Day 12 and final day at the cabin
My last day in the cabin, the time seems to have flown by, I had so many plans and so little time but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved and I’ve been able to spend some quality artist time in a fantastic location. My last visit was a little delayed by a visit to RHS Rosemoor to deliver some paintings for their annual September exhibition and then by a sat nav that seemed to think I was driving a tractor! It was a lovely sunny day to end my time in the cabin and with the exceptionally low tide the scenery was amazing! Please come along to the cabin on the 14th September for my one day residency exhibition where I will have all my work on display 10-3pm another opportunity to look around this amazing time capsule too if you haven’t been before.
Day 11 Cabin Residency
Well after the terrible weather yesterday the suns got its hat on again today 😀😎🌞☀️. Arrived back at the cabin to inspect my rain soaked watercolour from yesterday, to my surprise it looked quite good, very moody and stormy and drab, just like yesterday, I might even title it that “Yesterday” . Anyway to cut a long story short I added Lundy Island and some ocean and threw a bit more paint at it before spraying it at a distance with some waterfall water. Went for a walk and a swim in the tropical looking sea (not tropical temperature) and came back to the cabin to do some more work on my cabin painting. Good day to lead in to my last day tomorrow. ☹️
Day 10 Cabin residency
What a morning! Heavy rain, cold and miserable, yuk! Everything felt cold and damp, mainly because it was but never the less I decided to embrace the rain and start a new painting which not only did the rain not matter but it actually helped! I strategically placed watercolours on my paper and put it out in the rain for Mother Nature to add her twist! Not sure yet what the outcome will be but in keeping with my aim of giving all my work a sense of place this one not only has water from the beach waterfall below Bucks Mills but also water from the sky above Bucks Mills. Pictures show partially complete painting but tomorrow will tell when it’s finished drying and I add the details to bring it alive.
Day 9 Cabin residency
Set off early from the cabin this morning on a mission! That mission was a challenge I’d set myself to paint a picture with nothing more than a brush and a sheet of paper, everything else I’d have to source from the natural location. That location was the beach at Peppercombe where I had been looking from Bucks Mills at the prominent red cliffs hoping that I might be able to produce a painting with it. I now know after a bit of research that it’s burnt sienna, I had thought it might be raw sienna so not a bad guess. After a pretty tough 2.5 mile walk I arrived at this stunning location and headed for spot where the rock had fallen to the beach, all looks pretty precarious so I’m happy to not to have needed to go too close to cliffs. I took my lump of red rock down to the waterline where I found a suitable crucible shaped stone and crushed some pigment into it, so far so good. Now water, ah yes the sea! Pulled few small rocks out of the way to make a small pool of water as the tide was coming in and proceeded to create a lovely burnt sienna monotone painting of the beach and cliffs where the pigment was sourced. I really enjoyed the achievement of creating art using nothing but what’s available around me and the sense of place in this painting is really strong. Whilst walking back along the coast path to the cabin it somehow felt like I was carrying that actual place in my hand, a thousand times better than a photo where only the light from the location is captured, this way I’ve captured not only the light but the location itself! Oh and I just can’t resist an opportunity to balance seemingly impossible stones too! This one took me a while too.
Day 8 Cabin residency
Feels like I’m halfway through my time at the cabin but I only have 4 days left ☹️ Managed to complete my drawing of the cabin this morning and got quite a bit of painting done, seemed very cold today in the shade which was extending the drying time of my paints making progress slow. I’m pleased with it so far, lots more washes to build up on the cabin and walls and then get some of the greenery done. Hopefully finish it this week but I also have plans for some natural pigment paintings. Quite a few people about, lots of children and beach users, showed some interested visitors around the cabin but looking forward to a quieter day tomorrow collecting pigments.
Day 7 Cabin residency
Wow 7 days already! And my second open day. People on the doorstep today waiting for me to open, great enthusiasm for both the cabin and my work. Had quite a few visitors today so didn’t get much painting done but I did sit and make a start on a new painting of the cabin, this time looking up from the path down to beach. Decided to do a highly detailed watercolour on a lovely piece of hand made Saunders Waterford paper in a 17x11” size. Spent most of the time painstakingly drawing all the stones in the wall as accurately as possible. It’s amazing how the scenery changes here during the days as the tides come later each day and how the beach users seem to all arrive at the same time. Only thing I can’t quite work out is why the first thing the majority of people arriving on the beach do is start throwing stones! The sound of the stones crashing echoes through the whole village, it’s quite disrespectful really but I don’t think they realise how much noise it makes.
Day 6 Cabin residency
First of a two day open day weekend, lots of visitors interested in my work and the cabin, spent the day painting outside but had a bit of a problem with tiny biting flies! Never the less I met. Some very nice interesting people with lots of stories and information about the history and Judith & Mary also, some had even had contact with them and personally knew them. Thanks for coming in to see me if you made a visit it’s nice to have the support and encouragement not to mention the many complimentary comments about my work. Almost finished a small painting today, just needs some finishing touches.
Day 5 Cabin residency
Wow what a fantastic day here at Bucks Mills, sunny warm and beautiful! Made a start on a new painting today after trudging up the hill towards Peppercombe yesterday to find a spot to paint a view looking down on the village. I found a spot ok but it was precariously small and a little dodgy to be sitting painting from so I made do with a photo and painted back at the cabin. Had a couple of visits from friends which was nice and some interested visitors too. Topped the day off with a very pleasant late afternoon swim! Lovely.
Day 4 Cabin residency
Spent a very pleasant morning painting the view east along the beach at high tide. I went down for some water from the waterfall and the rolling waves were crashing up the beach which inspired me to get back to the cabin and capture the scene in some Bideford black. Ended up with a nice atmospheric painting. “The beach painted with the beach” the black pigment comes from the cliffs in the painting and the water from cliffs just out of the scene on my right. Went for a walk on the afternoon up the very steep coast path towards Peppercombe to capture some images of the village from above which will be my next painting.
Day 3 Cabin residency
Finished my first painting of the residency! Warmer weather speeded up the drying process and I’m starting to feel home making painting a pleasure. This finished painting is created using Cotman watercolours, natural water from the waterfall on the beach and some “Bideford Black” pigment from the nearby cliffs making a very unique and special artwork. I’ve also been painting another watercolour at the same time but it’s top secret at present for an upcoming exhibition so I’ll be sharing it at a later date. Met some people who actually knew one of the artists who lived here and have some of their original paintings, “yours are not dissimilar” was a comment he made, praise indeed! Looking forward to whatever tomorrow inspires me to paint.
John Piper. Artist, Muralist and Sculptor. Based in Bideford, North Devon.