Spring/Summer 2024

June 21, 2024

I can hardly believe that 2024 is nearly half way through already! This has been a year of intense activity, with the exciting news that I had been elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours coming in April, there was hardly time to pause before the launch of my new online course in May. I’m absolutely thrilled that so many of you have taken part in the course and I’ve received such lovely feedback that it’s spurred me on to look again at the possibilities for in-person workshops in the coming future. This means that the second half of 2024 will be dedicated to renovating a teaching space for such purposes…

In the meantime, and following hot on the heels of all this, my latest solo exhibition at Tremenheere Gallery, Penzance opens on July 6th and runs until August 3rd. ‘With a Single Step’ is a little different from my previous shows as it was born from a rather curious story…

All journeys start with a single step and this one started with a painting by Henry Scott Tuke called The Missionary Boat of 1894, currently held in the Falmouth Art Gallery collection. I was struck by how this work encapsulated the scale of who we are in our surroundings – the scale of the small approaching vessel to the larger ship towering above and in turn the scale of the yawning sea behind them both, further defined by a tiny ship on the horizon.

My whole approach to landscape and seascape painting has always been characterised by trying to realise my own sense of scale in my environment. The strange comfort derived from understanding our insignificance among the vastness of nature is a common thread throughout my work, but something always brings me back to the communities that edge these experiences – the fishing coves and sailing ports, the lone lighthouses and the coastal villages on lanes down to the harbour. I wanted to produce an exhibition in homage to all these people and places, so reflective of Cornwall and its history.

What I didn’t know when I started this journey was that the figure in the little boat of Tuke’s painting was a man named James Canning Badger, Chaplain with the Sailors Society in Falmouth from 1887 – 1916. Chart & Compass magazine wrote of him that “what he does not know about the idiosyncrasies of sailors, fishermen and their kith and kin is hardly worth trying to learn.” Chaplain Badger lived on Quay Street in the Seaman’s bethel and his pulpit was made from the bow of a ship. Badger happens to be my middle name so with mild curiosity I looked him up as I was also living in Falmouth at the time. And with that step I discovered my Great Grandfather. I had no idea that for many years I had been living less than a mile from this ancestor’s home, who so characterised the maritime nature of the town and elements of coastal life that have inspired my work.

So it turns out that this exhibition is also a homage to family, heritage and all the ties that lie in the blood for generations, steering a course home.

I shall be in the gallery for the opening of the exhibition on Saturday July 6th from 12pm onwards so if any of you are in the area please do come and visit. Tremenheere is set in acres of beautiful sculpture gardens and has a lovely restaurant and garden centre to boot so why not make a day of it? I look forward to seeing you there!

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