Posted by: glandorescilly | 07/05/2011

ArtScilly 2011 begins!

Today is officially the beginning of ArtScilly 2011 and there’s a busy week ahead for artists and gallery owners on the islands. This evening saw the ‘Meet the Artists’ social event at the Phoenix Craft Studios at Porthmellon, organised by Oriel Hicks and attended by a range of craftspeople as well as many members of the general public. Steve was out painting until well gone 6pm so, by the time we’d grabbed a bite to eat and changed into respectable garb, it was about 7.15pm when we set off to walk to Porthmellon. The wind was brisk and the sky was threatening rain from grey clouds.

There were already a lot of people present when we greeted Oriel and wandered around downstairs a bit, peeping into some of the studio/workshops down there. Steve bought me a purple swirl necklace from Paula Smith of ScillySmiths for Christmas and it’s very pretty. Then we headed up stairs where the ‘Bar’ was set up in the corner and a table with ‘nibbles’ was laid out nearby. Having acquired a glass of wine for Steve and one of apple juice for me, we chatted to various people and looked around.

ArtScilly 2011 social evening

ArtScilly 2011 social evening

We left at about 9.15am, just as the heavens opened with a fairly sharp downpour and walked briskly home, getting quite wet on the way. The rain was just stopping when we reached home. Steve headed into the Gallery to prepare the art materials for his informal Sketching Morning tomorrow – brush pens, water pens, clipboards, paper and fine water spray bottles. He has at least five attendees and the weather forecast is looking good – sunshine and southerly winds between 20 – 30mph.

This afternoon, he spent his third session working on a painting at Thomas Porth (Sharks Pit) just in front of Grenofen where someone has planted a cluster of small Echium candicans on either side of the beach path. This plant is otherwise known as ‘Pride of Madeira’, and is the bush echium with its candelabra shape and vivid blue-purple blooms. The plants still have a lot of growing to do but they’ve been resplendent in spires of bloom for about a week to ten days now. The spires are made up of hundreds of tiny flowerets all arranged around the central stem and are very intricate.

Detail of echium watercolour

Detail of echium watercolour

The painting probably still has two or three afternoons work to go and, as yet, there are only two echium spires but no background or real foreground. It’s not a traditional method of working in watercolour but it works for Stephen and it worked for his late aunt, Nan Heath, who used the same technique for her softer, less detailed watercolour paintings.

On Monday morning, one of us will be manning the ‘ArtScilly Hub’ at Tregarthen’s Hotel just by the Harbour in Hugh Town, where information and artwork will be on display to help visitors make the most of ArtScilly week. If he decides to take this ‘shift’, Steve is planning to take along his rucksack and actually do a painting of the view from the window. We are also scheduled to be on duty on Friday morning so, if he needs to, he will take along his rucksack again and either do more to the painting or even complete it. I’ll be looking after Glandore Gallery while he’s busy.

Finally, a photo I took of a particularly large Echium candicans at the entrance to Jacksons Hill, off Church Road leading up to St. Marys’ Health Centre and Hospital. Spectacular hardly does it justice!

Echium candicans and blue sky, April 2011

Echium candicans and blue sky, April 2011


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