I recently took a trip over to West Cornwall using St Ives as my base. It was a very busy trip, and I managed to do a fair bit of work all over the western part of the county, dodging the odd North Atlantic gale as I went.
They say that the light in St Ives is of a particular quality, and looking at how the town is laid out, you can see why.
It is surrounded on all sides by a very gently sloping sea above very light coloured sand. This light is then pushed back onto the buildings, and as many are daubed with whitewash, the affect is extenuated. It really is a stunning site and was well worth the effort.
Here is my own version of the view from the apartment that I was using in St Ives on my last painting trip.
The initial drawings for this painting I did from the window, which was handy as some days it was raining accompanied by high winds, so I could carry on working in the warm and dry.
This framed drawing is available to buy here
A few things to notice in St Ives
Over to the left hand side you can see the tower of St La’s Church. The present granite built church has been here since 1434. Inside is worth a look too. A lovely cool interior featuring a 15th century granite is carved with four angels holding shields. A statue by Barbara Hepworth and a fine painting of one of my favourite artists, Brian Pearce.
On the far hill is St Nicholas chapel. It was built up there in medieval times to look over the fisherman of St Ives. I can imagine that the local fisherman felt they were looked over far too much, as its main use was for the ‘Preventative Men’ or Customs Officers as they are known today. It seems, the local people were a mite too adept at acquiring luxury foreign goods at knocked down prices.
Over on the far right is Smeaton’s Pier. A bit of an oddity as it is a pier with two light houses. The first, rather squat light house was built where the original pier ended, and the second light house was built on an extension added to the pier some years later. Why then never got rid of the old, now redundant, light house is anybody’s guess.
The Sloop Inn St Ives
This pub is situated on the wharf of St Ives and is one of the oldest Inns recorded in Cornwall. It is said to date back to 1313.
I could see this Inn from the window of my apartment, and no matter what the weather, no matter what time of day, there was always someone outside having a beer admiring the view and perhaps smoking a cigarette. On sunny days, customers seem to pour out of the place and spill over the wall onto the beach beyond seemingly there to settle to watch the day go by.
This was the view I wanted to catch. Just the passing day. I worked first on a loose drawing of the pub then on the visitors. I especially liked the partially inebriated, partially dozing customers frequenting the pub’s bench tables. Some looked like they had been sitting there for weeks.