Art Adventures In Cornwall

I spent 10 days in Cornwall this Spring, with half of this time working intensively alongside other artists on a ‘retreat’ at the St Ives School of Painting. The studios are right next to Porthmeor Beach, so a lovely place to go to work!

I found that there were only 5 of us plus lead artists Ilker Cinarel and Camilla Dixon. They were both totally inspirational and forced us all out of our comfort zones while being very supportive.

Back home I’m largely working on my art alone, so it was great to be able to discuss our work and also to be encouraged to talk and write about the processes of being creative. I now find myself much more engaged with all the preparatory work which goes into a finished painting – sketching, writing ideas down, observing, experimenting and just spending time in a creative space. Where I sometimes used to feel that I was prevaricating instead of getting on with ‘work’, I now realise that all these things are probably the most important part of the art making process!

The lead artists gave us lots of starting points and then we worked on our own projects in the studio or around the town and beaches. We were encouraged to work on large sheets of paper – for instance, one morning being sent out with 10 sheets of A2 paper clipped to a drawing board, a bottle of black ink and a stick. There were lots of sketchbook activities too. It amazed me how much I completed while I was there and it will provide me with lots of ideas in the weeks and months to come.

The other artists were also inspirational to work alongside. We went off and did our own things, or worked quietly in the studio, but in between there was lots of debate and we went off at 4pm and found an exhibition every evening, followed by drinks and then a meal together. I hope these become lasting friendships – we have continued to share our progress online.

It was very sad to get to the end of my stay, but it’s always nice to get home and I arrived fired up and ready to be creative!

Lesley Williams