Returning Home





I really enjoyed spending a relaxed few days back in Pembrokeshire over the festive period.  But crikey am I missing the blue skies and seas of Summer!  However, on waking one rather grey morning I challenged myself to go for a coastline wander and find some interesting colours and textures.  The above few photos are some interesting bits that I found.  Also, I really like the way they look in relation to each other. The contrast of natural and man-made I thoroughly enjoyed exploring, especially where the natural elements have impacted on the painted hulls of boats and painted outdoor text worn away by the elements.

Growing up in the wet wilds of South Pembrokeshire I spent a lot of time out walking beaches and coast, but the draw to escape to pastures new for learning, growing and fun was strong, as I’m sure many who grew up in similar back waters can relate to! However, coming back to visit for relaxed, peaceful days of roaring log fires, Mum’s cooking and the only night noises being those made my wild animals (as opposed to Bristol night owls), is truly blissful.  In those angst filled teenage I struggled to creatively engage with the sensual overload that was life, but being back in this truly stunning place I’m thriving on looking with new eyes on old haunts and landscapes. No wonder so many artists have flocked here to sit in the wind, rain, sun and snow and be inspired to create canvas after print after photograph of all that is to be found.  Although in a realm of rather twee landscapes and biscuit tin views I never felt particularly enthused as an art student in school (or rather the lure of the the bright lights of the Art History canon and YBAs was enough to distract from what was going on on my doorstep).

An artist who’s wonderful textural work I could spend hours pouring over (and resisting the urge to stroke and touch) is that of Brendan Stuart Burns .  I spent some time at Oriel Y Parc in St Davids gaining work experience in Art Gallery Education in 2009, where Burns was based as an artist in residence.  Unfortunately I wasn’t there on a day his studio was open for nosey folks, but I spent a few blissful stints with my nose pressed up against the glass drooling over the half finished canvases, pebbles and general paint splattered studio ephemera.  Burns is all about touch and the spiritual experience channelled in art. I truly want to dive into his vast off white canvases with their deliciously sculpted oil-scapes, chopped and splayed mounds of colour and pencil drawn shapes that accentuate the captivating depth of his worked paint. His response to the Pembrokeshire landscape is like no other. His unique aliveness fills me with great pride and affection for my home county and I am excited to spend more time exploring it with my adult (and inner child) eyes: taking inspiration from my roots.

“Painting is an Art, and Art is not vague production, transitory and isolated, but a power which must be directed to the improvement and refinement of the human soul”. Kandinsky

From a recent exhibition, Burns experiments with stitching together charcoaled paper.  I like the use hardy use of stitch, which appears so differently here to it’s use in textile art. It’s lines draw and connect layers of paper, with it’s earthy media.

The beautiful, minute detail of Burns work truly connects, for me, with the small moments and corner of visual life that I find in Pembrokeshire, and indeed everywhere. Don’t look at the sunset… turn around a look at the wall.

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius


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