I first encountered Prussia Cove at Cape Cornwall about 30 years ago. We lived in Sheffield in those days and took most of our holidays in spring and autumn in west Cornwall. This painting on paper ‘Fishermens Hut’ (about 20x20cm, so quite small), is one that I have had to wait three decades to paint. I absolutely knew, back in about 1990, what I wanted the painting to be about but somehow didn’t have the confidence to get down to it and have a go. I knew when I walked around this place that it had a very special meaning for me, although I didn’t understand what that meaning was at the time (and still don’t entirely!).
I was a practicing architect in 1992 and it was probably around 1990 that I first visited Cape Cornwall. Many people are drawn to this elemental environment that can change character completely depending on the weather. Here, the sea’s mood is rarely completely benign. The cape faces west and takes the full brunt of an ocean that is uninterrupted until you reach the Americas. Its a fairly raw existence for vegetation, flora and fauna. The buildings, which as an architect then, and as an ex architect now (one who can never really forget), excited and inspired me. They have to be robust in the extreme to survive. If you’re a painter who wants to paint ‘en plein air’ down there, on any day that isn’t the occasional tranquil summer’s day, you have to be pretty robust to survive too.
What I’ve painted is only granite and vegetation, but what this place means to me is that man’s interventions here are humble and transitory. Its taken thousands of years to learn how to keep the rain and wind out when subject to forces far greater than ours.
I need to sell most of what I paint, but I think I’ll keep this one.