Sunday 1 July 2007

Falmouth Ship Repair

This time last week I was in Falmouth which gives me an excuse to display a scan of a painting I finished a few years ago, ‘Falmouth Ship Repair’. This image was much influenced by the work of Ralston Crawford and Charles Sheeler whose paintings I greatly admire. Precisionism as a genre is a minority taste but it works for me. The subject is based on the panoramic views of the dry docks which I have drawn and photographed on many occasions for about 15 years now.

Falmouth is a rather splendid town in an unconventional way. It combines long maritime and industrial traditions with a genteel seaside resort and a large university with a definite bias towards the visual arts. The population is young, dynamic and changing. The ongoing presence of visiting ships of all sizes and types means that most of the world’s languages can be heard somewhere in the streets of the town in any given year. The Cornish sun can be especially brilliant and the weather can change in an instant from fair to foul.

The physical geography is fascinating. The town has expanded up the steep slopes of the Fal estuary and spectacular views across the port, harbour and beaches can be obtained from many locations. In many UK coastal towns and cities, the commercial docks are well concealed and designed to be unobservable. But in Falmouth virtually the entire port and ship repair yard can be seen from the elevated position of the parking bay on Castle Drive. It is a much photographed town but nobody should let that stop them from adding to the great unknown sum of Falmouth images.

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