Depending on your attitude (whether you’re a realist or a romantic) you would be forgiven for thinking we mean holing up in a near-derelict studio stroke asbestos-lined-shell, eating tins of beans, huddled round seven shades of oil based vermilion red trying to keep warm. However, for the sake of this article we’ll be looking at the life of an artist through the most rose tinted glasses you can imagine; after all this could be your holiday.

Many people know that St Ives and its surrounding peninsula are famous for harbouring artists of varied disciplines; from painters, potters, poets and writers. All have been drawn to this very dramatic and wild tip of the country. Even before the painters born out of the aptly named St Ives School, this area is renowned for its creative output and inspirational nature.

In 1811 J.M.W. Turner along with Henry Moore took a train off the main branch line to visit this coastal town and were met with a rare and remarkable quality of light; of which Turner was a master of rendering. This unusual light quality, piercingly bright and cool, cemented the sub-tropical oasis that is St.Ives on the map as an artists haven.

Together with the element shaped coastline, the moor and the remnants of industry scattering the landscape there is a balance of both softness as well as toughness. Why else is Cornwall synonymous with artistic endeavours? Geographically, Cornwall is cut off from the rest of country, out the way of trend, convention and all the other barriers that constrict artists and their vision. Cornwall offered them artistic freedom as it could do for you. That and really, really good cider.

Picture this; you, with your sketchbook and assortment of paints, pencil and pens tucked under your seat gazing out the window as the train trundles next to a symmetrical vista of green, and blue. You can smell the sea air but you can’t yet see it. Until you do. Swathes of golden sand, white sea foam rolling rhythmically in to shore and the palm trees, yes palm trees jutting out along the stations exit. Seagulls call overhead floating on thermals, the smell of freshly baked pasties waft up winding streets, their pastry flakes fluttering down between the cobbles. We said romantic and rose tinted didn’t we.

Whether you’re considering driving or indeed taking undoubtedly one of the most scenic train journeys in the UK you’re going to want to refresh yourself, pause, and prepare for a day of inspiration and expression. We could recommend the aptly named Cafe Art but we want you to take a moment of mindfulness, no distractions, just you in a new place; Mount Zion Coffee it is. Small cups, big taste, bring your own cake.

A trip to St Ives wouldn’t be complete, whether you’re an artist or appreciator, to a gallery of some sorts, there are many to visit including Barbara Hepworth’s Sculpture Garden. Now we know inspiration can come from anywhere but a trip to the Tate, especially since its £20M refurbishment, has an air of authority about it. It’s quite easy to spend a whole day here, whether you’re wandering through the exhibits, taking part in a workshop or taking in spectacular views but just remember why you’re here. To live like an artist, not a critic.

From here why not walk down to the harbour, through white washed granite lined streets, bustling shops and teaming cafes. You’re itching to get your tools out and create especially after feeding your mind with iconic and unusual influences; but don’t settle til you’ve found your unique point of view. Let the caffeine and cake carry you that bit further; it could be Bamaluz Beach, salt encrusted surfer’s hair, the aforementioned pasty crumbs or perhaps you feel the creative call of one of St.Ives most charming Inns?

The Sloop has always been a bastion of character, a haunt of painters such as Grier, respite for sailors, seaman and weathered walkers of the coast. Perhaps it’s here where you sketch, write, ponder; where you’re mind connects dots and pours out new creations. It could be thirsty work.

Artists need their sleep, whether you’re exhibiting in the Tate or would rather be painting on the walls outside it; a St Ives holiday cottage, quaint, cosy and comfortable let’s your brain compute the days the activities and frees your mind up for the next day of enriching experiences.

By: Tony Townsend On:26th January 2018

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