Monday, September 7, 2009

St Ives 1997

Low tide at St Ives, Saturday 6 Sept, 1997 (afternoon), Dolly Pentreath

St Ives seems to be popping up on several blogs at the moment, and the photos and videos that have been posted have reminded me of the trip we made there 11 years ago. The trip to St Ives was a few days of a 4 month stay that we had in the UK. My Uncle and Aunt in Oxford, kindly acted as a home away from home for us. I was a painter in those days, and hadn't yet come to clay, so I took sketchbooks with me, journals to write in, and a simple old style fountain pen to write and to draw with. I drew and wrote almost constantly, filling 3 sketchbooks, and 3 or 4 journals.

As a change from my usual photos and pottery blurb, I thought I would post a few sketches of St Ives.

Looking From St Peter's Street to Fish Street St Ives. 6th September 1997 (afternoon)

I loved the stone houses and the narrow streets. New Zealand plants seemed to grow well at St Ives, and NZ flax, cabbage trees, and Pittosporum added their texture and greeness to the granite and slate.

Thursday 4th September 1997. St Ives from our B&B window. Number 4 Sea View Terrace.

Our top floor Bed and Breakfast room had a lovely view over the town, and I made several attempts at drawing it, both by day and by night. "The sea wall did more than surround a small patch of water, it also seemed like arms that nursed the town."(quote from my journal)

5th September 1997, Friday Morning 6 AM, St Ives

Sunday 7th September 1997, Last morning St Ives. Before Breakfast with sound of Church Bells summoning the Faithful. Low Bell C of E, High bell Methodist.

5th September 1997. Chimney pots and cabbage trees from Dame Barbara Hepworth's Studio, St Ives.

Friday, 5th September 1997. Dame Barbara Hepworth's Studio and Garden.

Friday 5th September 1997, Dame Barbara Hepworth's Workshop, St Ives.

Part of a page of my St Ives journal.

"One day we watched a little boy of between 2 and 3 playing without clothes in a large puddle on the beach. He splashed the water with both arms rotating backwards. He discovered his shadow on the sand and found that it did not follow him when he turned a slow circle on the spot, twisting his head around to keep an eye on his shadow. He discovered that his shadow had arms that would move up and down when he moved his arms, and a tummy that would stick out, when he stuck out his. When a noisy gaggle of gulls wheeled over him, the boy was ecstatic, moving his own arms to test the air, and fluttering them in imitation of the flock, for all the world like a featherless chick. Great fun to watch him." (quote from my St Ives Journal)

It would be nice to be free like that little boy. What a lightness of spirit and an abundance of joy!

For a look at more visits to St Ives, hop over to ang design blog, and A Devonshire Pottery. Also Ron of visited St Ives fairly recently, as did paul the potter.


Arkansas Patti said...

Peter, I just loved your sketch visit to St.Ives. I do so hope you have not forsaken the pen and paint completely, you are very talented.
Ah for the freedom and uncomplicated life fo a three year old.

Angie said...

Love your sketches ... the first one is so atmospheric.

Ron said...

Peter, these are wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I do wish I'd have done some drawing while in England. We were in too much of a rush most of the time. It's a shame really. Anyhow I also wanted to let you know that I saw a Morris Minor here in Shelby, North Carolina last week. It was red and in very nice condition. I did not have my camera with me. I thought of the one I had seen here as it was the first I had heard of that vehicle. Quite a surprise to see one in my hometown.

Jewels said...

Hello Peter! Your drawings are wonderful! They have a romantic feel about them.
As far as being free…I say go for it! You just have to empty your mind of all worries, breathe in and let the beauty around you fill you up, flap your arms (personally I like to spin like a whirling dervish), and become entranced with happiness (clothes are recommended but optional). Of course, I realize this is a little easier for me since I am surrounded by 100 acres of woods and don’t run the risk of being seen by neighbors (the wild animals don’t seem to mind). Have fun!

Peter said...

Hi Patti,
Putting this selection of sketches from St Ives has been great. I was amazed at how much writing and drawing I did on that trip, and a bit sad that the results have stayed hidden away for so long. I need another adventure with my pen and sketchbooks. I seemed to need the stimulation of the journey to make me produce the work!

Hi Angie. The "atmospheric" sketch was done in some haste and with a lot of nervous energy as I was aware that the tide had turned and was coming in, and I had to draw with my back to the sea!

Hi Ron, glad you were able to see the sketches, and hope they brought back happy memories for you too. I found the pen and a good hard backed sketch book that I could hold in my hands was a marvelous way of drawing. I could draw in all sorts of public places with not too much interruption from onlookers. I used a non waterproof ink and was able to spit on a paper towel and produce tonal areas by rubbing the paper around the drawing, or by smudging with my fingers. Messy..., yes, and slightly unhygienic, but really portable! What fun you seeing a Morris Minor in North Carolina... I think there is the makings of a poem in that!

Hello Jewels,
Really lovely to hear from you. I've been missing you, and your comment tells me why; you have a way of lifting the spirits and bringing joy with your sense of fun and humour! I'll do my best to spin around a bit, and flap my arms up and down. Emptying the mind is a challenge for me, but it does need it. Fortunately we do have some trees here, not 100 acres, but just about enough if I chose the right moment!

cindy shake said...

Wonderful drawings! Your drawings have such an illustrative quality -your style lends itself to illustrating children's books, maybe one featuring the wonderful Blue Morris Minor!! Could be a great adventure :o)

Peter said...

"More adventures of Mildred the Blue Morris Minor", as a working title that could just get the writing and drawing juices going! In the story I think Mildred would have to head North to Alaska... and have some delightful sculptural modifications whilst there! I've just looked at your new blog post and seen the wonderful things that you have done to a bicycle wheel, imagine starting a sculpture with a Morris Minor!
Good to hear from you. I'm really enjoying your blog.

Linda Starr said...

Wow Peter, you are a multi-talented person, wonderful sketches and the stories behind each is great too. Ginger is quite a large cat isn't she?

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
I dabble at many things... probably not always a good idea, but it makes life more interesting!

Ginger is large, and I suspect that it is not entirely a case of having "big bones", I think that the food intake rather exceeds the amount of calories burned off. Some would say that I share that problem! As to gender, "she's" a boy! However, he is a well rounded guy in outlook as well as in figure,and is very much in touch with his feminine side!

Dad said...

Lovely blog Peter! I'm so glad you've revisited the visit.
11 years is FAR TOO LONG.
Time to revisit in person AND take in Oz (and US?) on the way.

mudheartpottery said...

What beautiful sketches Peter, must bring back wonderful memories - they are so much more expressive than photos. I think children can show us how joyous life is and prompt us to look at it with fresh eyes.

Peter said...

Thanks Dad,
Glad you enjoyed the blog. Mmmm, a revisit would be a very interesting adventure!

Hi Lyn,
Thank you for that. Children are rather marvelous reminders of how to live life and savour the moment. It is fun to watch children in the rain, splashing through puddles, or kicking their way through piles of autumn leaves, or standing with their arms out wide on windy days like fledgling birds!

Pat - Arkansas said...

My dear Peter -- your sketches are marvelous! What a variety of talents you have!

Thanks for bringing me such enjoyment.

I loved the "spitting and smudging" bit in your reply to a comment.

Peter said...

Dear Pat,
Lovely to hear from you again! Sorry the comment moderation thing was on when you commented, I've set it to kick in automatically after a few days. The "spitting and smudging" does work really well, but I do wonder if my drawings should carry a health warning from the Surgeon General!