St Ives 15.3

Today was beautiful weather and Leon and I went on a hike, more of the Tinners Way, the next stage West picking up where we left off from the last hike we did. The weather was blue skies all day, cold but you could feel the sun, and the wind got calmer throughout the day. We walked past quite a few ancient sites: Mulfra Quiot, Bodrifty Village, 9 Maidens Stone Circle, Men-An-Tol, Parish, Men Scryfa.

Bodrifty Village was the most mind boggling of all the sites. Although we didn’t actually find it. We thought we could see it just behind a large patch of brush.

What I found fascinating was seeing the landscape and knowing people lived here long ago. That they lived here and only here – they were not enmeshed in a web of internet, transport, monoculture that meant that place loses its value. These people living here approx.7 thousand years ago were, I can imagine, far more of the landscape than the locals living here today. What customs did they have? What did they worship and how did they worship? What local language did they have? What were the lives like of women my age? What on earth did they do all winter long!? Was it a happy existence?

Because the sun was out all day the landscape took on a very different atmosphere. I felt like the landscape was in tourist mode, were everything’s ‘lovely’ and ‘I wonder how much it would cost to live here’. When we were walking on Saturday, the same landscape was shrouded in cloud, it rained most of the day and the wind howled. I felt then that I was seeing the landscape as the locals did, the place felt mystical, mysterious, dark, scary. I think this landscape suits the grey windy days!

I did a lot of charcoal drawing which I’m glad about. Lots of material for the studio! There are some drawings I thought at the time of making that I could turn them directly into abstract paintings, inspired by the angles and shapes in the drawing.

A lot of the drawings included the sun in them. I want to explore this in painting, the rocks and the sun.

Wendell Berry’s suggestion of a cultural landscape and the actual landscape is fitting for the meaning filled rocks we saw today. I was made aware of how removed our cultural symbols of meaning are today from land, and how if one goes back in history, the land and cultural landscape become far more closely intertwined.

We watched the sunset from the car, after driving slightly further West.

I really got a sense of the scale of this part of England. Up on the moors we could see the sea on both sides, and at one point nearly 180 degrees around. This country became very obviously an island from this vantage.

I’m looking forward to laying all of the drawings out together on the floor in the studio tomorrow and looking at them together. It feels good to be collecting material here. I think I need to do more of that. šŸ™‚

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