Discovery in the landscape by Hugh St Aubyn

Part two of exploring creavity by Hugh St Aubyn

The theme of place continued in the talk through a discussion of another work by, Faye, carried out on a pilgrimage trail; the St Michael’s Way where visitors were encouraged to carry stones along the trail up a hill and leave them at the top with a view of the Mount. She asked the participants to imagine the stone represented an issue, problem, pain, or person that no longer served them. Carrying the stone accessed a ritual side of experience that spoke of hope, love, and purpose. This physical participation in the landscape helped change people’s perceptions by encouraging them to slow down, listen to the environment, and their reactions to it.


Faye Dobinson, The Weight of Experience

The importance of place to making art was stated at the end of the talk:

 “I believe that it is time spent in that space that enables its richness to unfold in what becomes an archaeological dig that constantly throws up new finds. The details of the landscape are released through time and the process of making, both deepening our experience of it and embedding us within it.”

After hearing the talk it made me think about how often we are on the move or trying to find a solution to a problem, making landscape and places work for us. Putting time aside to get to know the landscape that has been created and making works of art informed by this landscape allows for a more meditative process of seeing what is waiting there, not rushing past what may be present but hidden. Faye talked about how she just knows when a work is completed, that after months of obsessing and working on something one day it will just feel finished. I wondered how much of this working until it felt completed,  was an interaction and conversation with the environment itself, that something would be communicated to the artist when they had really become immersed in the terrain.

Listening to our surroundings can help us feel at ease with them and through this awareness unexpected answers are discovered. Again the work of Faye and her colleagues at the Newlyn School of Art brought inspiration and provocation allowing me to draw many links between space and organisational decision making.

The Newlyn School of art provides, painting courses in Cornwall, taught by many of the most respected artists working in Cornwall today. Newlyn is a famous artists colony, in 1900 there were 130 artists working there, an extra train had to be put on each year to take the hundreds of paintings up to the Royal Academy for the Summer show. Many of the School’s courses take place on the coastline between Newlyn and Land’s End and Newlyn itself looks over to St Michael’s Mount.

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