Why Being an Artist In Devon Is Magical
Where words sometimes lack, colours and strokes are able to uniquely convey the thoughts and emotions which tumble from my brush. When I am standing in my Devon studio I never fail to be inspired by the natural beauty which surrounds me. To paint is to reveal part of one’s soul, and my soul is very much rooted here to the Devon countryside – the place I’m lucky enough to call home.
“I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream”
Vincent van Gogh
The Joy of Being a Devon Artist…
Being an artist in Devon is a gift as it means I am surrounded by endless inspiration; the countryside in which I immerse myself is a glorious patchwork of verdant rolling hills, ancient woodland, beautifully knotted wildness and vast stretches of moorland punctuated by the vividness of green grass and orange bracken. Devon is a mix of genteel beauty and wild ruggedness and it holds a certain magic that makes being an artist in Devon so inspirational.
I have always travelled and spent a large portion of my twenties and early thirties on the road. I am driven by a deep curiosity of the world and all it contains. I gravitate towards untrodden paths and the kaleidoscopic colours of nature. The connections I make with people who hold different lenses to the world is important to me. It makes me grow.
Blessed by its fantastic location in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounded by woodlands and rivers, Totnes is a thriving hub bustling with character, colour and a long rich history. Architecturally, it’s said to have more listed buildings per head than any other town in the UK. An important town with a rich history dating back to AD 907, by the 12th century Totnes had established itself as the important market town it still is today.
This environmentally focused, nature-loving town where I live and work boasts galleries, cafés, restaurants and shops vintage treasures, ancient books and beautifully hand-crafted wares.
The River Dart, which runs through the middle of town, is a source of magical beauty which never fails to nourish a still peacefulness within me. It is, however, the transformation of the hedgerows and meadows with the emergence of Spring that makes my heart sing. The world becomes a tumbling feast of wild glorious colour for many months. These wildflowers in Devon are a joyful muse for me.
Where Do Artists in Devon Get Their Inspiration?
The landscape here is magical. As with my own practice, the work of a Devon artist is inevitably going to be inspired by the characterful villages, sheltered enclaves, stretches of golden sand, rugged coastlines, open moorlands and kaleidoscopic hedgerows and meadows. There is also a very special light found here in the Westcountry that is enough to ignite many a creative flame. Perhaps that is why there is a rich and fertile artistic community in Devon… It’s inescapable that the natural surroundings in Devon consciously and unconsciously become part of what artists in Devon create. I really do feel deeply blessed to live here.
The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere – in our surroundings, in music, art, design and in ourselves. As my practice unfolds it is imbued with my hopes and dreams, spilling out onto the canvas in a cacophony of colour – joyful celebrations which sparkle and dance. My creativity is significantly inspired by Devon’s rich jewel-like backdrop, compelling me to translate what I see and feel in the beautiful Devon countryside into landscapes, seascapes and wildflower paintings.
Totnes feels like home. It reflects all the things I hold important, it is ethical, beautiful and nurturing. Being an artist in Devon is truly a gift which offers me endless inspiration, and I don’t see myself moving from here anytime soon…
My Favourite Places in Devon
The Pig’s Nose Inn, Prawle
The white-washed Pig’s Nose is Devon’s most southerly independent live music venue and a great all-weekend hangout, It’s a place I love to visit, especially in summertime. The Pig’s Nose sits on a magical semi-secret campsite on the coast with an ‘end-of-the-world’ feel – the views are awe-inspiring. The pub has a great roster of live music, fish & chips and cider, and an olde worlde authentic “pirate” kinda feel!
Rumour Wine Bar, Totnes
This venue boasts excellent food and a relaxed chilled environment, it was also one of the first places where I exhibited my paintings when I relocated to Devon. Named after the Fleetwood Mac album of the same name, this place excels with its quality of locally-sourced home-cooked food and funky vibe.
The Practice, Totnes
Simon Perks is a great osteopath who weaves magic on my exhausted body after intense painting sessions.
Coleton Fishacre, Kingswear
Magical national trust gardens I love to visit with my ma. My mum has been an enormous influence on who I am today. Her creativity and zest for life is woven into the fabric of my being. She is a great gardener – her style is kooky and free with a mysterious magical alchemy that creates a simple wild beauty out of seeming chaos. Much like my paintings!
The Cott Inn, Dartington
A great place for visitors to stay with fabulous food and a garden bursting with blooms.
Tuckenhay is where my studio is nested south of Totnes. It is surrounded by beautiful meadows and provides endless inspiration for the magic to unfold upon my canvas…
The Hillyfield, in the woods near Harbeton
Great friends of mine who run sustainable woodland- all centred around caring for the land, restoring the ancient woodland, and providing opportunities for the community to get involved. I have supported them with fundraising with my art in the past and think that the work they do is so crucial for our wild places here in Devon. A remarkable project run by dedicated, energetic and very well-informed people.
Busby & Fox, Totnes
Busby & Fox are a collection of Devon shops in which to find gorgeous clothes, a unique gift or hand-chosen item of furniture for your home. Beautiful fresh flowers are also available, and I adore Emma Vowels Flowers – Emma is a friend who supplied all the flowers for our wedding – and these shops are beautifully created with her exquisite taste!