Neil Davies | Time and Tide

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Front cover: Priest Cove - Creeping Tide 122 x 122 cm Another favourite haunt - Priest Cove, its boats hauled up safely out of reach of the tide which would snatch them if it could; fishermen’s huts built into the cliffs, echoes of a bygone age but still used today, the fishing industry hanging on in there… Inside front and back cover: Towards Carn Galver 58 x 84 cm All work is for sale from receipt of catalogue. All works Oil on Board. The full exhibition can be viewed on our website. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electrical, mechanical or otherwise, without first seeking the permission of the publishers. Copyright ©2019 New Craftsman Gallery & Neil Davies

NEIL DAVIES Time and Tide

06 July – 27 July 2019

New Craftsman Gallery 24 Fore Street . St Ives Cornwall TR26 1HE 01736 795652

NEIL DAVIES | Time and Tide

Through this new collection of paintings, I have attempted to portray the resilience and constancy of the forces of Nature: time and again man has made his mark upon the land - for good or bad - but, given time, Nature always reasserts itself, quietly creeping back, healing the scars and reclaiming the landscape. Examples can be found across Penwith, where old cottages, farm buildings and disused engine houses crumble away stone by stone, as the ivy breaks them down and the vegetation gradually returns. There is a soothing rhythm to the way Nature takes charge of the landscape, echoed in the tides which continue to ebb and flow around our peninsula, with a steady, unstoppable certainty. Time moves on inexorably, rushing our lives along with it, forcing us to accept and adapt to necessary changes along the way. We talk of ‘escaping’ to the countryside, as if we sense that in Nature we have a chance to be still for a while, to absorb its comfortable stability, in the knowledge that the seasons will come and go, tides will turn, and all is as it should be. Only recently has this certainty been called into question: have we now inflicted wounds too great to heal, or can these too be overcome? I have to believe they can. Along the North Coast to Zennor, blue skies, very windy. Struck by the patchwork of colours across the heathland, as summer shades give way to autumn, the dark shape of Carn Galver in the background keeping watch over all.

Neil Davies, 2019


Autumn Patchwork 25 x 30 cm

Last light, sun has just dipped out of sight, leaving trails of yellow above and along the horizon, and a sky a tie-dyed pattern of deep cobalt blue and orangey yellow. The sea echoes these colours, quietly reflecting deep indigo with patches of gold. Such drama, silently played out, unnoticed by so many‌ Tie-Dyed Sky 122 x 122 cm



Strolling along Sennen Beach after a pint and a packet of crisps at The First and Last. After a sunny late autumn day, the sky is darkening, rainclouds approaching, but still time to see the light show that is sunset before heading home. Sennen Cove - Time to Go Home 122 x 165 cm


Late spring - usually my least favourite time to paint - the landscape is too green and uniform, the sky too blue and still. This, however, catches my eye because of the tangle of textures and sheer variety of hues - and that red flash in the background. Spring Greens 46 x 61 cm


Spring has sprung, all is green and growing. Ancient hedgerows criss-cross the countryside undisturbed, home to all kinds of flora and fauna, marking boundaries and offering a sense of continuity in this world of constant change. Spring Hedgerows 46 x 61 cm


October gales have set in - walking in a straight line a bit of a challenge this high up on the moor. Shoulders hunched, we make our way slowly up the track towards a nearby cottage squatting on the ridge. Steadfast and stalwart, it has survived all that nature has thrown at it. Blown Sideways 46 x 61 cm


Autumn has come to Bosporthennis in a kaleidoscope of colours - bracken is on the turn and glowing like burnished copper, gorse still vibrant yellow. The sky above, by contrast, is a muted palette of pale blues, yellows, pinks and purples with wisps of white clouds, and between the two stands a huddle of old farm buildings, very much at home in this wild landscape. Bosporthennis Bracken 61 x 77 cm


A blustery, grey day on the beach, scudding clouds and all colours in the sky. Suddenly the sun breaks through, a shaft of light hits the sea, and the world is a better place. A Break in the Clouds 79 x 79 cm


Today the sea is angry: boiling and rolling, foam hissing as it hits the rocks. Although on the cliff, it’s easy to imagine being in a boat on this sea as it works itself into a frenzy, and how reassuring it would feel to see the headland in the distance. Pleased to be able to turn round and go home. Land Ahoy! 79 x 102 cm


Walking along the shoreline I notice a sudden downpour out at sea, moving ever closer. The sun vanishes, so after a quick sketch and a couple of snaps I beat a hasty retreat‌ A Sudden Burst of Rain 61 x 76 cm


A day of sunshine and showers - headed to the beach as the sky looked promising. Bright sun when I got here, but within five minutes it’s all change again. Here Comes the Rain Again 79 x 102 cm


Late April walk from Pendeen Lighthouse to Porthgwarra, via Boat Cove.Sun shining, sea sparkling, picture perfect - what a great way to spend my birthday. Looking down on the beach, across the roofs of the winch houses, I wonder how many boats they have pulled to safety‌ Winch Houses, Boat Cove 122 x 165 cm



Enjoying a walk along the coast path, slippery grey slate scree underfoot, watery grey sky above. Between the greys stands a squat white cottage, abutting the path and nestled in the undergrowth, as much a part of the landscape as the lumps of field granite sticking out of the earth. I wonder who lives there? Right on the Coastal Path 48 x 50 cm


Looking out towards Cape Cornwall - big skies, lots of movement. Swathes of autumn bracken surround the whitewashed walls of Wheal Call Cottage, perched on the edge of the cliffs and now part of the landscape. Wheal Call, Porth Ledden 79 x79 cm


Climbing the hill up to the ridge from Castle Gate, on the way to Roger’s Tower. This tumbledown derelict cottage still stands proudly on the horizon - down but not completely out‌. Up on the Ridge 28 x 30 cm


Walking home via Venton Vision, a small cluster of farm buildings across the fields from our house. Until recently there were llamas here, but they kept escaping so they had to go; shame they can’t be part of the painting. Venton Vision 30 x 38 cm


Late October, and the coast is echoing the land with its muted palette of greys, browns and ochres. The horizon is blurred, reflections hazy - hard to see where the sky ends and the sea begins. Autumn Light 79 x 102 cm


Walking at Cape Cornwall on a wild autumn afternoon, looking out to sea from Porth Ledden. A storm is sweeping in, the light gradually changing to that eerie half-light, charged with anticipation of the coming storm. Storm-light, Porth Ledden 61 x 72 cm


First warm spring day and the gorse is in full bloom, its blossom-loaded boughs bending in wind-blown shapes over fences and Cornish hedges. Huge, flat lumps of field granite provide a perfect place to sit. First Signs of Spring 122 x 122 cm


Up on the moors, following a peaty, waterlogged track through the bleached grasses, which wave and rustle eerily in the wind. No sound except this gentle rustling and the howl of the wind. Utter solitude - strangely tranquil. Peaty Track to Woon Gumpus 122 x 122 cm


After a very stormy day, I am about to head home when the sky begins to clear, and a shaft of light breaks through the clouds, bathing everything in an orange light and completely transforming the sea and sky. Well worth the earlier soaking‌ A Sudden Shaft of Light 61 x 76 cm


On the beach watching the sun set after a warm spring day. Light pouring down, bouncing off the sea, colours deepening and dripping down over the horizon, reflected in the water so the edges blur between sky and sea. Late in the Day 46 x 46 cm


Walking home, trying to beat the rain blowing in. Light is fading, everything enfolded in blue shadows, sky a darkening blue-grey. Nature’s in one of its moods‌ Moody Blue 46 x 61cm


Up on Conquer Downs, heading up a rutted track under leaden skies on a Sunday afternoon walk with the family. Cold and wintry, the last vestiges of the autumn bracken rust-red and ochre. Moorland Trackway 61 x 77 cm


Family walk down Kenidjack Valley, sitting on the rocks sharing popcorn bright, breezy and sunny. Wheal Call Cottage perches above us on the cliffs, keeping watch along the coastline and out to sea. Over the Rocks to Wheal Call 46 x 61 cm


One of my favourite haunts - the old farmstead of Bosporthennis. Very little here has altered over the past couple of centuries - derelict barns and an old cottage rub shoulders with some authentically renovated buildings, a solitary Belted Galloway grazing the lush green in a nearby field. This Green and Pleasant Land 61 x 77 cm


Evening light - the sky is seeking attention and finds it in me, showing off its whole range of soft, muted colours, eclipsing all else around it, even the sea. All About the Sky 61 x 76 cm


Another day, another sunset - this one is particularly spectacular - deep indigo and violet, with a gleaming streak of gold. I am reminded of an essay title I once saw - ‘What makes you believe the sun will rise again tomorrow?’ - I’m not sure, but I really hope it does… Until Tomorrow… 46 x 61 cm


Early autumn up on the moors, sun beating down on the golds and yellows of the gorse and bracken. Carn Galver glowers darkly in the background, resisting the glow of the surrounding landscape. In the Warmth of the Sun 46 x 61 cm



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