MY CREATIVE STORY
'I am a painter and writer of poetry, living in
St Austell, Cornwall, one of the poorest, yet most inspiring towns in England.
This setting and that of my unusual family history, has had a huge impact in
my creative life.'
Work on display at Penrose Kitchens, Shortlanesend, Truro, Cornwall.
I feel united to my ancestors and those I love, through my work.
Both light and dark. Rich and poor.
Art and poetry for me are inextricably linked because they come
from the same place -
my life's experiences and the contrasting world around me -
the beauty, violence,
ugliness, vulnerable fragility,
perfection and imperfection
along with one's powerful spiritual need to survive against all odds.
I work in a space with citrus trees set in the inspiring Cornish landscape
with viaducts, clay pits, rivers,
woodlands and the beautiful sea.
In 2001, I began working with a textural and gestural approach -
now a characteristic signature
of my work.
Over several focused sessions I build form and colour, seeking to innovate while remaining true
to my initial impulse, intimately connected to each stage of
the creative process.
At my most 'free' I feel the work takes on a life of it's own,
bringing elements of my history out onto the canvas and into the light.
My influences are eclectic:
Francis Bacon's work has helped to ground me in my emotions.
Marc Chagall's has inspired my 'free' approach and love of colour,
and Jean de Brunhoff's illustrations from 'Babar'
have been a wonderful touchstone.
Outside Studio 19, St Austell, Cornwall,
with various works on display inside.
I have been part of a writers' group (Stray Dogs) for seven years; the members are very precious to me.
They helped to snaffle my galloping horse's style of writing (as described by founder and genius author D.M.Thomas
whose understanding approach encouraged me with my poetry and painting; he always gave me hope).
Some of the poverty in my town drove me to set up
Alchemy Arty Parties (previously 'Trenance') six years ago to give back to the community.
My son was diagnosed with autism; it was difficult to juggle the circumstances with pursuing a career.
In that sense it was hard being a single parent.
Creating and culture, celebrating in style, with live music,
dancing, art, vintage clothing,
and cocktails where all are welcome, gives me a vital
connection with the community.
My children often join in and exhibit their work too.
This gives them confidence.
The community is electrifying and one of the most caring, kind communities
I have come across.
Lemon tree's jostle for space with paintings and art materials in my workspace.
There seems to be a connection between my history, the stories
and some of my work,
which is why I started to take more of an interest
in my ancestors - it's fascinating.
My mother had worked for the Connoisseur Magazine, devouring books from an early age.
She continued reading avidly whilst raising me.
My mother's family home was Ince Blundell Hall, Liverpool, until she was twenty-four -
a house and pantheon awash with works of art and statues.
My Grandmother Alice inherited a life interest in the place (instead of inheriting outright)
along with her elder sister May because they were women.
My grandmother was heartbroken as her two beloved brothers had died during the First World War.
She unexpectedly died when my mother was aged 13, changing their status overnight.
Although disabled, having had a leg amputated while serving in the ranks, my grandfather who was left for dead
at the entrance of a hospital,
was later awarded a Medaille Millitaire during WW1.
He continued to work and was my mother's kind and caring 'rock' who also had a great love for
his bees and scented peach trees.
My mother having been brought up by nannies and servants did not teach me to be domesticated,
clean, cook or run a home, my father often filled these gaps in my upbringing,
but my mother would share books and stories with me, about her childhood.
She has always been a very humble person in my life.
My father part inherited the proceeds of the second longest house in England.
Kippax Park, Leeds was linked to my family for five centuries.
The most notable characters were Thomas Bland who was created a Baronet in honour of his service
to King Charles I, and an ancestor who gambled the whole of Manchester in a game of poker.
After catching pneumonia as a teenager, Dad became very ill and had to be sent home from Downside College.
During his time in bed, he apparently grew so tall that when he recovered, his pyjamas came up to his knees!
Dad also became sick during his short service in the army (he could not wait to join) towards the end
of the Second World War, but was soon invalided out.
He felt a failure next to his father and brother, both war heroes,
but made up for it by carving an interesting career as a journalist for the Irish Field,
reporting on racehorses for the sports section of the Irish Times.
As he loved horses and the Irish culture, those eight years were some of the happiest of his life.
His main companion in Ireland was his colleague, author Flann O'Brien (real name Brian O'Nolan).
Dad would share many of Brian's satirical stories with me, and some of their shared experiences,
always chuckling with delight.
Kippax Park Hall, Leeds. The second longest house in England.
The portraits from Kippax dominated the hall and stairs of our country home.
I was privileged in the sense that I was surrounded by stunning natural beauty, trees, flowers, birds, rabbits,
chickens and fine old furniture.
We had French and piano tutors (I was hopeless at both) and our beloved cleaner who I loved so much,
and who inspired me to write poems about her.
Aged ten, I was present when my father sold much of our furniture from Kippax.
I saw his suffering, that look of failure, as though he had let the entire ancestral family down.
He also sold our home. On that day I witnessed him being 'taken for a ride',
I swore I would never be rich or materialistic. I hated whatever it was that had broken my father on that day,
whilst my siblings were away at boarding school.
My works can be found for sale in Truro, Cornwall at:
Penrose Kitchens, Shortlanesend,
and The Original Art Shop.
I also host private exhibitions at my home in St Austell, which include
my own work, together with the work of local Cornish artists,
details of which can be found on my facebook page
( Artist Mary Clare De Pentheny )
I produce exclusive prints on a high end
I now only use Cotton High White paper for environmental reasons
and it shows off my textured work particularly well.
Only limited numbers are printed.
For more information on these, inquiries regarding commissioned work
or any of the paintings featured in my gallery
please contact me here:
PHONE: 07944793686 EMAIL:
© 2021 Mary Clare de Pentheny
All Rights Reserved.