Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Introducing Sarah Wimperis

When I was little, a very long time ago, there were two certainties in my mind.

The first was to "be an artist when I grew up" This cunning plan came from the fact that my family was peppered with artists all bearing the name Wimperis going far back into dusty history.

So it was a given, Sarah was going to be an artist. I was encouraged in this endeavor by my hugely enthusiastic mother, given little easels and paints and brushes on every gift giving opportunity, allowed up into my Grandmothers attic to draw using my Great Grandfathers ancient art materials.

So that was that and that was what I became.

The other must for me was that I would live my life in the place of my heart, Cornwall.

During my childhood, my folks had moved all over the country, it felt like every two years. This transitory life turned me into a clown at the various schools I went to. How to make friends: make them laugh, be good at drawing and be very very naughty. My despairing parents decided, early on, that what was called for was a sense of place, somewhere that we kids could judge how we were growing by our changing height compared to things like rocks and big cedar trees. Well that's what I thought they were doing as every summer, without fail, we spent weeks camping by the same beach in Cornwall.

That was it, I was smitten by the light, the sound of crashing waves and the iodine smell of the sea. As soon as my destiny became my own I ran away to sea...well not really I chose to go to Art School in Falmouth, in Cornwall, by the sea. After college I stayed on for a few years until the travel bug hit taking me all over the place, Israel, China, Norway (for 6 years there), always returning to Cornwall.

Five years ago I thought I could leave for good, so I packed my bags, the last remaining child, (I had five by then) my very patient and supportive other half, and moved to Brittany in France. It was lovely, a lot like Cornwall, I loved it. But maybe not enough because I came home.
Now I am staying, here in Cornwall, for good.

I have a lovely little house, twenty minutes walk from the sea and the Helford River and every day I walk the shore and along the creeks and I know that I am home, and happy and so I paint.

Now why do I need to make art? I don't really know, there is nothing really profound about it. I have always done it. It is my language, how I understand myself. I like to record the tiny things that slip by, like the light on the water, a cloudscape, the way the trees look at a certain time of day. I also like paintings, as things. It seems to me that they are a magic window into another world, put one on your wall and, for your lifetime, you have a glimpse of somewhere else. Plus I like a challenge, I never know if I can pull it off, if I can take the materials that I am using and work that alchemy, make the magic happen and capture what I want to. So I suppose I like the craft of painting.

In 2006, while still in France, my youngest left home. I began a blog Muddy Red Shoes to keep in touch with the kids and our folks back in England. The title came from a love of shoes, (I buy ones with heels sometimes because I like them as objects but only ever wear flat, clumpy and utilitarian ones) plus a life long love of fairy tales. There is a fairy tale "The Red Shoes" where the little girl who put on the red shoes couldn't stop dancing, until her feet were cut off. I feel a bit like that about what I do, I cant stop even if sometimes I think I might like to. That's the Red Shoe part and Muddy because my shoes usually are. This has become the blog where I witter on about my daily life and occasionally talk about how I sketch and paint.

Six months into the world of Blog and I was hooked. I had been watching the progress of the best (in my opinion) of all daily painters, Julian Merrow-Smith , as I had always maintained that practice was the key to good painting (can you guess that I used to teach!) I thought I should take my own advice, up my painting a notch or two and join in with the Daily painting movement on the Internet. A second blog for me then, a gallery blog, The Red Shoes where I would post all my paintings, day by day. Blogging became a really good incentive to working hard. I have always supported my family by illustrating but now I had committed to a daily painting as well. I love it, I love the record of the changing seasons, I love the way everything that I see becomes a painting, it has highlighted to me the need to have projects and passions in paint. Best of all it has introduced many people to each other. To share an interest, an obsession is great. No longer the lonely artist, there is a whole community of like minded people...

I am very happy to be invited to join this group of artists who also have a thing for water. I love seeing how other people interpret a subject, I am looking forward to seeing what I and the others produce under this subject heading, although I feel this is more that just a subject, it is a bit of a passion, or even a possession.


Anonymous said...

I am delighted to get to know more about you here Sarah...what a lovely and interesting journey you have behind you(and still have stretching out in front of you..) I was wondering where the "red" in muddy red shoes originates from...could understand the muddy...it's cute!I'm so looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful work. And to think you were in Brittany a while ago, just here next to me!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Sarah - it's great to have you along on our watery journey and even nicer that you've chosen to move to a county which a number of us would like to come and draw and paint! :D

Isn't it amazing how some people are just made to live in a certain place? I used to think your paintings of Brittany (close cousin of Cornwall) were really good but I think those you're been doing of the Helford River have moved up a gear and are simply stunning. It's no surprise to me that they're selling well at the gallery. Once I saw the paintings I could see exactly why you'd chosen to live in that bit of Cornwall - the scenery around the river is just so stimulating. It must be ever so difficult deciding what nice view to do today - when you have a wealth of choice every which way you look! I think I'll need to plan a visit for a spot of drawing sometime next year and see if it can provide a bit of stimulation for my pics as well!

(BTW folks - when I first met up with Sarah in London she really was wearing red shoes!)

Jeanette said...

Sarah, I loved reading about your background and your travels. The pull of the water is evident in your work which is just beautiful in many ways. You capture light exquisitely and I will learn from you and the rest of this group.

Red shoes! Yeah, I can identify with that... You need them in your next painting, just peeping out from a corner. :)

Laureline said...

I'm so thrilled you're here with us on this voyage into uncharted waters! I've been a fan for a long time!

Lindsay said...

From one "flat shoed " person to another....ahoy mate. (I ook with lust at my daughter's lovely high heels.) I really enjoy reading blog and glad we are here on WM. Do you have red boots?

annie said...

I became acquainted with your work about the time that you were getting ready to leave Brittany, and I sat choked up, watching and listening to that lovely and poignant video on your blog. Since then I visit both of your blogs, daily, falling in love with this Cornwall of yours and Vivien's. I'm so glad that you are part of this group.

Linda said...

It's nice to hear how you "became" an artist although I'm sure you were born as one. I feel the same way about photography but I would love to be able to paint.

In Blue and Green said...

Can I use this in my poem...with credits to you?

vivien said...

I too have followed your work with pleasure and agree that it's moved up a notch with your return to Cornwall - it was great before but it's really special now.

Cornwall has such a wonderful variety of subjects :>) and I look forward to the journey

Gesa said...

Hello Sarah, the slide show is exquisite with the intermingling of paintings and photos; I've been to your blog before and I am looking forward to get to know you more through Watermarks.

Trevor Lingard said...

Lovely work Sarah.
You are obviously in love with your surroundings.