John Emanuel

John Emanuel b.1930
Born: Bury, Lancashire Moved to Cornwall: 1964 Elected Member of the Penwith Society of Arts 1974 Elected Member of the Newlyn Society of Artists 1975 Chairman of the Newlyn Society of Artists, 1977-8

Sue Reed met John Emanuel, her assessment: ‘he’s an outrageous flirt’.

He can be seen on You Tube: John Emanuel at Porthmeor

John Emanuel was born in Bury, Lancashire in 1930 and moved to Cornwall in 1964. Following an apprenticeship in painting and decorating, and inspired by talks given by a lecturer from Manchester University, he began painting in the early 1960s and had his first solo exhibition in 1975. Today he lives in St Ives and works from his studio with a spectacular view over Porthmeor beach.

Janet’ by John Emanuel 1990 (2)

John’s work has a strong, consistent style – a recurring theme is the figure, often set in a landscape. The contours of the figure combine with those of the land. Blocks of a single colour lead to the simplified but stylised landscapes that typify John’s paintings. He works in a variety of media including oils, gouache, charcoal and mixed media. Like many artists associated with St Ives, he finds beauty in the harsh coastline and the unusual light of the Penwith peninsula. In addition, John makes regular visits to Cumbria, the fells and lakes of that region often appearing in his paintings.

John has exhibited widely in Cornwall, the rest of the UK and as far afield as New York. His work is held in private and public collections worldwide. He is a founder member of Porthmeor Printmakers and was commissioned by Tate St Ives to make an etching for the gallery opening in 1993. John is a member of the Penwith Society of Artists and a former Chairman of the Newlyn Society of Artists.

John Emanuel has always approached his painting and drawing in a workman-like manner. When he first moved to St Ives he made a living sign writing to support his family while he developed his drawing and painting with the help of artist friends such as John Wells and Alexander Mackenzie. There is a sculptural quality to John’s work in both the drawn and painted images that evolves out of an intense physical manipulation of media as the artist works and reworks grounds and subject relentlessly up to conclusion. In earlier work, John often made three-dimensional figures out of clay to experiment with compositional ideas. Colour is usually restricted and stronger areas of a single colour applied in specific bands or elements of the image. This process enhances the dramatic and sculptural effect of the painting. More recently, some of the characteristic heavy and often textural impasto of oil has given way to subtle glazes of oil colour. This is partly through the effect of the artist using canvas in place of board or paper mounted on board, his more usual support. Well known for his studies of the female nude, John’s paintings in oil and mixed media often places the female form within a landscape that is simplified but recognisable; whether it is west Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly or Cumbria. This subject combines John’s love of drawing the nude; he regularly makes studies from life, and his equally intimate association with the ancient landscape of west Cornwall. It is this interaction between the classical and sometimes sensual nude with its rugged environment that typifies his work.


Raymond Exworth sculptor

Raymond Exworth      excerpt from article by David Heseltine

Heather Bell Cottage has been home and work place to Ray Exworth for over forty years. Situated in an area that was once the industrial heartland of Cornwall, the cottage and cluster of small barns are typical of a nineteenth century small-holding. Carefully tended spaces grow from the lichen-covered granite landscape and larger, later, but uglier buildings provide studio and storage spaces for a remarkable body of work that confirms the indisputable importance of Ray’s contribution to British contemporary art

Born in Ipswich 1939, Suffolk, Exworth was brought up in Constable country. He attended Ipswich School of Art and the Royal College of Art. He was influenced by the Suffolk church sculpture and architecture. He arrived in Cornwall in the 1960s and has remained here ever since. Exworth believes that sculpture should have some social context and not be completely impersonal. He received awards from the Arts Council in 1975, 1977 and 1984 and a South West Arts Fellowship in 1985. –

In 1959, Ray was invited by the then Principal, Michael Finn to build a sculpture department at Falmouth School of Art and, only two days after marrying Susan Kalman, travelled with her to Cornwall on a motor cycle to meet this interesting challenge. Susie spent her honeymoon helping Ray search for tools and materials to equip the department and has subsequently devoted herself in support of his life and work as a sculptor. Ray acknowledges that Hepworth, Peter Lanyon and other Cornish based artists’ advice on building the new department was of immense importance to the College, but his own creative ideologies ran counter to those prevalent in St. Ives at the time. He saw it as imperative that his department maintain its independence and establish its own identity. His vehement determination to this end, coupled with a willingness to speak his own mind, made for a difficult time but a strong department. Numerous students benefited from his wisdom and commitment to art education.


These sculptures, hugely impressive in scale, form and content were predominantly worked in direct plaster. Felixstowe Remembered relied more heavily on mixed media, took three to four years to make and measured a staggering 30 x 25 x 11 feet. Based on a childhood reminiscence, it presents an idealised mythical beach scene, but in fact the Felixstowe Beach of Ray’s childhood was covered with barbed wire, land mines and anti-landing devices. In support of the Whitechapel solo show, Ray wrote: ‘The desire to create, to make a mark in whichever way one can, however limited, has no need for verbal justification or stylistic reference.’ But the following is extracted from his Notes on Sculpture, 1975: ‘It is of course rather out of context to make statements about particular pieces of sculpture that may almost be the debris of constant attempts at creating. The problems of making sculpture with a material of limited form, space, time, existence are both emotional and intellectual. The use of plaster is for me, probably the simplest way of using an inert material in a play sense; the activity of sloshing water, plaster and scrim is a form of active play, a never ending game which allows expression over a wide range of metaphysical and empirical gambits, a process of discovery and disclosure, of things remembered and of the duality of experience.

Firm in the belief that sculpture should have some social content, and reacting strongly against the view that international public art had become essentially abstract, inoffensive and mundane, Ray produced a vast number of preparatory drawings for The Circus. Staggering in their quantity and quality, they reflect a much more sombre and troubled frame of mind. By now, Ray had become reclusive, angry and disillusioned with a student body who in embracing the wind of change sweeping the art establishment, was increasingly dismissive of the disciplines and practices that had been central. Ray’s one concession to change was to swap his bomber jacket for a leather one and his van for an MG Sports car, but it was a short lived indulgence and following ideological differences with senior management, he took early retirement in July 1975.

Liberated by this change of status and acting on Henry Moore’s advice that he avoid style and current fashion and concentrate on form and content to exact the broadest possible emotional response in his work, Ray embarked on The Circus in 1976. He brought to the work years of reading and research, a vast art historical knowledge and a mass of

Rays early inclination was towards the Sciences and he remains fascinated by their parallels with the Arts and their shared dependence on an attention to detail. Ray is passionate about detail. He would often walk on the hill behind the cottage to meditate and plan; the hill’s height above sea level and its impact on weather patterns was for him vital information. He has always had a voracious appetite for knowledge and says, ‘The importance of the novel and poetry for me cannot be overstated; the writings of philosophers, psychologists and scientists have all contributed to the confused way in which I think. Bombarded by information – visual, aural, verbal, theories, system thinking, critical dissertation – where process links hand and mind, one simply makes things

Louise McClary

Biography Louise McClary Born Penzance, Cornwall 1958, she attended Mounts Bay Community School 1974-76 Penzance School of Art, Cornwall 1976-81 Head decorator, Troika Pottery, Newlyn, Cornwall 1990-95 Tenant of No. 6, Porthmeor Studios, St. Ives, Cornwall 1993 Elected member of Newlyn Society of Artists, Cornwall.

This painting comes from her Early Figurative Phase 1990 – 1992

Louise McClary; (c) Louise McClary; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Up The Creek Collection: Cornwall Council

McClary uses her surroundings on the Lizard Peninsula as her point of inspiration and subject matter. Her paintings combine rich layering of mixed media and an intense jewel-like palette to create evocative and deeply personal images. These images refer to the artist’s experiences and feelings towards a certain place.

Asked if she would like to say something about this painting said:” yes I suppose I would like to add that that painting was done when I was working and living in St Ives,  I was in number 6 Porthmeor studios, around 1991/1992. It was part of a series of work inspired if you like by viaducts, I loved the form of them (still do!) also I loved the ladders that reached down from the harbour walls in St Ives. I went through a phase of just painting large heads , dismembered in a way as to expresst-ladder-head

a form of isolation  this one appears in a large bucket on wheels, stuck and going nowhere. A difficult time in my life -so all was being expressed in these rather raw paintings, I did another called ladder head which was a large head hanging on a pair of ladders.. all in bright primary colours as I felt this expressed raw emotion best.. “

Louise McClary was winner of the 2003 Arts Council of England Award, and has exhibited widely in the UK.

luminary Louise Mc Clary
Luminary 2010: Louise Mc Clary’s web site

Writer and photographer Vanessa Glossop wrote in 2013 Walking into Louise McClary’s studio, it begins to speak. Tales of the nearby creeks, the secrets of the luminous mud flats, and of the emerald tide. Tales of the knotted, twisted trees, the wind-swept fields and of the birds in bright flight.

Here, in the studio, beats a silent heart, yet one with such a loud voice, and with such powerful emotion, it is as if it speaks for the world itself. The walls and floorboards are daubed with colours, thick and dancing, yet they whisper a fragility as I move through the room. Splotches of heart-heat grow out of jars and slide down sinks. Remnants of ideas and observations migrate like snail-trails down table legs, legs groaning under the weight of poetry books and of expectant paint brushes. All around, the walls flutter with postcards and clippings held dear, faded, but still feeding the invisible butterflies, the cobwebs with names, the light flickering in the beams, the air that hangs heavy with creative meandering. And there she sits in the midst of  it all, the canvas dreamily absorbing the words in her fingers.