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Caroline Atkinson was born in Exmouth in Devon in 1965. Encouraged by her family and art teacher, she embarked on a painting career from an early age.

After studying Fine Art at Bristol Polytechnic she travelled the UK and some of the World in constant pursuit of visual stimulation and varied cultural experiences. She combined her painting with a catering career to fund her travels. Consequently, her work is collected internationally.

By this time, her family had settled in West Cornwall and eventually the lure of this beautiful county proved so strong that Caroline came to settle in the World-renowned artistic community of St Ives. Its peninsula location is bathed in direct, bright light which is reflected in the aqua seas. Warmed by the tropical Gulf Stream and, conversely, hosting dramatic incoming Atlantic breakers, the town has attracted artists for generations. Famous names such as Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Leach, Patrick Heron and Terry Frost created their masterpieces here, inspired by the dramatic surroundings.

The area is framed by spectacular black rock cliffs topped with lush vegetation and decorated with secret white sand coves.

Ancient fisherman's cottages line the intimate cobbled streets which lead to the bustling quayside, sheltering the boats of its thriving fishing community.

Against this backdrop, Caroline creates vivid and poignant paintings, expressing her understanding of and experiences within her surroundings, conveying the visual and emotional relationship to the viewer.

 

Why I Paint

Shape, light, colour, combination of colours or some quirky little detail catches my eye. Sometimes it's a moment when all these things come together and fit perfectly into a happy composition. I am a hunter/gatherer, craving knowledge, pleasure and understanding. Painting, for me, is like that - foraging, making sense of the world. I am drawn to beauty-but what defines beauty? It can be in composition, in patterns, but most importantly in the play of light. It's not the grass, cliffs or beaches that I find beautiful so much as the light acting upon those things. I find it wonderful that every blade, every stone has its own 5 minutes of glory in the limelight - its moment of beauty.

Anticipation is part of experiencing beauty and the sense of achievement when finally rewarded after waiting for just the right moment to capture it. In an instant beauty is here. Then it has passed. Like a camera I form a vision in my head so strong it stays with me and brings me joy.

I am humbled and exalted by just looking at the incredible detail in the transparent crest of a breaking wave or the contrasts in shadow and sun on the landscape. I know I am nothing. These things will always be here gloriously complete long after I've left. The World will carry on regardless but I feel privileged to have experienced the things I've felt and seen then recorded them forever on canvas. It puts my life in perspective and gives me an inner calmness.

When I'm observing or painting I feel I'm a child again with a sense of wonder at the littlest of details - sand ripples, cloud shadows, flocks of birds in full flight. What I understand now is that pleasure is not just in what I see but in what looking for it does to me.

As in the words of William Blake, "See a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour."


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