TOR McINTOSH heads to St Ives in Cornwall, a town that oozes artistic heritage, to capture one of Britain’s favourite seaside views on canvas.
My paintbrush laden with Prussian blue, I hesitate in front of the easel that holds my blank canvas. Looking anxiously at my tutor, Doris Lindemann, I secretly hope she’ll show me what brush technique to use. Instead, with a knowing smile she reminds me: “It’s your painting, you make the decisions.” And she’s right; I want every brushstroke of my first landscape oil painting to be mine. Yet here I am on a painting course in St Ives, a town that oozes artistic heritage, and I’m suffering the painter’s equivalent of writer’s block.
At least I’m in the right place to find inspiration. For more than a century this west Cornwall fishing town has been a magnet for artists, many attracted by the town’s often-quoted unique quality of light. Artists whose names represent a roll call of 20th-century British art – Alfred Wallace, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron – all worked in St Ives and their success has helped turn the town into an artist’s mecca.
German-born Doris was lured to the town for similar reasons. An established landscape painter and past student of the acclaimed Irish School of Landscape Painting, she’s worked in St Ives as a full time painter, printmaker and tutor since 2000. She runs painting courses from her living room-cum-workshop, Ultramarine Studio, overlooking St Ives Bay.
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Published in BBC Countryfile, April 2010.