Colours of Cornwall inspire Perse artists

The light and landscapes of St Ives provided a beautiful backdrop for an inspiring Perse Sixth Form art trip.

Students spent several days following in the footsteps of influential abstract artists, such as Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, who were enticed to live and create in the Cornish resort during the mid-20th Century.

Their introduction was a sketching tour with local artist Greg Humphries, exploring key concepts of those Modernist artists who formed a prominent movement centred on the coastal town.

Hepworth’s legacy is especially linked to St Ives and the students had the chance to visit her former home and studio and learn more about her life and work and discover more about the materials and techniques used in her sculptures. They then visited the Tate St Ives and saw an exhibition of Hepworth’s pieces.

The students also enjoyed a day-long workshop with the St Ives School of Painting, allowing them to respond creatively to the local landscape.

After a morning of sketching at The Island, actually a rocky headland on the edge of St Ives’ town centre overlooking the sea, they returned to the studio at Porthmeor Beach to work on their projects using a variety of media. These works will be on display in the Pelican Gallery in the near future.

Perse Head of Art Ben Keeble was delighted art students had been able to take part in their first residential trip since the Covid lockdown.

He said: “We wanted to give the students a chance to get ideas for their coursework, but also engage with materials they wouldn’t normally use and find out more about this community of artists and how they responded to the light and landscape.

“I feel they really understood the context of the artists and their backgrounds and how they worked, as well as how a place can influence a movement of thinking. They worked very hard and got a tremendous amount out of it, as well as seeing some spectacular sunrises.”

You can discover more about Art at The Perse by watching our Artistic Endeavour series and other films on our YouTube channel here.


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