In April we were joined by the painter Pat O’Connor. Pat spent time with bird watchers at Hayle estuary and the skateboarders of the Wherrytown skatepark in Penzance. Pat is a keen birdwatcher and was thrilled to be in this birders paradise. It is notable that during her residency Pat made work that requires the birdwatchers acute observational skills. Her paintings in and on the landscape are rewards for the alert. On her first night in Zennor, Pat was led along the coffin path by Rosy Lees where the pair discovered a fallen down chapel and the carved names of people from long ago. They noticed many of the dates corresponded to the Great War and imagined the men of Zennor inscribing these before going off to battle. Pat responded to this find with two small paintings showing women fighters from the conflict in Syria alongside women horse riders enjoying leisure time.
The sound of skateboarding is as distinct as birdsong. Its percussive tune composed of wheels travelling against a surface, the smack of wood when the skater ollies or the grind of trucks along a curb. Silence is the thing that punctuates skateboarding’s tune and it happens when the skater takes flight. Pat’s work occupies the same space as skaters in flight. This is especially true of her paintings on the rocks below Treveal Cliff that are covered by the ocean on each tide.
At the end of her stay Pat led a walk from Treveal to Zennor and back along the coast path. The group of 16 enjoyed seeing some of Pat’s outdoor paintings, looking at and listening to birds, refreshments at The Tinners Arms and cakes back at the studio.
Image: Untitled (2017), courtesy the artist.