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.
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John Piper. Artist, Muralist and Sculptor. Based in Bideford, North Devon.