Holidays blues

If I have to choose what to keep in a desert island I will ask for an endless pen and paper kit! That will keep me going until I am rescued or if I am being stranded in a paradise island, until my bones are found by an intrepid explorer. Sketchbooks are the blood and flesh of my art, and I’ve collected so many around my life. Indeed, during the last few months -in my process of coming out of the closet- I’ve aimed at completing each of the sketchbooks for any journey started, and Cornwall and its blues is a great place to sketch away and dreaming!


Rock Goddesses (Liquid Acrylic on Hand made paper)

Series Holidays Blues by Beatriz Acevedo


Cornwall is a magical place and so inspiring. It is not surprising that major art movement have taken place there: the modernist movement initiated by Patrick Heron, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, to the most whimsical folk art of Alfred Wallis, to the ethereal colourist Winifred Nicholson. All of them inspired by the beautiful colours of what has been called the English Riviera. And somehow I am glad I took pen and paper only, because thus I had time to absorb the intense colours of the magical sea. From deep turquoises, to light emerald blues, to dark payne blue greys, peppered by coastal paths and rocks of intense beauty: mauve, magenta and golden yellow of heathers and succulents, dancing with the luminous rocks bottle green, serpentine, or almost bright blacks of the wet rocks caressed by white foamy waves. It is just superb!

Barbara Hepworth Garden (with Yuccas and Palms) Barbara Hepworth Garden (Liquid Acrylic on Hand made paper)

Series Holidays Blues by Beatriz Acevedo

Apart of that, all Cornwall is like a big gallery… every shop, cafe, or restaurant exhibit the prolific work of many talented artists… it is just breathtaking! Important galleries and museums, like the marine Tate St Ives, which big windows frame the almost unbelievable opalescent sea of St Ives; or the carefully curated Cornwall Contemporary  in Penzance, just around the corner of the hyper modernist Newlyn Gallery and The Exchange which at the time was exhibiting the work of abstract painter Sandra Blow. It is so refreshing to see how the work of key female painters is being celebrated and exhibited across the world: Sandra Blow was influenced by the abstract painting of her time in the 1950s and 1960s, while keeping a palette inspired by Renaissance Italian painting. Her work is bold and large: big canvases of textures and colourful configurations.

Another interesting aspect is that there is a sort of “Cornish aesthetics” favouring certain colours: a marine palette of pale greys, pearl, pink or algae green in a deep blue, illuminated sometimes by sand yellow, lemonish greens or intense pinks. Also, there is a cornish style of still life in which wild flowers are For instance, the work of Emma Dunbar combines the whimsical with exquisite and almost naif still lifes: a nice legacy of Winifred Nicholson and the wonderful Mary Fedden,  located in Cornwall with fish and sheep. Alongside Emma Dunbar, the abstract work of Maggie Mathews also conveys the blues of Cornwall: the little details, the huge rocks. It’s all truly inspiring. Many other female artists seem to find her inspiration in Cornwall, for instance Janet Lynch’s “Cautionary Tails and Other Paintings” seem to explore the intimate feminine through colour and layers of atmospheric meaning.

Totems on the seaTotems on the Sea

(Liquid Acrylic on Hand made paper)

Series Holidays Blues by Beatriz Acevedo

My sketchbook brims with lines capturing the filigree of the landscape… the rocks, the blue sea, intense… but how to capture the warm and the sun hitting the golden sands against a turquoise cerulean sea? or the brilliant almost vibrating rocks of Kynance Cove? the quilt of greens of pastures in which fluffy sheep gently graze… or the energy of swimming on liquid emerald, salty crests on the playful waves? Perhaps it is the mood of holy days… the sacred days in which we dedicate time to ourselves, to think or not to think, to carry the 10 novels that will remain untouched, only to be replaced by the lazy days watching sunsets… the collection of wild flowers awaiting classification and identification, nicely ironed between planks. Days of drinking tons of cups of tea, eating cakes, scones and pastries or simply enjoying fish and chips sitting at the harbour… it is all so gentle, and you become other, a kinder person: detached from your daily roles life seems so happy…. how then to keep this feeling for the rest of the year until next summer? That’s a challenge!

the dancing boats

The Dancing Boats

(Liquid Acrylic on Hand made paper)

Series Holidays Blues by Beatriz Acevedo

Although I made a couple of attempts at painting during the holidays, it is here at my studio that the colours are taking a new life. Almost all weekend I’ve been just dripping paint and collecting memories. Re-interpreting and re-creating my sketchbook, smiling at the happy memories, and translating them into images: a party of boats dancing with the waves; a chorus of mermaids singing mariachis for my friends; totems of stones standing the tide in tiny coves; or the majestic rocks around LIzard in the deep blue, sea blue, marine blue of the days. It is almost like being possessed… apart of some few domestic chores, I’ve spent all the time in the studio… posessed, inmersed in ultramarine and ceruleans, dancing with cobalt, viridian and teal hues… listening to BBC Radio 6 (the serendipitous program by Iggy Pop about “Blue”), and clinging tightly to my holidays blues.


Totem Marino

Liquid acrylic on handmade paper

By Beatriz Acevedo


One thought on “Holidays blues

  1. Pingback: Los Dos lados del Mar – The two sides of the Sea | Artist and Educator

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