactly what I had been expecting – a lightening bolt or something? – but no; nothing…

This felt ridiculous – and to be fair I kept telling myself what everyone had been saying – not to expect anything and to just enjoy and ‘play’… In the end what I decided to do was work on a dog portrait bust that I’d already started.  Luckily that was the turning point – I never did get to work more on it.  As soon as I took the ‘pressure’ away my creativity seemed to start bursting forward (phew).

I’d taken loads of different materials with me so that I could go in any direction that took me.  I started sketching with charcoal and even wire and then started experimenting with papier-mache, wire mesh and plaster.

A number of forms started to emerge from all this ‘play’ and a particular a wire sketch started to resonate with me.  In its broadest sense it’s a form that I’d previously been looking at but it started to take on a new life – there was something in the way the strands of wire harmonised and started to work with one another that grabbed my attention.

Ultimately after some tweeking and experimenting the wire sketch developed into a work in mixed media that I call ‘Reverie’.  You can see that it’s inspired by the female form but then there’s another element to it which I believe is my reaction to the sea…

The other work I developed was ‘Harmony’ – again inspired by the female figure but the s-line profiles, St Ives blue colouring and organic core owe something to the sea and rocks I think.

By way of a diversion and also by necessity (London to Paris cycle looming) I took my bike with me.  I did the 30 mile round trip to St Ives via Zennor along the coast road a coupe of times.  This, although arduous, was simply spectacular – the rugged torrs to one side and the bright blue sea to the other – truly and unbelievably awesome and totally inspiring.  I also took my surfboard but this didn’t get a look in – other than the cycle rides I was totally drawn into being creative.  If I wasn’t making something I was sat mesmerised staring out to sea and watching as the drama unfolded – the sea and the sky here constantly change.

One or two of my other ideas I hope to take forward too but suffice to say my stay at Brisons Veor was something of a turning point and a time in my life I shall never forget.

An extract form my journal from the day I arrived says it all;  ”…a totally amazing place – … so many colours, all hues of blue, grey and green with gorgeous white tipped foaming waves… the sky and the sea are constantly changing’‘ 

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1 Response to Artists Residency Award – Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall

  1. Angela says:

    Really enjoyed your description of your creative process Gary, Really enlightening (and inspiring). The pieces look very striking and great to read about. If you get a chance, take your wheels along to the Bissoe trail or the old gunpowder works at Ponsonooth (you are probably far too busy, but worth a look next time.) Enjoy the rest of your residency.

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