Reflective Journal Week 21, 16 Feb – 22 Feb 2020

Despite the fact that it was relatively narrowed, “to produce Cornish landscape in the Hudson River School’s idealised landscape” is barely close to the essence of this question. Mr Mark Fairninton suggested me to challenge the development of regional identity. Thus, the research question soon changed to “How images of a specific landscape can be used to define an identity – local or national? — with reference to the Hudson River School. The project would use Cornwall as a particular example, to explore whatever is going to develop in the future. 

Thoughts I currently have regarding this theme are:

– The contradiction between the inheritance of European Colonialism and the local’s resisting attitude in Cultural aspect. 

– From the great westward expansion, la conquista, to a promised land built on violence and fantasies. 

– The transition of perspective in Hudson River School painters introduced the epitome of the American Dream’s development.

– The independent attitude and the strong self-recognition of the identity “Cornish” shares similarity with the idea in 19th Century American landscape painting, which regarded European continental influence as cultural imperialism.

– Cornish has been trying to emphasising the distinctiveness in their own culture in order to be recognised from the English region. In 1826, Cole stated Hudson River School, which originated from the idea of generating a unique art form based on the understanding of the local perspective. Ultimately the awakening of national identity caused the American cultural hegemony in modern time. 

Meanwhile, the practice of figures continued on. A 1:1 scale watercolour sketch was produced, and a formal one was initiated. 

A list of books was created.

*Bibliography format may differ in this section*

  1. Halkes, John. A Century of Art in Cornwall, Cornwall County Council, 1989. Fp7h1889, Chelsea.
  2. Montopelier Studio, 1994, Paintings from Cornwall, 1945 – 1975. Gp7h(1945), Chelsea.
  3. Berlin, Sven; Cross Tom; Mellis, Margarate. Royal West of English Academy (Bristol), Artists from Cornwall. Gp7, Chelsea.
  4. Lanyon, Peter; Lanyon, Andrew. Cornwall. 700.9242 LAN, Camberwell.
  5. Art Now Cornwall, Daniel McElooy. Hp7h(2006), Chelsea.
  6. Tovey, David. Britain’s Art Colony by Sea, 1959. 709.417 BAK, Camberwell. (Purchased)
  7. Denison Paul, Modern Art and St Ives, International Changes 1915 – 1965. 709.427 DEN, Chelsea. 
  8. Tovey, David. St Ives pre 1890 – the Dawn of Colony. 709.426 TON, Camberwell.
  9. St Ives Artists: A Bipgraphy of Place and Time. 709.427 BIR, Camberwell.
  10. St Ives 1939 – 64. 709.4109043 STI, Chelsea.
  11. The Old Stones of Land’s End. 709.1 MIC, Camberwell.
  12. Cross, Tom. Painting the Warmth of the Sun: St Ives Artists 1929 – 1975. 759.208 CRO, Wimbledon.
  13. Whybrow, Marion; Brown, David. St Ives 1883 – 1993: Portrait of an Art Colony. 759.208 WHY, Wimbledon. 
  14. Lewison, Jeremy; Wescheke, Karl. Karl Weschke: Portrait of a Painter. 700.9242 WES, Chelsea. 
  15. Wisbet, Robert. Conservatism: Dream and Reality. 320.52 NIS, LCC.
  16. Halkes, John. 1989, A Century of Art in Cornwall, Cornwall County Council. Fp7h 1889, Chelsea.

While tracking down books about the art colony in Cornwall, the first section of the proposal has been finished. The project is currently practice-based, with an emphasis on “monumentalising landscapes in the manner of Hudson River School in contemporary time”.

Subject Area, Aim and Objectives:

The historical context of the Hudson River School stimulated its painters to challenge the idea of landscape painting within the young federal state of the United States. Hudson River School, at its very beginning, focused on documenting the transformation of a soulful wildness to an urbanised wealthy life alongside the cultivated meadow. This awakening of European Colonialism was highlighted by the second generation of its artists. The Hudson River School epitomised the transition of the American Dream from philosophical conservatism to pragmatic capitalism, and finally to its imperialistic Neo and Post-colonialism. American culture was developed in a relatively isolated environment, yet how did it avoid involution and ultimately achieved its hegemony? The evolution of the idea within landscape paintings of the Hudson River School shares a similarity with the pride of recognition of Cornish identity. How does the idealism of Hudson River School landscape painting connect to the Celtic tradition and Anglo-Saxon culture? How can a contemporary experience of immersing in Cornish landscapes be translated from ideas referred to as “American Dreams” produced by the Hudson River School? This project proposes to visualise a Cornwall that is abundant with cultural heritage, yet positioned controversially through the display of an idealised Cornish lifestyle while trying to maintain its voice concerning contemporary issues.

Physical practices carried on as well.

The formal one that based on the full-scale sketch fixed some shortcomings of the original composition and enlarged on the figure a bit more. Its tone was adjusted a bit to fit the “outsider’s perspective”. 

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About cechenpaints

An artist, painter, illustrator based in London.